BlackBerry is a line of wireless handheld devices that was introduced in 1999 as a two-way pager. In 2002, the more commonly known smartphone BlackBerry was released, which supports push e-mail, mobile telephone, text messaging, internet faxing, web browsing and other wireless information services as well as a multi-touch interface. It is an example of a convergent device. Developed by the Canadian company Research In Motion (RIM), it delivers information over the wireless data networks of mobile phone service companies. BlackBerry first made headway in the marketplace by concentrating on e-mail. RIM currently offers BlackBerry e-mail service to non-BlackBerry devices, such as the Palm Treo, through the BlackBerry Connect software. The original BlackBerry device had a monochrome display, but all current models have color displays.
While including PDA applications (address book, calendar, to-do lists, etc.) as well as telephone capabilities on newer models, the BlackBerry is primarily known for its ability to send and receive e-mail wherever it can access a wireless network of certain cellular phone carriers. It has a built-in QWERTY keyboard, optimized for “thumbing“, the use of only the thumbs to type. System navigation is primarily accomplished by a scroll ball in the middle of the device (older devices used a track wheel on the side). Some models (currently, those manufactured for use with iDEN networks such as Nextel and Mike) also incorporate a Push-to-Talk (PTT) feature, similar to a two-way radio.
Modern BlackBerry handhelds incorporate an ARM 7 or 9 processor, while older BlackBerry 950 and 957 handhelds used Intel 80386 processors. The latest GSM BlackBerry models (8100, 8300 and 8700 series) have an Intel PXA901 312 MHz processor, 64 MB flash memory and 16 MB SDRAM. CDMA BlackBerry smartphones are based on Qualcomm MSM6x00 chipsets which also include the ARM 9-based processor and GSM 900/1800 roaming (as the case with the 8830 and 9500). The devices are very popular with some businesses, where they are primarily used to provide e-mail access to roaming employees. To fully integrate the BlackBerry into a company’s systems, the installation of BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES) is required.