Just in case I don't say it enough, I?m a BlackBerry addict. And as such, it gives me great pleasure to see that Research in Motion has shipped its 50 millionth BlackBerry device. More importantly, I owned 21 of those 50 million BlackBerry's (yes, 21 - ask my bank account if you don't believe me)! The growth, primarily attributed to high levels of sales success in emerging markets with consumer oriented models such as the Curve, Pearl, and Storm, shows a departure from the original RIM idea of ?business first.?
Ironically, the number comes one month after the ten year anniversary of the initial BlackBerry device. Initially functioning solely as a push-email and internet device, RIM moved toward the smartphone concept in 2002, and took advantage of the PDA boom. Though they lost ground to the iPhone during the summer of 2008, they have since regained a competitive lead in devices shipped. And more importantly, they seem to stay competitive - recently, it was announced that one million Storm devices were sold on Verizon's network, compared to 1.9 million iPhone's in a three month time period. Not bad.
Presently, RIM states that they have 21 million current BlackBerry users, and there's no doubt that the consumer market was what revived RIM's business and promoted expansion in other parts of the world. In my opinion, bringing out a device with a camera and multimedia features not only allows soccer Mom's to enjoy the device, but also allows business users the ability to merge their cellular devices and move away from their business-only (read: boring) phone. It really is an all-in-one solution.