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BlackBerry Bold 9000
By May 2008, RIM was ready to introduce a new family to the world: the Bold, starting with the BlackBerry Bold 9000.
Although perhaps not as successful as later models of the series, the original Bold 9000 was the first to support the higher HSDPA data speeds offered by network operators.
It also had beefier specs than other devices RIM was offering, with 1GB of internal storage (plus microSD expansion slot), 128MB RAM, and a 2.6-inch 65K (480 x 320 pixels) colour display. It also included Wi-Fi and a 2-megapixel camera.
It also had the trademark BlackBerry keyboard, beloved by fans.
However, while it had the specs, investor sentiment was unsettled — RIM's share price suffered a small decline from $139 in May to around $122 at the end of August 2008, as the impact of Apple's disturbance of the smartphone market began to take effect and the desire for new touchscreen form factors took hold.
By the end of December, RIM's inability to react quickly to the threat had cost it dearly, with the share price languishing around the $40 mark.
In order to try and respond to the seeming lust for full touchscreen handsets, RIM announced the ill-fated Storm, its first not to include a keyboard of any kind. It had made its way into stores in the US, UK, Canada and Australia between mid-November and the end of 2008.
Instead it featured a 'clickable' screen technology called SurePress, that was intended to give users the reassuring feeling akin to pressing a physical button. In reality, the movement allowed the screen to gather dust and be the source of other complaints with the device. Other problems such as software glitches also plagued the phone, giving fuel to critics.
According to Jim Balsillie, co-chief executive at the time, only 500,00 Storm handsets shipped in its first month. Despite a brief rally in sales in early 2009, the Storm failed to perform.
The next most notable release from RIM, which is telling in itself, came in the first half of 2011 in the form of its 7-inch PlayBook tablet.
However, like the Storm, the PlayBook was a knee-jerk reaction to a form factor it didn't understand, and to the subsequent runaway success of the Apple iPad.
Unfortunately for RIM it didn't offer the same level of ease of use or performance as Apple's tablet. Contributing to the PlayBook's poor performance in the market were some strange decisions made by the company, such as not offering its email services to PlayBook owners unless they also owned a BlackBerry smartphone.
Nevertheless, several versions (including LTE-equipped variants) have been announced since its first release on 19 April, 2011.
Despite its first tablet offering reaching the market, major shifts in the consumer market and exec-level turmoil combined to help shed value from RIM’s share price: it fell from $67 at the start of 2010 to $25 by July 2011.
Since then, the company has felt like it was treading water, eking the last life out of its existing software platforms and hardware before the introduction of its BlackBerry 10 handsets and software.
Undoubtedly, BlackBerry 10 is a critical juncture in RIM's history with the iPhone and Android devices becoming more accepted in enterprise environments, proving a threat to its core business. Today, RIM's share price stands around $15; I'll be interested to see what it is in July.