The Road So Far

Support the vision. Support the brand.

It’s easy for BlackBerry fans, users, supporters to see where BlackBerry is now and think that they’ve reached a dead end. The new devices on the horizon are Android-powered, and BlackBerry purists might take offense to that. In fact, most of them certainly have. This has resulted in many of the “fan sites” switching gears, turning their backs, and even trying to destroy the community from within, all because they cannot understand the company’s vision.

The reality is: BlackBerry is stronger than ever. They have successfully redesigned their entire business plan from one of a device-centric world to the world of software and IoT. You know… where the future is going. So, why is there this disconnect between what the supporters see BlackBerry doing and what the fans believe to be a dead company? To understand the future, we must look at the past.

Take a look back at BlackBerry.

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  • 1999 – RIM releases the first “BlackBerry” device, a pager that supports emails. Showing a dedication and focus to the business consumer.
  • 2003 – Convergent technology led RIM to release the first smartphone. This BlackBerry device offered email, internet browsing, telephone, and messaging.
  • BlackBerry messaging software used in other hardware.
  • Models like the Curve and Storm helped BlackBerry take their place as the leader in the smartphone industry.
  • 2008 – BlackBerry Bold launched, still largely recognized as the most iconic form factor.
  • With the invent of the slab phones, and the app library brought by competitors, BlackBerry was unable to push aside the consumer-driven devices in favor of their more elegant business models.
  • 2010 – BlackBerry acquires QNX to use as a foundation for its new OS.
  • Early 2013 – RIM simultaneously rebranded itself as BlackBerry, dropping the Research in Motion moniker, and launched BlackBerry 10 OS with its flagship devices, including the first slab form factor for the phone company, the Z10.
  • Mid 2013 – BlackBerry faces a possible sale due to the years of financial and administrative struggles.
  • Late 2013 – John Chen named CEO of BlackBerry with the promise to turn the company around. In his first CEO blog post, he stated, “We are committed to reclaiming our success.” Take a second and reread that. Everything that has taken place, holds up to that first post three years ago: vision.
  • Since Chen took over, BlackBerry has reinforced its software acquisitions with AtHoc, Movirtu, Secusmart, WatchDox, and Good Technologies.
  • 2015 – BlackBerry released its first Android-powered smartphone: the Priv.
  • 2016 – BlackBerry redesigned its business structure to focus more on software solutions, with the promise of more devices on the horizon.
BlackBerry has a vision for the future.

The truth is, BlackBerry completely revamped its business model. A company that was once focused on offering innovative devices now looks at the future world where devices have become secondary, and the possibility to innovate further has plateaued. Not because of their ability, but rather because the technology is simply not ready for mass consumption. Instead, BlackBerry has scaled down their device offerings, keeping just enough on the market to satisfy their niche consumers, and has narrowed their laser focus onto enterprise and business solutions at a software level. The core values of BlackBerry remain: mobility and security, with ease and elegance.

The question now, is what are YOU going to do about it? The BlackBerry community is divided into two camps: supporters and naysayers.

If you are a BlackBerry supporter, your directive is clear: Continue offering your consumer loyalty to the company in which you trust and believe. Buy the devices; involve yourself in the [right] fan communities. Help fight the good fight, as the battle isn’t really on the stock exchange, it is in the forums and bash-friendly blogs. Be the voice of facts not FUD.

If you are a BlackBerry naysayer, pack your bags and go. BlackBerry will continue on as they have, finding the trends and innovating for the future. Your rhetoric is unwelcome here.

So, the next time someone calls you a blind fanboy, or any other trite term of cyber bullying, remember: BlackBerry innovates with vision. The fact that you can see it is the opposite of “blind.”

Tl;dr – BlackBerry has always provided solutions for you. Will you be part of the solution for them?

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Erica Davis

Erica is a BlackBerry fanatic, supporter, and uses BlackBerry devices exclusively. She likes to connect the dots, fit the pieces together, and showcase the overshadowed... oh, and she likes cookies.

  • Jon Hunnings

    Great article, Erica! If there was ever a time when BlackBerry needs its fans to rally round and support the brand (not just one facet of it that we really like!), that time is now. Whether the device in your hand is powered by BB10 or Android doesn’t matter, so long as the logo is  and the name reads “BlackBerry”.

    • Erica

      Thanks, Jon. It comes down to brand loyalty. Trust and support are not mutually exclusive, and BlackBerry has mine.

  • Anthony

    It’s great when the naysayers finally leave…like the few who cancelled their UTB accounts.

    The Note 7 is a POS…

    …hopefully followed up by more stories of banana shaped iPhones with touch disease catching fire…

    and Wikileaks showing the progenitor of most of Google’s free services and features is the NSA…

    BlackBerry is back baby locco_smiley_29

  • FS

    Well, I’m a big fan of BlackBerry, and it’s great that BlackBerry gets traction again. The Android road is necessary to get new customers, which want secure smartphones. But, also BlackBerry 10 is necessary! A lot of people like BlackBerry 10, me included, because this OS is great to handle and it’s most secure. I’m testing several OS like iOS, Windows 10 and Android, and no OS has that great flow like BlackBerry 10. So I really hope, that the BlackBerry 10 story isn’t over! BlackBerry should license BlackBerry 10, like BlackBerry Android to smartphone manufacturers, to keep that awesome OS alive.

  • Very Well written post E.

  • Jope28

    I’m a huge fan of BlackBerry core OS on BlackBerry hardware.
    I’ve been a huge fan of certain BlackBerry products. Have loved all my BlackBerry devices and products from my old Curve to BBM to my Passport today.
    My daily driver has been BlackBerry hardware with a BlackBerry core OS for a bit under a decade.

    BlackBerry ‘branded’ phones are not something that I can get behind personally, but I try to promote them to friends and family that have no problem with using Android.
    I choose not to use Android because of certain principles that I cannot reconcile with anything that ‘runs the Googles’ (but that’s just a personal gripe and philosophical differences).

    My gripe with Android has nothing to do with and isn’t a beef with BlackBerry itself.
    For me personally, choosing between Android and iOS is like choosing between the two US presidential candidates now. I refuse to support anyone of the two candidates and will take the same position with not supporting Android or iOS (even if BlackBerry ‘endorses’ Android on their devices now lol).

    I guess I qualify as a ‘naysayer’ according to your definition since I will most definitely not get behind an Android device even if it’s on a device that is ‘BlackBerry branded, secured and optimized’.

    After BlackBerry 10, I won’t own a BlackBerry device if it’s running Android.
    I choose not to get on the iOS/Android bandwagon.
    Feeling lost and hoping that BlackBerry can continue to offer an alternative I can go along with that isn’t Android or iOS.

    Being critical of BlackBerry isn’t trolling, no matter how many million times it gets repeated on here.

    Just because some of us hate what BlackBerry has needed to become, doesn’t mean that we don’t understand the strategy or that we don’t understand that they didn’t have much of a choice and ‘had to’ in order to survive.

    • If you will not use BB10… What OS you will choose ?

      • Jope28

        I will use BB10 for as long as I possibly can.
        I’m sure I’ll be fine for 2017.

        If/when the time comes that BlackBerry no longer sells me a BB10 device, then I’ll have to figure out what to do when that time comes.
        Have my fingers crossed for BlackBerry to pull one last trick for us ‘true’ BlackBerry fans that won’t use Android or iOS.

        Lol I used ‘true’ in order to ruffle some feathers, but that sounds about right :-p

        • So keep the positive… We all love BB10 and want it to be for long time. But please… Keep the positive… it’s much better.

          Of course that if BlackBerry will bring new BB10 device i will buy it. but keep support it even if they go android cause that’s what the market say… and that’s the only option for them to bring new devices…

    • Bobert_123

      I completely agree with you. I love BlackBerry and respect/understand what they are doing to stay profitable. With that said, the more and more they adapt, the more and more they loose me personally as a customer. When we lost bb10 I still decided to buy a Priv because I love BlackBerry hardware, wanted a secure device, and wanted to try out BlackBerry flavored android. The Priv to me, while very flawed, is still a very enjoyable phone to use. But outsourcing hardware really takes away the last reason for me to buy a BlackBerry branded handset.

      That doesn’t mean I’m done with BlackBerry as I will almost definitely use BlackBerry apps on whatever device I end up getting after the Priv (not interested in an iPhone). I don’t really think I fit into either of the two camps listed in the article.

  • fahedalderbi

    Thanks Erica really very great article which lay out BlackBerry history and chronicle and really it’s not just devices it’s about broad BlackBerry vision which concentrate on security, productivity and prosperity for all people

  • DonMariano

    A timely article with a well constructed analysis of the current state of BlackBerry, considering that Samsung officially killed the Galaxy Note 7. http://nyti.ms/2dYfLDU.

  • Alan

    Thanks Erica. Recently I bought a Samsung refrigerator for my home. The sales person tried to get me to buy an LG one. He said he was prone to the LG Brand. I told him well I’m a big BlackBerry fan, if there was a BlackBerry fridge, I would probably buy one of those. lol :) Just saying. Long live BlackBerry.

  • kapumbasipo@gmail.com

    BlackBerry has my support. I have somewhat got familiar with Android on my experimental device, the LG G4, which I traded with my Passport. The device I want is the DTEK 60 because it has top specs. While I know that BB10 is a better OS, unfortunately, it never got support from key companies like Facebook and others, resulting in consumers not supporting BlackBerry because their favourite apps were missing. Going Android sorted out the app gap and brought security to Android. With the licensing of its software to other manufacturers, things can only get better from now on. I hope BB10 will continue to grow. It is a superior OS.

  • Akinni

    This is a masterpiece. It’s time to separate the boys from the men. BlackBerry has turn the corner. Before long, companies who fail to see that the Western smartphone market is saturated will find their sales down. The power behind any technology is the software-it’s the soul the rest is the body. It’s where the soul is that I want to be, not the body because the body will perish but the soul lives on.

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