January 4th 2022 was marked as the day where Blackberry devices that were issued prior to the android-powered versions would cease to function. That means on these classic devices you can’t connect to the internet, use apps like Whatsapp, send text messages, use data or even call emergency services. The phone will literally be useless, perhaps the BlackBerry classic ‘Brick Breaker’ game will still work, though? We remember a time when everyone had a BlackBerry- it was simply deemed the ‘business phone’, it was levels above the rest. So what happened to this once popular device that rendered it so obsolete? We have investigated and discovered just the answer, or answers, to that question.
Lack of Touchscreen
BlackBerry’s failure can be attributed to their decision to remain with the ‘Qwerty’ keyboard when competitors such as Apple offered a full touchscreen interface, which consumers preferred. Previously, BlackBerrys were popular because of their ease of use, which included instant messaging and sending rapid emails using the keypad and scrolling ball. Nowadays, phones are virtual and augmented-reality instruments. They’re used for a variety of things, including capturing and sharing images, video chatting, and playing games. We use emojis, stickers, voice typing, GIFs, and a thousand other things that you can’t do with three rows of physical QWERTY keys, even within text fields.
Another significant flaw with BlackBerry was its dreadful phone design. BlackBerry Priv and BlackBerry KEYone are two examples of their resistance to change. Keeping their phone’s keyboard in place is a waste of time. The hybrid design is unneeded; one keyboard is plenty, and “having the choice” of a typing keyboard appears needless. Apple, for example, was developing, adjusting, and studying every component of the iPhone at the time. BlackBerry’s phones weren’t light, were quite clunky and simply unaesthetic. Whereas you might look at an iPhone and it entices you into wanting to pick it up. It is sleek, thin, light and certainly attractive.
With its speedier method to messaging, BBM managed to captivate the teenage population and made texting appear uninteresting. At a time when instant messaging was limited, features like status updates, pinging a user, and groups were extremely useful to BBM users. When BlackBerry began to plummet in the market, they believed BBM would save them. Rather than allowing BBM to be installed on other devices, they kept it as a Blackberry-only app. They ultimately changed their minds, but it was too late: Whatsapp, Kik Messenger, and iMessage had already taken over the market.
Smartphones have grown in popularity as a result of the availability to install any app you want and quickly convert your phone into something wonderful. The App Store offers customers a wide range of alternatives, from games to productivity programs. However, you couldn’t do this with BlackBerry’s OS, and only a tiny number of apps are available even now. On the BlackBerry, apps like Facebook and Twitter were equally tough to use, with only half of the screen available to display content.
Losing the Corporate Market
During its peak, BlackBerry served two main target markets: teens who used BBM (BlackBerry Messaging Service) and business people who used the phone for work. At a time when the capacity to accomplish significant work on a mobile device was exploding, the company controlled the corporate market. It also touted a highly secure platform that kept content encrypted and uncrackable at all times. That was the claim, at least, until governments all over the world demanded access. BlackBerry has always stated that it would never give in to such demands, but rumors circulated that it had done so in countries like India and Pakistan, which undoubtedly alarmed some security managers. BlackBerry’s success in selling to large organizations’ IT teams kept the momentum going. Imagine the Sales Director of BlackBerry seeing Enterprise generate 90% of all sales; it would be simple for them to focus solely on this market segment and ignore everything else. Their failure to focus on the consumer electronic sector, on the other hand, failed to appeal to the casual audience, which made up the majority of the market.
Underestimating the Competition
Perhaps BlackBerry’s most serious flaw was its lack of regard for rivals. While all of the development and innovation on the Android and Apple fronts was going on, BlackBerry was more focused with defending what it already had rather than conquering new territory. Thinking you have more room for mistake than you actually do is the definition of complacency. And there was BlackBerry, a firm that realized it had a lot of assets and advantages, so it resisted change and boasted about what it had accomplished. Things like keeping BBM locked down to its own hardware in a world where the cross-platform WhatsApp evolved into a $19 billion business are good examples of its aversion to change.