Years ago, when all the phones were not similar, with a large multiple touch screen in front, BlackBerry was something else. It had a special sign on its devices: the legendary hardware QWERTY keyboard.
When most phones weren’t smart, and you had to use the number pad to type, having a full alphabetical keyboard was a gift. It could help you type with a two-thumb style to increase the speed.
But having a great keyboard is not enough to make it. Be the force or join it, they say, but you have to join at the proper time. It was a little too late for the Canadian company.
What happened to BlackBerry?
When the Android era came, many companies didn’t trust the process. They wanted to survive, but the market was faster than they thought. So, they lost.
Nokia and BlackBerry were the most known victims of the Android revolution. Nokia was sticking to Symbian and later WindowsPhone, and BlackBerry had the same story with Blackberry OS. They were all fine, but people were looking for something better. If we put it in a somewhat political word, Android was more democratic, and the arrogance of Blackberry was like a dictatorship. People didn’t like it. And guess what? People are the market.
Back then, they were all right. BB used to develop phones with the highest security. Business people loved the brand. Because the company had a business attitude and its phones were unique.
They actually tried.
Blackberry designers tried their best, but their best wasn’t enough. They were sticking to some innovations that were cool, but not functional.
Let’s have a look at some of them.
As we mentioned earlier, they were kind of dictators. When all the phones out there were designed to make it easier to use, all they were caring about was the heritage: a physical phone’s keyboard.
Even when they were putting a touch screen on BlackBerry Storm, they used a feature called SurePress to simulate the haptic feedback. Well, it wasn’t the key. The project didn’t go well.
So, they introduced BlackBerry Storm 2- the same phone without the physical key bar. Somehow, it couldn’t help them to gain their reputation back, too.
Trackballs in Torch
BlackBerry 5 was an OS that was developed to be used with a trackball. Nokia had tried it before, and it was a failure. But BB didn’t learn from them and wanted to experience it themselves. Therefore, as you can guess, at the end of the story, they failed again phones.
I can imagine the designer who presented the series:
“We MUST keep the hardware QWERTY keyboard, but people want a touchscreen. So why not have them both? Let’s make BlackBerry great again!”
Interesting, right? But it did not work, either.
The problem was how they used the touchscreen. The apps were made to be used vertically, and the touchscreen was horizontal, which means you can’t use it most properly. Moreover, the screen was small. People wouldn’t like it, for sure.
Yes, it is cool to have them both, but dude! Sometimes, it’s enough to copy other competitors! You don’t have to be unique all the time!
The company developed four models of tablets in two years under the sub-brand of Playbook. They had their special OS that was designed for touch-only use. Even with this simple phones approach, they couldn’t succeed. It was a wise decision to stop it after just two years.
BlackBerry and Porsche Design
When BlackBerry felt it’s getting late, the company tried its luck with some new approaches. One of them was co-branding with Porsche Design. They had their shots and the best outcome of this cooperation may have been the Porsche Design BlackBerry P’9981. It was a great phone if you were into having something unique.
Still, there were many problems with the OS and the price tag to make it another failed project.
The passport was another project that didn’t go the way BlackBerry wanted to. It was one of the most extravagant devices that the company ever made.
Talking about the hardware, the phone offered great features. The flagship-class SoC like the Snapdragon 801, 3 GB of RAM, 32 GB of internal storage, with a 3450 mAh battery is acceptable for a low-range phone today. But this phone was introduced in 2014. It was wonderful for phones with a price tag of 170 EUR and the name of BlackBerry on it.
But again, there were some problems with their ambition to be unique. The LCD panel was developed with a strange ratio- 1:1, which made it unable to be used for many apps. So, what were the use of the stunning resolution and that fancy Gorilla Glass 3 on it?
The Android era: Priv
Finally, in 2015, BlackBerry announced its first Android phone, Priv.
They already had lost a lot, so they put all their efforts into this phone to make it outstanding. You can tell by checking its specs: Snapdragon 808, 3 GB of RAM, a curved AMOLED screen with a reasonable size of 5.4 inches, 16:9 ratio, and Corning Gorilla Glass 4.
It worked well. BlackBerry fans went crazy. After years, they had something to be proud of.
But the company didn’t stay the same.
BlackBerry and TCL
After all the challenges that BlackBerry faced, they started to change. In this era, they chose a more sophisticated way for developing their phones: cooperating with TCL- a Chinese company that was working with Alcatel.
After Priv, they developed DTEK50 and DTEK60. In fact, the hardware design and manufacturing were on TCL’s shoulders, but BB was in charge of branding, marketing, and the OS department.
It was like pumping fresh blood into a half-dead body. The company finally had found something to stick to.
BlackBerry and TCL stopped the cooperation in 2020. The BB fans were promised to see some new phones by the end of 2021 after the company started another partnership with OnwardMobility. But as we can see, there is still nothing.
As they had announced, the new phones would have physical keyboards alongside 5G technology. So, we’re still waiting to see what is going to happen.