Founded in 1984 as Research In Motion Limited (RIM) by Mike Lazaridis, Blackberry Ltd. is a Canadian telecommunication equipment company, which is currently a subsidiary of Fairfax Financial. BlackBerry was named after the fruit of same name, and is currently famous for the BlackBerry OS (developed as BlackBerry 10 at present), BlackBerry mobile devices, and BlackBerry Messenger.
BlackBerry Ltd. released its first wireless device (known as RIM 850), an email pager in 1999 in Munich, Germany. Since then, the BlackBerry series of wireless handheld devices (25% of them are smartphones) are available worldwide. The 850, 857, 950, 957 were the first pager devices sold by RIM (which used DataTAC networks), and later it launched the Monochrome Java-based series: 5000, 6000 in the market. The First color series were 7200, 7500, 7700, and after the launch of the First Sure Type phone series: 7100, BlackBerry gained marketshare in the mobile industry by concentrating on email. The BlackBerry 5810 was the first smartphone by BlackBerry Ltd, which used the BlackBerry 3.6 OS (a far more advanced version than the BlackBerry 1 used in the pagers). In 2003, the more commonly known convergent smartphone BlackBerry was released, which supports push email, mobile telephone, text messaging, Internet faxing, Web browsing and other wireless information services. BlackBerry began to offer email service on non-BlackBerry devices, such as the Palm Treo, through the proprietary BlackBerry Connect software.
The latter devices were optimized to be used by the thumb- all aspects such as typing and operating are done by two thumbs merely (and use a QWERTY keyboard in all phones). The previous BlackBerry OS was a Java version, and after its success as email client, it was used extensively by users who liked to keep their data safe. The latter smartphones also had the facility of capacitive (previously resistive too) touchscreen, along with the keypad). The success led the company to release several advanced versions of the OS, which are listed as:
Version Release Date
1.0 January 1999
3.6 March 2002
5.0 August 2008
6.0 August 2010
10 January 2013
The latest version, an integrated version of BlackBerry Tablet OS, was targeted for next Generation users and was renamed as BB10 (previously BBX), from BlackBerry OS 10 and is known as BB10 till date. This was made different from the other versions, which did not need a separate BlackBerry data plan unlike the previous versions.
Having 534,000 subscribers in March 2003, it raised to 41,000,000 in February 27, 2010, when it was at the peak point of popularity. Due to the security in emails and BlackBerry Messenger (due to encryption), the BlackBerry smartphone was extensively used by government officials, businessmen, and other prominent people (including US President Barack Obama). Though not that much popular worldwide, it had 45% smartphone market share in the US then, highest among the smartphone vendors.
After 2010, due to the stiff competition in the smartphones by Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android, the BlackBerry market share started falling down in a constant order, which led it to 3% in Q3 2013. The development of BlackBerry 10 and release of several high end smartphones- such as the BlackBerry Q10, Z10, Z30, Q5, Porsche design etc, the popularity of BBM (BlackBerry Messenger, which uses the BBM Pin system) also did not help at any extent to raise its level, or even to keep it at constant. BBM was later also released for iOS and Android users, in 2013.
Several analysts have estimated the BlackBerry market share to fall even further- to as less as 0.3 % in 2018. If it continues like this, the day is near when the BlackBerry will be extinct. John Chen, who was named chief executive officer in November 2013, is reducing BlackBerry’s dependence on the smartphones that made the company famous. Instead, he’s stepping up reliance on business customers and fresh revenue streams from its QNX software and BBM instant-messaging services. The shift is key to Chen’s goal of returning the money-losing company to profit by the fiscal year that ends in March 2016. Since BlackBerry doesn’t probably have the enough resources for marketing strategies and rebuild its brand name so that every smartphone holder would be alleged to buy the BlackBerry smartphones, its market share will probably no longer raise further, and its a very sad aspect for all BlackBerry users (only they know how smart BlackBerry OS was, is and will be). The fall of the share is most probably due to the high price and less features of BlackBerry in the recent past (Android and iOS gave a lot features with less price), but BlackBerry has somehow maintained to cope up with this minus point by revising and cutting down the price of its phones, and also by adding a lot of features such as adding additional features, such as being able to download OTA with 10.2.1 and run Android apps. This says that how smart and well developed BB10 is, yet it impresses nobody.