Blackberry Launch in China up in the air


The Globe and Mail are reporting that officials at China Mobile Communications seemed unaware of any plans to launch BlackBerry service in the near future, even though RIM executives said last week the launch should be just a few weeks away.

“We haven’t been informed of any plan to launch or promote BlackBerry,” an official in the business and marketing department of China Mobile said. A spokeswoman in the Hong Kong office of China Mobile was also unaware of any launch plans.

Even officials at RIM can’t get it straight. RIM co-CEO Jim Balsillie went on record during last week’s conference call stating that the launch should be at the end of May. However, Norm Lo, RIM’s vice-president Asia Pacific is not giving any specific date stating “probably by the middle of this year.”.

The delay is significant because it has given at least two local rivals a chance to move ahead of RIM in China. One called RedBerry will cost less than a dollar a month, plus a few cents for each e-mail sent. PushMail will cost the equivalent of about $12 a month for unlimited usage, or less than one-quarter of the price of BlackBerry service.