I am a long term user of mobile devices. It all started with a Bell South connection in the late nineties and a Motorola DynaTac or "brick" as they were affectionately known: not much good for anything except making and receiving calls. This was then replaced and upgraded at regular intervals and included the Nokia 8110 and even a Motorola Star Tac. Once Y2K had been and gone and the new millennium was underway I made the switch to BlackBerry devices.
At the time this Canadian company seemed to have the jump on every one until 2007 when Apple introduced the iPhone. My last 13 phones have all been Apple, I hate to think how many accessories, chargers and protective cases I have purchased over this time but like so many of us Apple remains the gold standard in smart phone technology and most importantly aesthetic.
January 4th marked Blackberrys last death rattle with the company confirming devices running BlackBerry OS 7.1 and OS 10 would lose crucial services essentially rendering them useless. BlackBerry once reigned as king of the smartphone, it sold more than 50 million units at its peak in 2011 boasting tens of millions of customers. It started out creating pagers and handsets, but the first iteration of the smartphone, complete with iconic keyboard, took shape within its first 15 years.
At one time, BlackBerry controlled 50% of the smartphone market in the US and 20% globally. In the mid-aughts, BlackBerry phones were everywhere. But demand rapidly declined, and in 2016, BlackBerry stopped manufacturing its own phones.
In my relatively short life I have been lucky enough to witness the dawning of the digital age, one of the greatest revolutions in the history of mankind, possibly surpassed by Space exploration and as a business owner, if nothing else, this is an interesting case study. In the same week that Apple announced a record breaking valuation, another tech company that was once one of their major competitors has essentially been totally eliminated; in less than a decade.
It shows the importance of innovation in any business and highlights the need to take risks and to never cease striving for improvements in everything we do.