Recently, the news that BlackBerry devices are essentially shutting down has sparked a wave of nostalgia, not only in the mobile industry but around the world.
Rarely does the shutdown of an aging, largely abandoned technology service (in this case, BlackBerry Internet Service (BIS)) be the subject of much press, television news, and media coverage. discussion on social networks. But it is these reactions that demonstrate the power of BlackBerry’s once iconic line of devices.
In the late 2000s, mobile devices designed for business users were mostly meant to enhance their attractive appearance, while the accompanying price tag was quite high. But, BlackBerry appeared and became the first evidence to confirm to many people that mobile phones are not only for making calls and sending text messages.
BlackBerry offers email, an instant messaging system, and a physical keyboard – capabilities that were previously limited to PCs. Furthermore, BIS allows for unlimited data consumption at a time when data plans are usually not cheap. Basically, BlackBerry has delivered an attractive cocktail, both in terms of function and prestige.
Many argue that the impact BlackBerry devices have on the mobile industry could be similar to, or even worse, other iconic products like the Nokia 3310, Motorola RAZR or the original iPhone.
However, BlackBerry’s impact on mobility and the world of enterprise IT goes far beyond that. Its software and security capabilities, its contributions to industry-standard patents, and device innovation are still relevant today.
BlackBerry started with Research in Motion (RIM) in 1984 in Canada by two engineering students Mike Lazaridis and Douglas Fregin. RIM then quickly made a name for itself in wireless connectivity and electronic messaging, creating the world’s first two-way pager, a device that could access email, and eventually a smartphone. .
Now, after two decades of technological advancement, three generations of mobile connections, and a global pandemic, we’ve all gotten used to the flexible way of working. But for entrepreneurs at the turn of this century, the ability to access secure email from any location and reply with a QWERTY keyboard instead of an alphanumeric keyboard was truly revolutionary. .
In an age where IT is still dominated by the desktop and security is still in its infancy, even for those with access to laptops, the behind-the-scenes features of BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES) made everything possible with just one mobile phone. BES can manage devices, authenticate users, and secure data transfers beyond the confines of the office. That means bringing a new freedom to users, and at the same time they do not have to come at the expense of security.
Function, design and price have made the BlackBerry a desirable device and attracted consumers. RIM responds by making sure its latest devices have built-in cameras and by updating the BlackBerry operating system several times over its life. BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) has become one of the main selling points thanks to its unlimited messaging and communication features that go beyond SMS.
Even as Apple and Google prepared to launch their first iPhones and Android devices in 2007, BlackBerry showed no sign of stopping, continuing to grow in sales and market share. At the end of 2011, BlackBerry’s infrastructure was down for a period of 4 days, causing BBM to go offline, which made news around the world.
The company is still holding on after that, but signs of decline are becoming apparent. The BlackBerry operating system was designed for an earlier mobile era, one based on early hardware and networking standards. As mobile technology becomes more advanced and mobile networks become more capable in the 4G era, the BlackBerry operating system and its devices are becoming increasingly obsolete.
Efforts to remain competitive in the market proved futile. The BlackBerry Storm with its touchscreen was a flop, and although BlackBerry 10 was well received by critics, it was consistently delayed and released too late in 2013. In a mobile world of today The more dominated by an app ecosystem, the more BlackBerry simply lacks something that can sustain developers’ interest.
By 2013, BlackBerry had peaked at 85 million subscribers, with many businesses still appreciating its manageability and security. However, the general consumer is gradually leaving, while many office workers now want to use the same technology in their work as well as in their personal lives. As a result, they resented the many shortcomings of the BlackBerry handset and the limitations imposed by its technology.
Apple, Samsung, and Google have been slowly eroding BlackBerry’s security advantage, and the rise of the BYOD trend – using a personal mobile device to get things done – is believed to be the final nail in the phone. coffin of this ambitious tech firm.
This was followed by a name change (from RIM to BlackBerry), a cutback, and a shift in focus from handsets to services. The pain of downsizing has given way to a smaller, more centralized and financially secure organization to continue to survive in the industry and maximize the value of its patent portfolio. . The company released several new devices to cater to its loyal (but meager) fan base, before that fateful day of 2016. From that point on, the only BlackBerry devices sold will be manufactured under license by third parties.
It’s tempting to fantasize about what might have happened if BlackBerry 10 had launched a few years earlier, or if BBM had gone cross-platform before Facebook and WhatsApp had taken over the mobile messaging market. Anyway, now that BlackBerry has decided to step back from the industry to shift its focus to mobile infrastructure, it’s still the right time to celebrate its legacy in mobile. Undeniably, the company has helped drive convergence between the mobile and IT industries, laying some of the foundations for flexible device usage and forcing other vendors to follow suit.
Just as Nokia shifted its focus to telecommunications infrastructure, BlackBerry is also working on management and security platforms for a mobile-oriented IT world, including emerging areas such as the Internet of Things and the Internet of Things. Things (IoT) and connected cars.
And as both enterprise mobility and BlackBerry itself move to a new level, an important chapter in the industry’s history has come to an end.