Do you remember "pocket pagers"? The use of a pager was the epitome of hip and current "back in the day". It was really only as long ago as 1999 that pagers were the big thing, and yet today they seem utterly obsolete. This is all due to the advent of more advanced wireless devices, such as smartphones and tablets.
Interestingly enough, one of the biggest names in pagers kept hold of its share of the mobile market and remains a top dog in the mobile device industry today.
What company is that? BlackBerry, of course, and today it is a preferred name among those using smartphones as well as other mobile technologies. In fact, if someone is not using an iPhone or Android device, they are probably using a BlackBerry.
The History of the BlackBerry
The first actual "BlackBerry" was released in 1999, and it was a two way pager. It was given the unusual name because of the look of the keys or buttons on the original devices. Closely resembling the "drupelets" of blackberries, the designers decided it would be a suitable name for the devices.
The RIM 850 and 857 were the first on the market, and it would be four full years before the more contemporary BlackBerry devices began to appear. Even then, they were ahead of the game offering "push" notifications for messages of all kinds and even including web browsers in their software.
It is their proprietary software that has allowed them to stand out from the crowds of other mobile devices. Initially focusing in on email, the devices also established their free communication networks that allowed all BlackBerry users to message one another easily.
The unique design of the devices emphasized the use of the thumb for all controls and typing, but the need for touch functions has forced BlackBerry to integrate such features into its latest models (the Z10 and Q10 devices).
A Global Enterprise
BlackBerry was started in Canada but has established itself as a global entity with offices and facilities in North and Latin America, Europe, and the Asian Pacific region.
As of 2012 it had produced and shipped more than 33 million devices around the world, and the brand has roughly 3% of the entire mobile market. Though this seems like only a slender margin, it is important to take note of two major points:
1. There are currently 80 million-plus subscribers; and
2. Consider just "who" relies on the devices and software.
For example, President Barak Obama is an "unspoken" spokesperson for the brand due to his insistence on using it instead of any other, and the chairman of Google is also a dedicated BlackBerry user. Additionally, many government agencies in the company's hottest markets rely exclusively on BlackBerry, too. This includes police forces in the UK, federal agencies in the US, and traffic police in India. Major transportation providers in Canada and the UK also issue BlackBerry devices to staff.
Software and Devices
Of course, the BlackBerry software is another reason for its popularity. It has an operating system for the latest devices, the BlackBerry 10 models, but there is also the older BlackBerry OS that set the bar for multitasking environments on mobile devices. There is the famous BBM or BlackBerry Messenger that allows subscribers to send and receive IMs, notes, images, and videos between other BlackBerry subscribers at no additional charge. Realistically, a subscriber in New York could BBM a friend in Europe for no additional fees if both were BlackBerry users.
There is also the BES or the BlackBerry Enterprise Server that allows the user to send and receive email through their device, and the hugely popular BlackBerry email client that appears on non-BlackBerry devices. Clearly, this demonstrates innovation and explains why there is such a strong market for the brand.
Latest and Greatest
The latest releases of the devices include the BlackBerry 10 models:
These models have the most advanced software and features to date, including top of the line cameras, adaptive keyboards, and a specially designed user interface.
This is all in line with the company's corporate responsibility initiatives, too. It is a company "committed to offering the best tools for communication and social collaboration" even as it works hard at minimizing environmental impact and operating sustainably (BlackBerry, 2014).
As a main player in the mobile device market, BlackBerry has been involved from the beginning and continues to evolve as needs and demands change.
BlackBerry.com. Corporate Responsibility. BlackBerry.com. 2014. http://us.blackberry.com/company/about-us/corporate-responsibility.html