The evolution of the BlackBerryWith the launch this week of the BlackBerryZ10, Research in Motion (soon to be knownas BlackBerry) launched what it hopes willbe the product to put the one-timesmartphone giant back on the map.But how did RIM get to the Z10? Today wetrace the evolution of the BlackBerry, fromits humble pager roots, to dominant globalplayer, to one-time great in need of aturnaround. By Jeff Jedras
BlackBerry 950This early model shows RIM’stransition from pager manufacturerto mobile e-mail powerhouse, with apager-like form factor combined withthe must-have QWERTY keyboard.In was powered by an Intel 80386processor and 4MB of flash memory,which isn’t bad, because back thenthere was no Angry Birds.There were two editions – one forExchange email, one for generalInternet-based accounts.
BlackBerry 957Now this is starting to look familiar. In2000, the BlackBerry 957 was a must-have.It’s not that dissimilar to the QWERTYmodels of today in appearance, and thescroll wheel on the side would be aBlackBerry staple for years, until the firstCurve’s poorly designed trackball.This model also had a 80386 processor, butupped the RAM by 1MB and introduced arechargeable lithium battery – no moreraiding the remote control.
BlackBerry 5810An early attempt by RIM to jump frome-mail device to what we would todayconsider a smartphone, the BlackBerry5810 added phone capability, but withone caveat – there was no built-inmicrophone or speaker, forcing you tofumble for your headset when thephone rings.It was also one of the early devices tointroduce SMS messaging to NorthAmerica – no headset requires fortexting.
BlackBerry 7250Colour!In 2005, the BlackBerry 7250’s display wasstill pretty basic, but at least it was colourful.In addition to being able to make phone callswithout a separate headset, it introducedBluetooth connectivity for supportedperipherals and now boasted 32MB of flashmemory. However its rated 3.3 hours of talktime and eight days of standby time on acharge disappointed some.Oh, if they could only see us now.
BlackBerry Pearl 8100 The Pearl was an early attempt by RIM beginning in 2006 to break into the consumer market. In addition to colour choice, it was the first BlackBerry to feature a camera and a media player, and a much more phone-like form factor. The model was discontinued four years later, having not found much love with either BlackBerry purists or traditional mobile consumers.
BlackBerry Bold 9700 Later in the decade, RIM would have two primary BlackBerry lines: the budget- friendly Curve and more powerful Bold. Launched late in 2009, the BlackBerry Bold 9700 boasted Wi-Fi calling and a browser with HTML viewing – which may not sound like much now, but at the time, for BlackBerry users, it was a nice advance. Still, weak browsers would remain a BlackBerry deficiency.