The BlackBerry 850 is 20 years old today!


Although Research In Motion was founded in 1984, the first device to carry the BlackBerry name, the BlackBerry 850, wasn't released until January 19, 1999 meaning today marks its 20th birthday. To celebrate the occasion, The Record wrote up a fantastic article covering a lot of the history of BlackBerry with a focus on their ups and downs, history, and plenty of comments from those who were around at the time including former RIM employee and current Mayor of Waterloo, Dave Jaworsky.

Truth be told, I was too young at the time to make any real use of a BlackBerry 850, but would you believe me if I told you I had my hands on one? I had a family member who worked for what was known as at the time Rogers / Cantel and had several devices just laying around. Being younger, I snagged one and took it to show off and be the cool kid. It didn't really work, and I'm still not the cool kid but years later I still hold those memories as my first of BlackBerry.

Rather than cover what The Record already has done, and given I never really used a BlackBerry 850, I figured I would share something a little different as a nod to the 20th birthday. I've included the press release from January 19, 1999, below for you all to take a look through.

As we all know, BlackBerry has gone through plenty of changes since those early days and devices, but they're still here, still making an impact and their core values remain unchanged. Even back in 1999, then Co-CEO Jim Balsillie was touting productivity, privacy and security. So on this day, I'd just like to say cheers to BlackBerry and like Dave, invite you all to share your BlackBerry history and stories!

Research In Motion Delivers Wearable Wireless Device Based on Embedded Intel Architecture

Handheld Device Is Optimized For Mobile Email Access

Waterloo, Ontario - In a separate announcement today, Research In Motion Limited (TSE:RIM) announced the introduction and availability of BlackBerry™, a breakthrough wireless email solution for mobile professionals. As part of the BlackBerry offering, RIM introduced its newest wireless handheld device based on an embedded Intel® architecture. The BlackBerry Handheld is optimized for mobile email use and incorporates a 32-bit Intel386™ processor, 2 MB Intel Flash memory, integrated wireless modem, full keyboard, triple-DES encryption technology and email / organizer software. It is designed to be wearable, operate 24 hours per day and run on a single AA alkaline battery.

"The RIM device is an example of the ease of use, portability, security and battery life benefits that are enabled by products from the Embedded Microcomputer Division," said Tom Franz, General Manager, and Vice President, of Intel's EMD division. Terry Gillett, Manager of Major Customer Programs in EMD indicated that RIM and Intel have worked together to define and develop the computing subsystem for the BlackBerry platform.

"The frequent and discontinuous nature of email usage is driving the need for a wearable, power-efficient device that can be constantly connected to the wireless network, while remaining unobtrusive to the user from both a physical and workflow perspective. Further, the confidential nature of enterprise email demands sophisticated encryption techniques that require significant processing power in the device," said Jim Balsillie, Chairman and Co-CEO of Research In Motion. "Intel's embedded microprocessor and flash memory technology provided a powerful and reliable foundation to meet these challenging design objectives."

The BlackBerry Handheld from Research In Motion is a breakthrough in integration of computing and wireless technologies. Its design includes over 15 million transistors integrated in a small, durable form factor. It delivers a powerful processor, 2 watt transceiver, integrated internal antenna, full keyboard, LCD display and ample memory to support multiple applications and data storage, all within a small device that fits in the palm of your hand (2.5" x 3.5" x 0.93"). In addition to the handheld, the BlackBerry solution provides customers with a PC docking cradle, desktop software and a flat-rate airtime package. For more information on BlackBerry, visit www.blackberry.net or call toll-free 1-877-255-2377.

About Research In Motion

Research In Motion is a world leader in designing, manufacturing and marketing wireless consumer and business-to-business electronic access technology for the mobile communications market. The company's current product portfolio includes revolutionary mobile email solutions, two-way pagers, wireless personal computer card adapters and embedded radio-modems. Based in Waterloo, Ontario and listed on The Toronto Stock Exchange, Research In Motion is a knowledge-based company with proven, leading technologies. Its customers include a diverse range of major multinational companies including wireless network suppliers, original equipment manufacturers and value-added resellers. Web site: www.rim.net

Thanks for the photo, Carjackd! RIP my friend.