The BlackBerry's Approach to Business Users
The digital age of mobile devices mainly started with pagers and large mobile phones. Personal Digital Assistants were also a popular choice for people that do not wish to carry around the bulky laptops at the time despite their limited color support. One of the Canadian-based companies known as "Research in Motion" got into this market in 1999 by introducing the BlackBerry brand and its first device to carry it taking the form of a two-way pager.
The Introduction to Smartphones
Compared to other manufacturers, Research in Motion got into the competition a bit late with IBM creating the first smartphone back in 1992 followed by Nokia’s 9000 model. Ericsson followed with its own smartphone product boasting its touch screen technology which was a first back in 2000. BlackBerry then came up with their own smartphone model in 2002.
BlackBerry’s Target Market
The BlackBerry 5810 is the first BlackBerry device to have built-in phone features making it the first smartphone to hit the competition. This was the time when the two-way pagers were abandoned and RIM started to advertise these models as email-capable mobile phones. Because of its emphasis on E-mail, the BlackBerry was mainly aimed towards business use rather than regular consumer use.
The earliest BlackBerry devices that were available were rich in features supporting telephone calling, text messaging, Internet faxing, push e-mailing, and wireless web browsing. Unlike other smartphone competitors, the early BlackBerry smartphones were famous for their dominant e-mail features to attract people in the business industry. Each of the features were presented in an operating system interface that revolves around icons laid out on a 3 by 5 grid. The first BlackBerry smartphone also had a full keyboard on the bottom which is ideal for thumb texting.
Rise to Popularity
Both the device and the closed source BlackBerry OS saw improvements with later BlackBerry models taking the jump from the dated Intel-80386 processors to the faster Intel 624 MHz processors currently used by the latest 9000 series. Sporting colored screens and exceptional applications for sending and receiving e-mail and browsing the web, BlackBerry devices were often seen as addictive devices because getting an Internet connection was easy as long as the user is within the wireless network range of the phone carrier allowing any users to quickly send and receive e-mails.
The BlackBerry OS evolved as well taking advantage of the scroll wheel used in pre-2006 models while later versions make use of a trackball and track pad for navigating the interface. The OS has reached its fifth major version sporting better customization options, improved browsing experience, faster performance in applications, updated maps, and extra encryption options. This can be used in the latest BlackBerry Bold 9700 model (also known as the Onyx) as well as other touchpad and touch-screen models.
Another full touch-screen model known as the BlackBerry Storm 2 uses this OS and includes OpenGL ES support which opens up opportunities for gaming. Models that use the rollerball or thumbwheel use the older BlackBerry OS 4 which is still supported and has plenty of applications including support for Lotus Notes and Novell GroupWise.
With the powerful hardware that the BlackBerry smartphones run on and increasing developer activity since RIM opened up the App World that offers 3rd party applications, the BlackBerry is continuing their pursuit in winning business users as well as attracting ordinary consumers as well.
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