Of course, BlackBerry has grown in size and achieved features such as the ability to make phone calls and finally, take pictures. And then, almost overnight, they became a hot consumer product and RIM became an industry giant. However, the company will have to grapple with a much more volatile consumer market. Lower-priced consumer handsets, very unlike the ones that have made their name, are often buggy and unreliable.
When RIM had trouble figuring out what consumers wanted, it tried a something-for-all approach. In 2011, the company can’t tell me how many different models there are it put out an article in which I described its product line this way: “There are flip BlackBerrys, slide BlackBerrys, touchscreen BlackBerrys, screen BlackBerrys and touch keyboards, BlackBerrys with full keyboards, BlackBerrys with compact keyboards, high-end BlackBerry and low-cost models. ” In RIM’s efforts to serve everyone, it gradually attracted almost no one.
By 2011, of course, the iPhone was established. RIM executives initially rejected Apple’s offer. Of course, it lacks a physical keyboard. Shortly after the iPhone was released, a senior RIM executive gave at the end of the interview what he considered a fatal iPhone flaw. Unlike the BlackBerry, he notes, the iPhone cannot reduce wireless data costs by compressing web pages. He claims that they are “bandwidth inefficient.”
Assuming that they know anything about bandwidth efficiency, consumers don’t really care. Smartphones have become all about software, not keyboards – a fact that BlackBerry executives have been slow to accept. “They weren’t fools, but they behaved like fools,” said Jean-Louis Gassée, a former Apple executive, told me in 2011.