Blackberry Limited, a Canadian company – previously known as Research In Motion Limited (RIM) – was founded in 1984. The company is renowned for its range of smartphones, tablets and other services. Blackberry is said to be the original smartphone makers. From Pager to qwerty keypad phones, Blackberry has done it all.
Yet, it couldn’t quite deal with the onslaught brought about Apple (iPhones) and Google (Android). The universal rule of evolution applies everywhere, evolution is the key to survival. One who adapts the changes, stays; and the one that resists it, fades away.
The story of Blackberry is enthralling as it is a perfect example of an incumbent business that lost out to its more shiny and aggressive counterparts in market it had traditionally dominated.
Here the question arises, Was Blackberry too old to remain at the top of its game? To get an answer to this question and some more insights on Blackberry’s success and eventual downfall, read on!
How Blackberry Became a Household Name?
Back in 1996, Blackberry launched Inter@ctive Pager 900, clamshell-type device that allowed two-way paging. As the pager became popular and in 1998, the company launched the Inter@ctive Pager 950. However, the very first device that had Blackberry name with it was BlackBerry 850, an email pager, launched in 1999.
In 2003, Blackberry’s first smartphone was launched, which supported push email, text messaging, mobile telephone, Web browsing, Internet faxing, and other wireless information services. And that was just the start. To achieve more success and fame in the market, Blackberry offered email service on non-BlackBerry devices, such as the Palm Treo, via its BlackBerry Connect software.
The BlackBerry OS was a Java version, and it gained popularity through an email client. Moreover, it was the substantial choice of users who loved to keep their data safe. Further, Blackberry introduced the phones with resistive touch screen along with the keypad. Later on, the touch screen changed from resistive to capacitive.
Due to the security and safety provided in emails and Blackberry Messenger, the phone was widely used by businessmen and government officials and became a status symbol. The number of subscribers stood at a staggering 41,000,000 in 2010.
It was all good in Blackberry’s world until the vivacious iPhone came in as a mild breeze and soon proved to be a wild storm.
iPhone Entered The Market:
In 2007, Apple announced the launch of its first generation phone, iPhone. With a multi touch screen, ability to connect to Wifi and GPS navigation and more, iPhone entered the market and literally blew away people’s mind. Suddenly, the phone with no keypad and all touch was the trend. After the release, hundreds of people stood in a line to get their hands on iPhone. The first generation of iPhone itself, made competitors run for their money.
The entry of iPhone proved to be a major setback. People’s expectations were raised and they wanted Blackberry to outsmart the new kid in town.
Instead of all the mayhem and changing market, Blackberry’s obsession with qwerty keypad was so immense that when there were touchscreen phones in the market, Blackberry chose to stick to its old style which ran its course with time and soon the company started losing its brand loyalists.
As Steve Jobs once said, “Design Is Not Just What It Looks Like And Feels Like. Design Is How It Works” Apple followed it through the end of the tunnel. As for last decade, iPhone has been trying to match up the market requirements. Whether by introducing new technology or by strong marketing strategy, it has sustained the brand loyalty.
Blackberry in spite of having the market lead, seems to have given up There was a time, when keeping Blackberry was considered as the status symbol and Blackberry Messenger was so popular that it enticed youngsters too.
What Went Wrong?
Though, no one can argue whether Blackberry should have thrown itself in the race of bigger screen phones or should have maintained the old image as the changes could have made it fail more miserably. Blackberry would always be known for the unique keypads in mobile history but then again history is history, people tend to forget the past.
Blackberry was on the zenith and has earned a reputation and respect but to the loyalists’ dismay, the complacent behavior and reluctance to change, made the company fall flat on its face. When they did try to make the changes, either it was too late or they made the wrong choices.
Conversely, iPhone has tried to sustain its market dominance since Day 1, if the product launched failed to meet the user’s expectations, the company makes sure that the marketing or the later software updates make it look appealing. With the launch of Apple iPhone X, the bezel-less phone, Apple also launched iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus, which seems to be uncalled for. The look of the iPhone 8 are almost similar to iPhone 7, as if they are trying to old wine in a new bottle, but somehow with the marketing and slight changes in hardware and other specifications, the company has dared to do something new.
IPhone X is the symbol of progress and how far iPhone has come. From the first generation iPhone to the bezel-less iPhone X, the journey has been exhilarating. From fingerprint ID to Face Authentication ID, with portrait mode to A11 bionic chip and more, it has everything that makes it work and maintains a steady hold on the loyalists.
Blackberry’s irrelevant smugness led to its early demise setting a striking example of how it is necessary to move in the direction of the wind or the agonizing swirl will snatch all that’s yours.
This proves, no matter how strong you are, how much potential you have got, there is always a room for improvement. So, accept this fact and do the thing that scares you the most !