BlackBerry used to be the “it” phone.
Notice I said used to be. Just as video killed the radio star, iPhone killed the BlackBerry.
Blackberry has become the new “flip phone.” It’s ancient. It’s out of date and it can’t compete in the iPhone revolution of the smart(er) phone.
The first BlackBerry device, the 850, was introduced in 1999 as a two-way pager in Munich, Germany. In 2003, the more commonly known smartphone BlackBerry was released, which supported push email, mobile telephone, text messaging, Internet faxing, web browsing and other wireless information services. It was the creme de la creme of not just cell phones, but technology, period. However, just as all great civilizations must fall, BlackBerry met its match in 2007 with the introduction of the iPhone.
The world was turned upside down. Owning a BlackBerry once meant something. It said, “I’m important and I get tons of emails all the time so I have to carry a handheld device to field my superiority,” but then the iPhone came along and it was like BlackBerry got demoted to water boy while iPhone was head cheerleader on varsity. Let’s face it. iPhone was quicker. It was sleeker and, though BlackBerry was the first smart phone, iPhone was, well, smarter.
The operating system used by BlackBerry devices is a proprietary multitasking environment developed by Research In Motion (RIM). The operating system is designed for use of input devices such as the track wheel, track ball and track pad. It was revolutionary in its time, but then iPhone introduced its iOS mobile-operating system which included the “Core Animation” software component in combination with the PowerVR hardware which is responsible for the interface’s motion graphics.
The iOS operating system made BlackBerry’s RIM operating system obsolete. RIM’s U.S. market share of smartphones declined from 44 percent in 2009 to 10 percent in 2011.
BlackBerry co-chief executives and co-chairmen Jim Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis said Sunday, Jan. 22, that they are stepping down from their positions. This news comes after the duo successfully and then unsuccessfully guided the BlackBerry maker RIM for nearly two decades. In an action that many have viewed as jumping ship, Balsillie and Lazaridis can be considered the broken remnants of a once-great civilization.
The resignations weren’t shocking considering RIM’s stock tumbled 75 percent last year as sales plummeted and investors began to criticize the two for releasing products without the features necessary to compete in the iPhone market. While Apple’s iPhone was more of a silent brand, only introducing five generations of iPhone, BlackBerry had a total of 19 cell-phone models split into seven different generations. If anything, these statistics are a lesson in quality over quantity. What took BlackBerry 19 tries to “perfect” only took iPhone five.
At this point in the game, while BlackBerry shares a similarity in iPhone attributes such as the touch screen, it cannot compete with a phone which has become a revolution. To techies, iPhone is superior because of the phone’s components, but to the rest of the world, iPhone is superior because it’s cool.
BlackBerry grew into a symbol of corporate “guppy-ism” while iPhone was for trailblazers and game changers. With the succession of Thorsten Heins as the new BlackBerry CEO, a turnaround is possible.
“We have fantastic devices in a fantastic ecosystem,” said Heins on his first morning as new CEO. “I don’t think there is some drastic change needed.”
Famous last words? Only time will tell. How much time? Check your iPhone, I’m sure there’s as app for that.
BlackBerry used to be the “it” phone.
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