Headquartered in Canada, BlackBerry was founded in March 1984 by Mike Lazaridis and Douglas Fregin as ‘Research in Motion’. The company designs and markets enterprise software and Internet of Things. However, it is known for its BlackBerry brand of smartphones and tablets. In 1999, the company introduced its first pager, the BlackBerry 850. The device was capable of receiving push email from a Microsoft Exchange Server using the company’s Enterprise Server. It was the BlackBerry brand that set the stage for the company’s enterprise-oriented products, including smartphones and software.
BlackBerry launched its first smartphone, the BlackBerry 957, in April 2000. Soon, it also introduced consumer-centric BlackBerry devices with multimedia features. The company’s Pearl series, followed by the Curve 8300 series and the Bold 9000, fuelled the company’s expansion in both enterprise and consumer markets globally.
Despite the arrival of the Apple and Android smartphones, BlackBerry sustained its market share growth in early 2000s. The growth started to decline as more original equipment manufacturers like Samsung, HTC, LG, etc, joined Google’s Android ecosystem for the development of Android OS-based smartphones, and Apple introduced the iPhone with multimedia-handling abilities.
In December, 2016, BlackBerry announced that it had stopped developing hardware and made a deal with China’s TCL to design, manufacture and sale BlackBerry-branded smartphones outside of Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Nepal, and Sri Lanka. In 2017, the company forged a partnership with India’s Optiemus Infracom to design, manufacture and market devices for India, Sri Lanka, Nepal, and Bangladesh. Since 2016, BlackBerry-branded devices have been shipped with the Android operating system, along with a security suite provided by BlackBerry. This suite includes DTEK security, BlackBerry Messenger, and BlackBerry Hub. These features were also part of the company’s BlackBerry 10 OS, the last iteration of its operating system for smartphones.