Although 2009 had seen the rise and rise of Android and Apple smartphones, it’s easy to forget that they were still only quite small players in that market. When it came to smartphones that were actually used as smartphones – because many of Nokia’s Symbian devices were only used as feature phones by owners – then the company to beat was Research In Motion and their line of BlackBerry devices.
The killer application on the BlackBerry platform was messaging – no other smartphone had quite the capabilities when it came to email or instant message, and for this reason BlackBerry devices were extremely popular. So when RIM announced two significant devices in October 2009 they were at the top of their game.
|BlackBerry Bold 9700 and Storm2|
Both corporate and private users bought the 9700 in significant quantities, and it did seem that sticking to the classic BlackBerry formula was working well for RIM in the face of their upstart rivals.
Where the Bold 9700 built on success, the BlackBerry Storm2 was a follow-on to failure. The original BlackBerry Storm – released in 2008 – was a disaster. Poorly conceived and implements, the Storm was critically panned and unsurprisingly didn’t sell. The Storm2 fixed many of the problems of the original, including re-engineering the touchscreen display, including WiFi, fixing the software and fitting a better camera. As a result, the Storm2 was at least usable… but the specification was a year out of date when it hit the market and it was only a modest success.
In the end, the success of the Bold 9700 masked the disappointing sales of the Storm2. Although this didn’t look like a bad result, the problem was that RIM didn’t have a next-generation product that could complete with the new generation of smartphones coming out. It would take more than three years to produce a real successor to the classic BlackBerry platform, and that was a catastrophe that made even the original Storm look small in comparison.
Image Credits: RIM / BlackBerry