Blackberry: History, Features, and Future Prospects

katteb Editors
Published 4 weeks ago on 9 May 2023
katteb Editors

Blackberry, a famous mobile phone brand, has been around for over two decades now. With its unique features and intelligent design, Blackberry phones were once the go-to choice for professionals and business people. Unfortunately, with the advent of new competition and the rise of iOS and Android, Blackberry has lost its market share and popularity. However, it still holds a special place in the hearts of loyal fans and has continued to release new models that cater to their needs. In this blog, we will take a closer look at Blackberry, its history, features, and future prospects. So, stay tuned to learn more about this iconic phone brand and the role it played in shaping the mobile phone industry.

Introduction to Blackberry and its services

Blackberry was a brand of smartphones and other mobile devices developed and maintained by the Canadian company, BlackBerry Limited (formerly known as Research In Motion or RIM), from 1999 to 2016. Specializing in secure communications and mobile productivity, Blackberry was once known for the keyboards on most of its devices and software services that ran through its own servers. At its peak in September 2011, there were 85 million BlackBerry subscribers worldwide. However, Blackberry lost its dominant position in the market due to the success of the Android and iOS platforms. By March 2016, the brand’s numbers had fallen to 23 million, a decline of almost three-quarters. On September 28, 2016, BlackBerry Limited announced that it would cease designing its own BlackBerry devices in favor of licensing to partners to design, manufacture, and market. The original licensors were BB Merah Putih for the Indonesian market, Optiemus Infracom for the South Asian market, and BlackBerry Mobile for all other markets. Historically, BlackBerry devices used a proprietary operating system known as BlackBerry OS, which was replaced by the QNX operating system in 2013. In 2015, Blackberry began releasing Android-based smartphones. [1][2]

Blackberry’s history and development

Blackberry’s history began in 1984 when childhood friends Mike Lazaridis and Douglas Fregin co-founded Research In Motion (RIM). They started by building communication devices like modems and pagers, which eventually led them to develop the Blackberry line of smartphones. In 1999, the first Blackberry device, the 850, was introduced as a two-way pager. Blackberry became known for its focus on secure communications and mobile productivity, which made it a preferred smartphone brand in the early 2000s. In its prime, Blackberry phones made up half of the U.S. smartphone market and 20% of the international market with annual sales of over 50 million devices. However, the rise of competitors like Apple and Android caused Blackberry’s decline. In 2016, Blackberry suspended its mobile phone business to focus on developing cybersecurity software and services. Today, Blackberry’s QNX software powers the operating and infotainment systems of hundreds of millions of cars and IoT devices. Blackberry’s history and development illustrate the changing landscape of the mobile phone industry and the importance of adapting to new technologies. [3][4]

Blackberry’s initial success and decline

BlackBerry was once a pioneer in bringing email services to handheld mobiles with its trademark QWERTY keyboard, becoming an instant darling of world leaders, corporate honchos, and the rich and famous. It enjoyed a golden period between 2001 and 2007 where it expanded its global presence and launched new products. In 2007, Apple introduced its iPhone which significantly impacted BlackBerry’s sales despite initially dismissing it as a mobile phone with playful features. BlackBerry continued to dominate the smartphone market through 2010, when it still held over 40% of domestic and nearly 20% of the global market share. However, it was a combination of slow market reactions, misunderstandings of the smartphone’s value proposition, and poor execution that sealed BlackBerry’s fate. Subsequent devices with a re-introduced keyboard failed as the market continued moving toward larger screen real-estate. BlackBerry also overlooked the end market’s importance, allowing Apple and Google to create slick user interfaces and attractive apps that catered mass consumers. Even its most popular app, BlackBerry Messenger (BBM), was leveraged ineffectively as users turned to messaging apps like WhatsApp. BlackBerry lost the smartphone wars and its stock price has significantly decreased since its peak in 2008. [5][6]

Blackberry’s transition to Android-based smartphones

Blackberry, a company that was once a leader in the mobile phone industry, has been struggling to keep up with competition from Android and iOS platforms in recent years. In an effort to regain market share, the company has made a bold move by announcing that it will transition to Android-based smartphones. This move comes after many years of Blackberry developing its own proprietary operating system. The new Android phone, named the Priv, is expected to have a large touch-screen face and a pullout physical keyboard. With this transition to Android, Blackberry aims to address one major limitation of its previous devices – the lack of apps. By running on the same operating system as many other smartphones, the Android-based Priv will be able to access the millions of apps already developed for Android. Blackberry CEO John S. Chen has also assured that the Priv will have additional security features compared to other Android phones, cementing Blackberry’s reputation and specialty in secure communications. While some loyal Blackberry users may be disappointed by the company’s move away from its own proprietary operating system, Blackberry’s market share has dwindled over the years and this transition may be the company’s best chance to stay relevant in today’s mobile phone industry. [7][8]

Blackberry’s specialty in secure communications and mobile productivity

Blackberry was known for its specialty in secure communications and mobile productivity. Its software services ran through its own servers, ensuring a high level of security for its users. The line originally developed by BlackBerry Limited (formerly known as Research In Motion or RIM) specialized in email, and BlackBerry began offering email service on non-BlackBerry devices such as the Palm Treo through the proprietary BlackBerry Connect software. Its mobile productivity tools included the Blackberry Messenger (BBM) which allowed users to send and receive instant messages, voice notes, and media files. In addition, Blackberry devices had an iconic physical keyboard optimized for thumbing, which made typing easier and faster. However, Blackberry faced competition from the Android and iOS platforms, which caused a significant decline in its market share. Despite losing its dominant position, Blackberry continued to maintain its focus on secure communications and mobile productivity. Today, Blackberry is mostly used in the corporate world for its high level of security and productive tools. [9][10]

Blackberry’s proprietary operating system

Blackberry’s operating system was a proprietary mobile platform developed by Blackberry Limited for their line of smartphones. The OS supported multitasking and specialized input devices such as the trackwheel, trackball, trackpad, and touchscreen. It also provided native support for corporate email and wireless synchronization with Microsoft Exchange and other email services when used with the Blackberry Enterprise Server. The platform also supported third-party applications developed using the available Blackberry API classes, although applications that utilized certain functionality required digital signatures. The OS received updates automatically from carriers that supported over-the-air software loading. Blackberry OS was discontinued when the Blackberry 10 was released in January 2013. The company ceased support for the OS in January 2022. The Blackberry 9720 was the last device to run the OS, running a version of Blackberry OS 7.1 with updates to the user interface that mimicked Blackberry 10, including a new lock screen and application switcher. While Blackberry Limited developed updated versions of its operating system, individual carriers decided if and when a version was released to their users. [11][12]

User experiences and opinions on Blackberry devices

User experiences and opinions on Blackberry devices can vary, with some users praising the iconic physical keyboard and productivity tools while others are frustrated with inconveniences and issues. Reviews of the latest Blackberry 7 line of devices show mixed sentiment. Some find the devices to be slick, fast, and well-made with top-notch craftsmanship, but with a limited selection of apps and an OS that is perceived as out of date. The Bold series is considered a premium alternative for users who want the best possible Blackberry experience, while the Curve series is seen as a good option for those who want a good device without spending a fortune. The Torch series, which offers a full touchscreen experience, is desirable for those looking for media viewing and browsing. However, due to Blackberry OS 7 being perceived as behind the competition, the Torch 9850 and 9860 are unable to compete with the dozens of full touchscreen smartphones that run iOS, Windows Phone, and Android. Overall, the decision to choose a Blackberry device ultimately depends on personal preferences and needs, such as the desire for a physical keyboard or a full touchscreen experience. [13][14]

Inconveniences and issues faced by Blackberry users

Blackberry users faced numerous inconveniences and issues with their devices. One notable problem was the limited access to apps compared to Android and iOS platforms. As the app market proliferated, Blackberry’s lack of app choices made it less appealing to users. Another issue with Blackberry was its slow and outdated hardware. The performance of Blackberry devices was not up to par with other smartphones in the market, which was frustrating for users who expected faster processing speeds. Additionally, Blackberry’s limited camera capabilities were also a drawback for users who wanted high-quality photos. The company’s lack of innovation with touch screens was also a factor in its decline, as consumers were eager to adopt touchscreen technology. Finally, Blackberry’s proprietary software, BES, wasn’t compatible with other mobile operating systems, leading to frustration for users who had to rely on different devices or platforms to access their work data. Overall, the inconveniences and issues faced by Blackberry users contributed to the company’s decline and fall from grace in the smartphone market. [15][16]

Blackberry’s iconic physical keyboard and productivity tools

Blackberry’s iconic physical keyboard and productivity tools have been its hallmark for years. The physical keyboard, complete with QWERTY keys, allowed for speedy typing and precision that was unmatched by touchscreen devices. This was a favorite feature for both business users who needed to quickly reply to work emails and for users who preferred the tactile feedback of traditional keyboards. Blackberry also offered a range of tools that allowed users to be more productive on their devices, such as BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) for real-time messaging, and BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES) for secure corporate communications management. These tools were particularly popular with enterprise customers looking for a secure and efficient way to communicate and coordinate with their teams. However, over time, the dominance of touchscreen devices and the rising popularity of iOS and Android platforms led to Blackberry’s decline. Despite this, the company still has a dedicated fanbase that appreciates the unique experience that Blackberry devices offer. As the company looks to make a comeback with its upcoming 5G-enabled smartphone, it remains to be seen whether their iconic physical keyboard and productivity tools will be enough to attract new users in a crowded market dominated by touchscreens. [17][18]

Blackberry’s competition with Android and iOS platforms

BlackBerry has launched its BB10 operating system with the hope of challenging the dominance of Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android operating systems. It features interesting devices such as a camera interface that allows users to manually select the best settings and capture shots with the Time Shift feature. The messaging client BBM now supports video, while the social networking integration is also strong. BlackBerry 10 supports HTML5 and allows for multiple browser tabs, making it fast and efficient. However, BlackBerry lacks in physical keyboard features compared to the BlackBerry smartphones of the past. The new operating system provides real-time multi-tasking which allows users to switch between apps quickly. BlackBerry 10 is highly secure and less prone to malware compared to Android and iOS. In terms of app availability, BlackBerry 10 falls short, although it claims to have all the top apps. This new operating system has been designed for productivity-focused multitaskers, but it faces an uphill battle to challenge Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android operating systems, which account for 90% of the smartphone market share. [19][20]