Fourteen years ago today, Research In Motion debuted a device with a name that still resonates today, when they introduced their first BlackBerry, the 850.
Now, you may say "hey, they made devices before then, like the 950 the year before" and yes, you'd be correct. However, it was on this day back in 1999, that RIM used the word BlackBerry for the first time on anything. They launched the BlackBerry wireless email solution, and BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES) software for Microsoft Exchange
and packed all of it into this new device, the 850. Logically, this first wireless emailing device would be known as a BlackBerry 850.
Exactly what kind of specs did the world's first BlackBerry have?
800 MHz DataTAC® network
2.5 x 3.5 x 0.93 inches / 6.4 x 8.9 x 2.4cm (LxWxD)
Thumb-operated trackwheel and ESC key
Tone, vibrate, on-screen or LED indicator
Intuitive icons and menus
User selectable 6 or 8 line display
4 MB flash memory plus 512 Kbytes SRAM
Embedded RIM® wireless modem
- Compatibility Integrates with an existing enterprise email account
- Integrates with a new handheld email account
- Wireless Email
- Corporate Data Access
- Wireless Calendar
- Wireless Internet
Microprocessor 32-bit processor
AA alkaline or rechargeable AA NiMH
Approximately one week data/email usage
Though the specs are laughable for our time (screen size wasn’t even considered), at that time, it was actually a great innovation in tech.
January 20th is a big day in RIM's history. During those years, they had innovated and created the category of mobile devices that had never been seen before. Eventually, they'd transition this BlackBerry brand from an emailing pager (which is what the 850 was because it didn't make or receive calls) to the brand new concept of a smartphone.
RIM hopes there will be another monumental mark in their history made only 10 days after celebrating this anniversary when BlackBerry 10 launches on January 30th of this year.