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Definition: BlackBerry

The Waterloo, Ontario company that pioneered email on the smartphone. Originally Research In Motion (RIM), BlackBerrys were the primary smartphones in companies in the early 2000s. Today, BlackBerry phones use the Android operating system and are a brand of TCL Communication (see BlackBerry Key).

BlackBerry's Email Pioneered the Smartphone
In 1999, the text-only BlackBerry was the first mobile device that synchronized with the Microsoft Exchange corporate mail server. In 2002, GSM voice and GPRS data were added in the model 5810, making it the first BlackBerry smartphone. Two years later, a million people were using them, and in 2009, with many users on their second, third and fourth models, the 50 millionth BlackBerry was sold. At the end of 2012, there were approximately 79 million subscribers.

BlackBerry Competitors
In the late 2000s, iPhones and Androids offered touchscreens, slick software and most significantly, email synchronization, BlackBerry's claim to fame. As iPhone and Android sales skyrocketed, BlackBerry users switched, and by the time new, innovative BlackBerrys were introduced in 2013, sales were barely 1% of the market (see BlackBerry 10). The company launched a turnaround plan that focused on selling mobile security software to enterprises and deriving royalties from its many patents. In 2015, the first Android-only BlackBerry debuted (see BlackBerry Priv). See BlackBerry App World, BlackBerry Enterprise Server, BlackBerry Storm, CrackBerry, BlackBerry Messenger and smartphone.

Classic BlackBerry Models
Until the Storm came out in 2008, BlackBerrys had physical keyboards, which was their distinguishing feature. Using both thumbs, people learned to type quickly. (Images courtesy of BlackBerry, www.blackberry.com)