Blackberry in 2020: Where are they now?

Before the era of Android and iPhone devices, Blackberry is one of the iconic smartphones during its era alongside with Nokia. Blackberry is known for its physical keyboard and security features. But throughout the years, the brand is not popular anymore unlike before. Like everyone would ask, where is Blackberry right now in 2020?

A Walk in the Past

BlackBerry 850

Let's first go back in time when Research In Motion (RIM) Ltd. created the very first Blackberry device in 1999: the BlackBerry 850. It is not a phone, but a two-way pager that allows users to create emails and surf the web in a limited capacity. It only comprises of a physical keyboard but with a small screen. This monochrome screen then became larger when its successors came out.

BlackBerry 7210 and the 7100t

In the 2000s, RIM released Blackberry 7210: the first Blackberry phone with a colored screen. The 7100t model is also released featuring the "SureType" keyboard, which is quite different from the QWERTY keyboard used on other Blackberry devices but became successful in sales. Throughout this era, Blackberry became popular. From its iconic Bold and Curve series to its flip and sliding models, it has experienced a sudden increase in the number of users and sales. This is also the time when Barrack Obama and Hillary Clinton were known for using Blackberry phones.

The Downfall

As brands like Apple and Samsung continue to rise during the 2010s, it became the fall of Blackberry. At this time, the number of Blackberry users increase to its peak at 80 million in 2012 to just 46 million in 2014. As Android and iOS devices offer full touch screen devices during that time, Blackberry sticks to its old designs; which makes it one of the causes of its downfall.

BlackBerry Priv, the last smartphone under BlackBerry Ltd.

When RIM, renamed as "Blackberry Ltd." during this time, finally realized what's happening, it was already too late. They released the Z and Q series in 2013 and these models relied on BlackBerry's operating system, OS10. Unfortunately, sales have been lower than expected. Meanwhile, BlackBerry Classic is the last phone to use OS10 as its operating system, before finally shifting to Android and used in BlackBerry Priv.

In 2016, BlackBerry announced that they will stop releasing new models in favor of TCL Communication, licensed as "BlackBerry Mobile", Optiemus Infracom (BlackBerry India), and BB Merah Putih in Indonesia. Under the BlackBerry brand, TCL released models such as the DTEK50, DTEK60, KeyOne, Key2, and Motion. On the other hand, BB Merah Putih released the Aurora and KeyOne LE models in the Indonesian market.

As of this writing, Optiemus Infracom is still handling its license with BlackBerry Ltd. and released models such as their version of the KeyOne, Evolve, and Evolve X in the Indian Market.

In 2020 and Beyond

Recently, both licenses of TCL Corporation and BB Merah Putih for the BlackBerry branding had already been expired. Meanwhile, BlackBerry Ltd. announced its partnership with Onward Mobility to release a new BlackBerry 5G-capable smartphone by 2021. Currently, there are rumors that the upcoming model will also have a physical keyboard similar to the previous models.

Throughout the years, we have seen how BlackBerry had gone up and down in the phone industry. But with its upcoming smartphone in 2021, it is possible that someday, BlackBerry would return to its former glory.