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Blackberry Planet: The Story Of Research In Motion And The Little Device That Took The World By Storm Review

3522 words - 15 pages

In BlackBerry Planet: The Story of Research In Motion and the Little Device That Took the World by Storm (Wiley, 2009), Alastair Sweeny chronicles the development of the immensely successful Canadian company Research In Motion, and focuses on its hit device, the BlackBerry .
In chapter one, Sweeny chooses to present us with the face of the BlackBerry today. Rather than lay out RIM’s early developments, he draws in the reader by describing the BlackBerry’s addictive properties and massive success. He highlights some of the BlackBerry’s key features to explain its widespread use, with over 25 million users worldwide and 85% of public corporations supplying their workers with the device. He ...view middle of the document...

He shows that the device’s prevalence in people’s lives forces them to always stay connected. This type of situation causes individuals to take their work home and adversely affects their family life. Although some people try to fight this “disease”, Sweeny explains that public opinion is mixed.
In chapter two, Sweeny traces the birth of Research in Motion and the development of the Blackberry. He introduces us to key members of the RIM team, including co-founder Mike Lazaridis, the engineering brain of the company, and Jim Balsillie , the talented business manager. Lazaridis, son to Greek immigrants, displayed engineering talent early on in his childhood. After high school, he attended the University of Waterloo to pursue a degree in electrical engineering. In 1985, two months shy of achieving this goal, he dropped out to start RIM with high school friend Doug Fregin. Between 1985 and 1990, the company enjoyed some initial success selling networked display monitors and completing contract work on technology for the film industry, earning the prestigious Emmy and Academy Awards. But Lazaridis knew the future lay in wireless digital technology, and so, in 1989, the company shifted its efforts to the Mobitex: a network technology which enabled wireless communication. The company first got involved in the project through a consulting contract, but quickly spread its responsibilities to programming and engineering as well. Working on Mobitex and mastering a whole new range of technologies set the stage for RIM’s BlackBerry breakout. By late 1991, RIM created the world’s first commercial wireless email program, receiving an initial payment totalling $250,000. In 1996, after developing various wireless digital technologies, RIM finally came up with the first prototype for the BlackBerry- the 900 Inter@ctive Pager. This first model had several flaws, namely its relatively big size, a short battery life and a hefty price tag. Before introducing the next model, RIM added great innovations to its product, including optimizing the device for thumb computing, for which it filed for a patent in 1998. The next model, the new 950, was a sleeker and more efficient version of its predecessor, really gaining traction thanks to its “all-in-one” feature. It received rave reviews and generated high sales, but the founder got the hunch that his new wonder needed a proper name. With the help of a marketing firm, RIM adopted the catchy and iconic term “BlackBerry”. Through successful marketing and rebranding, the BlackBerry became an instant commercial hit when it was launched in late 1999. In April 2000, RIM released the first BlackBerry with a full length brick-sized shape, the 957 Wireless Handheld, which offered uninterrupted connectivity and a handful of other benefits. Sweeny finishes off the chapter by discussing RIM’s cash flow problems. RIM was able to secure capital through government and business investments, as well as going public. However, growing...

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