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Blackberry once trained as king of the smartphone selling more than 50 million units at its peak in 2011, the Canadian telecom company was originally named research in motion and had tens of millions of customers.
It started out creating pagers and handsets, but the first iteration of the smartphone complete with iconic keyboard, took shape within its first 15 years at one time: blackberry, controlled 50 percent of the smartphone market in the US and 20 percent globally.
In the mid ox, Blackberry phones were everywhere, but demand rapidly declined and, in 2016, blackberry stopped manufacturing its own phones. So what happened? In 1984, two Canadian engineering students Mike Lazaridis and Douglas fraggin formed Research In Motion at first, the company dabbled, mostly in random projects, an LED system for GM, a local network for IBM and even a film editing system that won an Oscar in 1998.
In 1989. The Canadian phone company Rogers contracted rim to work on its mobile text network a system specifically designed for messaging giving rim a leg up as an early expert in mobile messaging, fast forward to 1996, when rim created its first two-way pager and for the next few years.
The company iterated on that design gradually adding features like a color display, Wi-Fi instant messaging and web browsing in 2002. The company unveiled its first model that could be called a phone in 2006 rim added the trackball, so users could scroll around the screen.
Blackberry figured out a way to make its phone indispensable to the wealthy and powerful and having it really meant something about who you were as a person. It was a status symbol and that's, where we got that name.
Crackberry people were almost addicted to it and addicted to that feeling of always being connected. The BlackBerry had a simple design, an easy learning curve and was clearly marketed to business professionals.
The full keyboard made it possible for them to work outside the office. They could respond to emails text browse the web, basically anything they might need to do at a computer, and there was one other beloved feature: blackberry, messenger.
The bbm messaging service was a key component of BlackBerry's. Success as well, because they figured out really early on that people wanted to have an instant connection to people. They wanted to be able to message back and forth without limits and being able to bbm.
Also added you to that really exclusive club of blackberry. Only users. This convenience paired with inclusivity paid off by 2007, the company was pulling in more than three billion dollars in revenue with a net income of 631 million.
At that point in time, blackberry had all these government contracts and big business deals and those deals in turns burden were consumer adoption. So at that point, blackberry was just dominating the US market.
So, with all those contracts and dollar signs, the company had nothing to worry about right. The problem with them is really sort of in the bottom 40. They're. It's. It's this stuff right here. They all have these keyboards that are there, whether you need them or not to be there.
What we're gonna do is get rid of all these buttons and just make a giant screen a giant screen. The iPhone was something consumers had never seen before it. The iPhone was a full touchscreen device, and that was a huge leap and innovation at that point.
For the mobile industry, blackberry was still using physical keyboards at that point, but the iPhone didn't kill rim. It just signed its death warrant. Blackberry didn't view the iPhone as competition since it didn't cater to the business market, so it carried on business as usual rim released the blackberry flip phone in 2008, quickly followed by the blackberry storm, its first touchscreen device.
The storm was reviewed and trashed by critics who said it was a definite letdown because of the phone, sluggish performance and bugginess, but blackberry phone still continued to sell. For a few reasons, the iPhone was more expensive than the blackberry and exclusive to 18 t until 2011.
Forcing customers in the US either switch providers or pick a new phone and very simply people, just didn't want to give up their keyboards. So for a while blackberry was fun, but RIM underestimated how quickly the smartphone market was changing.
There was a new, updated iPhone every year and other smartphones, like the Motorola Droid, began to hit shelves rim tried to keep up it rolled out innovative new devices like the PlayBook tablet and torch, but the devices were not well received, the PlayBook even shipped, without an Email app, which made it useless to BlackBerry's.
Business minded customer base in June 2010 came BlackBerry's, death-rattle, with the release of the iPhone 4. Soon, after its release Apple's, phone sales surpassed blackberry. For the second time, but this time they stayed there, blackberry was slow to change.
Its company ethos was built around designing a great product that just worked and iterating on it. Slowly to that - and they would add small features over time, but they weren't shooting for big sweeping changes that would shock and delight consumers.
It wasn't the fact that there was no well-established BlackBerry app store, although that was big. Comparatively Android and Apple were more top of mind for app developers, blackberry, wasn't. The phones missed out on a bunch of features that appealed to consumers like front and back cameras.
These shortcomings ultimately led to rims downfall. Rims global market share began a downward spiral going from 20 % in 2009 to less than 5 % in 2012 by the time rim finally released a speck competitive, touchscreen phone in 2013.
It was just too late that same year, rim officially changed its name to blackberry. Blackberry thought its loyal customers would wait around for it spoiler. They didn't. At this point, people were locked into either iPhone or Android and in the last quarter of 2016, out of 432 million smartphones sold worldwide, only 200 7900 or blackberry devices which officially made rim smartphone market share 0 % and in 2016 Chinese consumer electronic company TCL essentially Bought the BlackBerry phone brand, which led to their departure from the smartphone market 14 years after the release of its first phone, but the phone's, live on sort of introducing the new blackberry classic with more powering to than ever before.
The deal was for TCL to design and manufacture blackberry hardware, while the BlackBerry company provides the software today's. Blackberry phones still have the iconic keyboard but run on android, not the BlackBerry OS, giving users their beloved App Store and much more customization options.
The phones are still marketed to a specific type of user people who want enhanced privacy and security features with the marketing materials spotlighting, the phone security protections and battery life, but the latest BlackBerry phone, the key to was released in 2018.
These days, a new model comes along every year and 2019 has come and gone without any new BlackBerry's. Whether we see a new BlackBerry anytime, soon or not, the phones will always be a brick in the foundation of smartphone history.
A fitting place for a company so set in its ways that it cemented its own demise.