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Definition: BlackBerry


The Canadian company in Waterloo, Ontario that pioneered email on the BlackBerry smartphone. Founded in 1984 as Research In Motion (RIM), the company renamed itself after its product line in 2013.

In the early 2000s, BlackBerrys were "the" smartphones in corporations. However, by the time a new and promising smartphone line was introduced in 2013, iPhones and Androids had captured the market. In late 2016, TCL Communications took over the brand and released several BlackBerry models using the Android operating system. In 2020, the BlackBerry-TCL arrangement ended. See BlackBerry Key.

BlackBerry Email Pioneered the Smartphone
In the 1980s and 1990s, RIM products were text-only pagers that used the Mobitex network. In 1995, two-way messaging was introduced. However, the big change occurred in 1999 when the BlackBerry pager became the first mobile device that synchronized with a company's email server (see BlackBerry Enterprise Server). See Mobitex.

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 so many repeat users, 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 the new BlackBerry line came out 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 thousands of 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)






Android on BlackBerry Key
The classic BlackBerry keyboard running the Android operating system. See BlackBerry Priv and BlackBerry Key.