Despite forming back in the 1980s it wasn’t until 2007 that Canadian manufacturer RIM burst onto the emerging smartphone scene by combining the elements of its previous PDA devices with telephone communication functionalities to create the BlackBerry.
First in line was the BlackBerry 8800 series featuring a colour screen with 320 x 240 resolution, full QWERTY keyboard, GPS, multimedia functionality and new centre mounted trackball.
Towards the end of 2007 however the much sleeker BlackBerry Curve 8300 series was introduced and it really pushed RIM into the limelight. Although many of its features were the same as the 8800, a 2 megapixel camera, Bluetooth, multimedia player, as well as a slew of additional applications were all packed into a much thinner frame.
It was the 8320 that really captured the public’s imagination thanks to a reasonable price tag and intuitive navigational system. By October 2007 it was reported that RIM had already gained 10.5 million subscribers and had also become very popular with the youth market as well as corporate users thanks to its free BlackBerry messenger service.
Unfortunately competitors latched on pretty quickly and its success has arguably been short lived. These days almost all smartphones support the features which first launched on BlackBerry but we shouldn’t forget that RIM are the ones to thank for making the first inroads to the functionality of the smartphone era.