An era in the history of telecoms is set to come to a close following the announcement by the Chinese manufacturer TLC that it will shortly terminate production of BlackBerry phones, which it has been making for some years. Here is a look back at the key dates in the story of what was one of the most iconic devices of the noughties.
1999 – Launch of the first email capable mobile device
Canadian company RIM (Research In Motion) initially specialised in pagers before launching, in early 1999, the BlackBerry 850, a game-changer which was the first mobile device to integrate email. It also set the tone for future models with its physical keyboard, and it was the first ever product to bear the BlackBerry name.
2002 – The first BlackBerry telephone
A few years went by before the launch of the first Blackberry phone, the BB 5810, in 2002. Billed as the first ever mobile device to offer email, phone, SMS, browser, and organiser features, it had to be used with a headset to make and receive calls. In spite of its many technical innovations, sales of the 5810 failed to meet expectations.
2005-2010 – Unparalleled corporate success
BlackBerry entered a golden age in the mid-2000s with the 8700, and a string of successful models that followed. Executives from all over the globe massively adopted Blackberry devices, which allowed them to work and respond to email at any time and from any location. The Canadian company appeared to be unstoppable...
2008 – An inadequate alternative to the iPhone
Immediately following the launch of the iPhone, BlackBerry struck back with a fully tactile model of its own. However, the Storm failed to impress, and BlackBerry did not renew the experiment with tactility for several years. Instead it stubbornly continued with its signature physical keyboard and proprietary software on devices that were increasingly sidelined by the emergence of Android and iOS.
2013 – A failed relaunch with the BlackBerry Z10
Faced with plummeting sales, BlackBerry attempted to launch a contemporary smartphone with a large screen and no physical keyboard: the Z10. In terms of hardware, the Z10 offered acceptable performance. However, its BB 10 operating system was clearly not on a par with iOS or Android. BlackBerry had run out of options.
2016 – TCL takes over the smartphone division of BlackBerry
With a market share that had dwindled almost to nothing, BlackBerry decided to restructure and focus on its software business. The company's smartphone division was entrusted to TCL, which ever since has taken charge of the production of BlackBerry branded models, all of which have largely gone unnoticed. – AFP Relaxnews
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