As long as we celebrated the tenth anniversary of the unveiling of the Apple iPhone on January 9th, we should celebrate today the 18th anniversary of the first BlackBerry device. It was on January 19th, 1999 when a relatively unknown company called Research In Motion introduced the BlackBerry name for a line of devices that included a "breakthrough wireless email solution for mobile professionals."
The first product to wear the BlackBerry name was the BlackBerry Handheld which combined paging functionality with email. The device later became known as the BlackBerry 850. Had you been into mobile devices back then, you might have crowed about the LCD display, the 32-bit Intel 386 processor, 2MB of Intel flash memory, a wireless modem, triple-DES encryption technology, a full QWERTY keyboard, all powered for an entire day by a single "AA" battery.
Soon, everyone was hankering for a BlackBerry and corporations were buying them by the bucket full. This way, executives could stay in touch while out of the office. BlackBerry was soon on its way to becoming the largest smartphone manufacturer, a position it would hold for some time even following the introduction of the Apple iPhone on January 9th, 2007. Eventually, the touch screen revolution overwhelmed BlackBerry, and the company next month will introduce its last in-house designed handset code named the BlackBerry Mercury.
"The frequent and discontinuous nature of email usage is driving the need for a wearable, power-efficient device that can be constantly connected to the wireless network, while remaining unobtrusive to the user from both a physical and workflow perspective. Further, the confidential nature of enterprise email demands sophisticated encryption techniques that require significant processing power in the device.Intel's embedded microprocessor and flash memory technology provided a powerful and reliable foundation to meet these challenging design objectives."-Jim Balsillie, Co-CEO, RIM