Today sees a couple of events which, combined with recent developments, make me think that things are progressing for Thailand's technology industry.
First of all, Research In Motion (RIM) is gathering its team in Southeast Asia here in Bangkok to launch its new range of BlackBerry 7 devices for Thailand.
You can say what you want about RIM and its struggle against Android, iPhone and others across the world, but right now it enjoys a very strong presence in Thailand and many other surrounding markets like Indonesia.
I've written about my thoughts on how RIM has been success in Thailand before (and many of the factors apply across the region), while equally I've been less enthused about its other products--like The PlayBook. Though things are definitely changing in the developing world, with a slew of budget smartphones offering new connectivity and possibilities to many, RIM won't give its market dominance up for nothing.
With so many of Thailand's 65 million-plus population yet to buy a smartphone, there are still a lot of new customer to fight over and it will be interesting to see how RIM's BlackBerry 7 devices will build on, and protect, its progress in developing markets like Thailand.
Second, having appointed a country manager recently and embarked on a major offline advertising campaign (which Thailand was the first market anywhere to kick off), Google will officially launch in Thailand today.
I've spent considerable time talking with the team, not only in Thailand but across Southeast Asia and Asia-Pacific, and it is encouraging to see the emphasis the company is placing on Thailand.
Far from being a technology laggard or backwater, like many may see the country, Google senses the possibilities within a country are mobile, Internet and wireless services--and these have flourished despite connectivity and reliability issues, personified in point by severe delays over 3G, though services finally launched last week.
Arguably Google's interest is its own business--like any company's should and would be--but the fact that major players are placing real emphasis on Thailand shows just how far the country, and the Southeast Asia region as a whole, have come.
Don't get me wrong, a great number of issues exist in Thailand--including concerns of freedom of speech, lack of startup companies and investment, and more--but the country has come a long way and is showing potential to go a lot further.
What do you think? Am I right to be optimistic, or did I just get out of bed in a good mood this morning?