History

The first BlackBerry device, the 850, was introduced in 1999 as a two-way pager in Munich, Germany. The name BlackBerry was coined by the marketing company Lexicon Branding.

In 2003, the more commonly known smartphone BlackBerry was released, which supports push email, mobile telephone, text messaging, Internet faxing, Web browsing and other wireless information services. It is an example of a convergent device. The original BlackBerry devices, the RIM 850 and 857, used the DataTac network.

BlackBerry first made headway in the marketplace by concentrating on email. RIM currently offers BlackBerry email service to non-BlackBerry devices, such as the Palm Treo, through its BlackBerry Connect software.

The original BlackBerry device had a monochrome display, but all current models have color displays. All models, except for the Storm series and the all-touch Torch 9850 had a built-in QWERTY keyboard, optimized for “thumbing”, the use of only the thumbs to type. The Storm 1 and Storm 2 include a SureType keypad for typing. Originally, system navigation was achieved with the use of a scroll wheel mounted on the right side of phones prior to the 8700. The trackwheel was replaced by the trackball with the introduction of the Pearl series which allowed for 4 way scrolling. The trackball was replaced by the optical trackpad with the introduction of the Curve 8500 series. Models made to use iDEN networks such as Nextel and Mike also incorporate a push-to-talk (PTT) feature, similar to a two-way radio.

The operating system used by BlackBerry devices is a proprietary multitasking environment developed by RIM. The operating system is designed for use of input devices such as the track wheel, track ball, and track pad. The OS provides support for Java MIDP 1.0 and WAP 1.2. Previous versions allowed wireless synchronization with Microsoft Exchange Server email and calendar, as well as with Lotus Domino email. OS 5.0 provides a subset of MIDP 2.0, and allows complete wireless activation and synchronization with Exchange email, calendar, tasks, notes and contacts, and adds support for Novell GroupWise and Lotus Notes. The BlackBerry Curve 9360, BlackBerry Torch 9810, Bold 9900/9930, and Torch 9850/9860 feature the most recent BlackBerry OS 7 as of October 2011).

Third-party developers can write software using these APIs, and proprietary BlackBerry APIs as well. Any application that makes use of certain restricted functionality must be digitally signed so that it can be associated to a developer account at RIM. This signing procedure guarantees the authorship of an application but does not guarantee the quality or security of the code. RIM provides tools for developing applications and themes for BlackBerry. Applications and themes can be loaded onto BlackBerry devices through BlackBerry App World, Over The Air (OTA) through the BlackBerry mobile browser, or through BlackBerry Desktop Manager.

BlackBerry devices use the proprietary BlackBerry Messenger, also known as BBM, software for sending and receiving encrypted instant messages, voice notes, images and videos via BlackBerry PIN. Some of the features of BBM include groups, bar-code scanning, lists, shared calendars, BBM Music and integration with apps and games using the BBM social platform.

Third-party software available for use on BlackBerry devices includes full-featured database management systems, which can be used to support customer relationship management clients and other applications that must manage large volumes of potentially complex data.

In March 2011, RIM announced an optional Android player that could play applications developed for the android system would be available for the BlackBerry PlayBook, RIM’s first entry in the tablet market.

On August 24, 2011 Bloomberg News reported unofficial rumors that BlackBerry devices would be able to run Android applications when RIM brings QNX and the Android App Player to BlackBerry.On October 20, 2011 RIM officially announced that Android applications could run, unmodified, on the BlackBerry tablet and the newest BlackBerry phones, using the newest version of its operating system.

The latest Blackberry devices such as the Bold 9900/9930, Torch 9810, 9860/9860 feature a Qualcomm Snapdragon MSM8260 CPU clocked at 1.2 GHz. Entry-level models, such as the Curve 9360, feature a Marvell PXA940 clocked at 800 MHz. Previous Blackberry devices, such as the BlackBerry 9000 series, were equipped with XScale 624 MHz processors.The BlackBerry Curve 8520 featured a 512 MHz processor, while the Bold 9700 featured a newer version of the Bold 9000’s processor, but is clocked at the same speed. Early BlackBerry devices, such as the BlackBerry 950, used Intel 80386-based processors.BlackBerry 8000 series smartphones, such as the 8700 and the Pearl, are based on the 312 MHz ARM XScale ARMv5TE PXA900. An exception to this is the BlackBerry 8707 which is based on the 80 MHz Qualcomm 3250 chipset; this was due to the PXA900 chipset not supporting 3G networks. The 80 MHz processor in the BlackBerry 8707 meant the device was often slower to download and render web pages over 3G than the 8700 was over EDGE networks.

Multiple BlackBerry Smartphones for use at the children’s museum, Kitchener-Waterloo, Canada (The Museum)

BlackBerry smartphones can be integrated into an organization’s email system through a software package called BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES). Versions of BES are available for Microsoft Exchange, Lotus Domino and Novell GroupWise. Google has made a Connector for BES which makes BES available for Google Apps as well. While individual users may be able to use a wireless provider’s email services without having to install BES themselves, organizations with multiple users usually run BES on their own network. Some third-party companies provide hosted BES solutions. Every BlackBerry has an ID called a BlackBerry PIN, which is used to identify the device to the BES. BlackBerry now provides a free BES software called BES Express (BESX).

BES acts as an email relay for corporate accounts so that users always have access to their email. The software monitors the user’s local Inbox, and when a new message comes in, it picks up the message and passes it to RIM’s Network Operations Center (NOC). The messages are then relayed to the user’s wireless provider, which in turn delivers them to the user’s BlackBerry device.

This is called push email, because all new emails, contacts, task entries, memopad entries, and calendar entries are pushed out to the BlackBerry device automatically and instantaneously (as opposed to the user synchronizing the data manually or having the device poll the server at intervals). BlackBerry also supports polling email, through third party applications. The messaging system built in to the BlackBerry only understands how to receive messages from a BES or the BIS, these services handle the connections to the user’s mail providers. Device storage also enables the mobile user to access all data off-line in areas without wireless service. When the user reconnects to wireless service, the BES sends the latest data.

An included feature in the newer models of the BlackBerry is the ability for it to quickly track your current location through trilateration without the use of GPS, thus saving battery life and time. Trilateration can be used as a quick, less battery intensive way to provide location-aware applications with the co-ordinates of the user. However, the accuracy of BlackBerry trilateration is less than that of GPS due to a number of factors, including cell tower blockage by large buildings, mountains, or distance.

BES also provides handhelds with TCP/IP connectivity accessed through a component called MDS (Mobile Data System) Connection Service. This allows for custom application development using data streams on BlackBerry devices based on the Sun Microsystems Java ME platform.

In addition, BES provides network security, in the form of Triple DESor, more recently, AESencryption of all data (both email and MDS traffic) that travels between the BlackBerry handheld and a BlackBerry Enterprise Server.

Most providers offer flat monthly pricing for unlimited data between BlackBerry units and BES. In addition to receiving email, organizations can make intranets or custom internal applications with unmetered traffic.

With more recent versions of the BlackBerry platform, the MDS is no longer a requirement for wireless data access. Starting with OS 3.8 or 4.0, BlackBerry handhelds can access the Internet (i.e. TCP/IP access) without an MDS – formerly only email and WAP access was possible without a BES/MDS. The BES/MDS is still required for secure email, data access, and applications that require WAP from carriers that do not allow WAP access.

The primary alternative to using BlackBerry Enterprise Server is to use the BlackBerry Internet Service. BlackBerry Internet Service, or BIS is available in 91 countries internationally. BlackBerry Internet Service was developed primarily for the average consumer rather than for the business consumer. BlackBerry Internet Service allows POP3 and IMAP email integration for an individual personal user. However, the integration features only one-way synchronization; changes to messages on the device are not reflected back to the email server. BlackBerry Internet Service allows up to 10 email accounts to be accessed, including proprietory as well as public email accounts (such as Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo and AOL). BlackBerry Internet Service also allows for the function of the push capabilities in various other BlackBerry Applications. Various applications developed by RIM for BlackBerry utilize the push capabilities of BIS, such as the Instant Messaging clients (like Google Talk, Windows Live Messenger and Yahoo Messenger). The MMS, PIN, interactive gaming, mapping and trading applicationsrequire data plans like BIS (not just Wi-Fi) for usage.

Several non-BlackBerry mobile phones have been released featuring the BlackBerry email client which connects to BlackBerry servers. Many of these phones have full QWERTY keyboards

  • AT&T Tilt
  • HTC Advantage X7500
  • HTC TyTN
  • Motorola MPx220, some models
  • Nokia 6810
  • Nokia 6820
  • Nokia 9300
  • Nokia 9300i
  • Nokia 9500
  • Nokia Eseries phones, except models Nokia E66, Nokia E71
  • Qtek 9100
  • Qtek 9000
  • Samsung t719
  • Siemens SK65
  • Sony Ericsson P910
  • Sony Ericsson P990
  • Sony Ericsson M600i
  • Sony Ericsson P1

In December 2007 a BlackBerry Store opened in Farmington Hills, Michigan. As of 2009, it is the only BlackBerry store in existence, but it was not the first. There were three prior attempts at opening BlackBerry stores in Toronto, London, and Charlotte,[31] but they eventually folded. The store offers BlackBerry device models from AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon, and Sprint, the major U.S. carriers which offer smartphones. As of 2012, there are several BlackBerry Stores in Mexico. Although they are branded with the BlackBerry Store logo they do not sell smartphones, as they focus on selling protective covers and other accessories for BlackBerry products.

Blackberry Torch 9860

A BlackBerry Pearl 8100

Original BlackBerry

BlackBerry 7 devices:

  • BlackBerry Bold series (2011): BlackBerry Bold 9900/9930/9790
  • BlackBerry Torch series (2011): BlackBerry Torch 9810
  • BlackBerry Torch series (2011): BlackBerry Torch 9850/9860
  • BlackBerry Curve series (2011): BlackBerry 9350/9360/9370/9380

BlackBerry 6 devices:

  • BlackBerry Torch series (2010): BlackBerry Torch 9800
  • BlackBerry Curve series (2010): BlackBerry Curve 9300/9330
  • BlackBerry Style 9670 (2010)
  • BlackBerry Pearl series (2010): BlackBerry Pearl 3G 9100/9105
  • BlackBerry Bold series (2010-2011): BlackBerry Bold 9780/9788

BlackBerry 5 devices:

  • BlackBerry Bold series (2008-2010): BlackBerry Bold 9000/9700/9650
  • BlackBerry Tour series (2009): BlackBerry Tour (9630)
  • BlackBerry Storm series (2009): BlackBerry Storm2 (9520/9550)
  • BlackBerry Storm series (2008): BlackBerry Storm (9500/9530)
  • BlackBerry Curve series (2009-2010): BlackBerry Curve 8900 (8900/8910/8980)
  • BlackBerry Curve series(2009): BlackBerry Curve 8520/8530

Blackberry 4 and earlier devices:

  • BlackBerry 8800 series (2007): BlackBerry 8800/8820/8830
  • BlackBerry Pearl series (2006): BlackBerry Pearl 8100/8110/8120/8130
  • BlackBerry Pearl Flip series (2008): BlackBerry Pearl Flip 8220/8230
  • BlackBerry Curve series (2007): BlackBerry Curve 8300 (8300/8310/8320/8330/8350i)
  • Early pager models: 850, 857, 950, 957
  • Monochrome Java-based series: 5000, 6000
  • First color series: 7200, 7500, 7700
  • First SureType phone series: 7100

BlackBerry PIN is an eight character hexadecimal identification number assigned to each BlackBerry device. PINs cannot be changed manually on the device (though BlackBerry technicians are able to reset or update a PIN server-side), and are locked to each specific BlackBerry. BlackBerrys can message each other using the PIN directly or by using the BlackBerry Messenger application. BlackBerry PINs are tracked by BlackBerry Enterprise Servers, and the BlackBerry Internet Service, and are used to direct messages to a BlackBerry device. Emails and any other messages, such as those from the BlackBerry Push Service, are typically directed to a BlackBerry’s PIN. The message can then be routed by a RIM Network Operations Center, and sent to a carrier, which will deliver the message the last mile to the device. Example 2732E6DB

In 2000 NTP sent notice of its wireless email patents to a number of companies and offered to license the patents to them. NTP brought a patent-infringement lawsuit against one of the companies, Research In Motion, in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia. This court is well known for its strict adherence to timetables and deadlines, sometimes referred to as the “rocket docket”, and is particularly efficient at trying patent cases.

The jury eventually found that the NTP patents were valid, that RIM had infringed them, that the infringement had been “willful,” and that the infringement had cost NTP $33 million in damages (the greater of a reasonable royalty or lost profits). The judge, James R. Spencer, increased the damages to $53 million as a punitive measure because the infringement had been willful. He also instructed RIM to pay NTP’s legal fees of $4.5 million and issued an injunction ordering RIM to cease and desist infringing the patents. This would have shut down the BlackBerry systems in the US.RIM appealed all of the findings of the court. The injunction and other remedies were stayed pending the outcome of the appeals.

In March 2005 during the appeals process, RIM and NTP tried to negotiate a settlement of their dispute; the settlement was to be for $450 million. Negotiations broke down due to other issues. On June 10, 2005, the matter returned to the courts. In early November 2005 the US Department of Justice filed a brief requesting that RIM’s service be allowed to continue because of the large number of BlackBerry users in the US Federal Government.

In January 2006 the US Supreme Court refused to hear RIM’s appeal of the holding of liability for patent infringement, and the matter was returned to a lower court. The prior granted injunction preventing all RIM sales in the US and use of the BlackBerry device might have been enforced by the presiding district court judge had the two parties been unable to reach a settlement.

On February 9, 2006, the US Department of Defense (DOD) filed a brief stating that an injunction shutting down the BlackBerry service while excluding government users was unworkable. The DOD also stated that the BlackBerry was crucial for national security given the large number of government users.

On February 9, 2006, RIM announced that it had developed software workarounds that would not infringe the NTP patents, and would implement those if the injunction was enforced.

On March 3, 2006, after a stern warning from Judge Spencer, RIM and NTP announced that they had settled their dispute. Under the terms of the settlement, RIM has agreed to pay NTP $612.5 million (USD) in a “full and final settlement of all claims.” In a statement, RIM said that “all terms of the agreement have been finalized and the litigation against RIM has been dismissed by a court order this afternoon. The agreement eliminates the need for any further court proceedings or decisions relating to damages or injunctive relief.” The settlement amount is believed low by some analysts, because of the absence of any future royalties on the technology in question.

A first generation BlackBerry Bold

  • BCESA (BlackBerry Certified Enterprise Sales Associate, BCESA40 in full) is a BlackBerry Certification for professional users of RIM (Research In Motion) BlackBerry wireless email devices.

The Certification requires the user to pass several exams relating to the BlackBerry Device, all its functions including Desktop software and providing technical support to Customers of BlackBerry Devices.

The BCESA, BlackBerry Certified Enterprise Sales Associate qualification, is the first of three levels of professional BlackBerry Certification.

  • BCTA (BlackBerry Certified Technical Associate)
  • BlackBerry Certified Support Associate T2

More information on certifications is on the Blackberry.com website.

The BlackBerry Technical Certifications available are:

  • BlackBerry Certified Enterprise Server Consultant (BCESC)
  • BlackBerry Certified Server Support Technician (BCSST)
  • BlackBerry Certified Support Technician (BCST)
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