Why the BlackBerry Is All Thumbs

A once cool corporate tool needs a reinvention

Topos Graphics for TIME


It feels like ancient history now, but the BlackBerry was once the hippest gadget going. Made by Research in Motion (RIM), the smart phone--which debuted as a pager-like gizmo in 1999 and added voice capability in 2002--built its reputation on a remarkably usable pint-size QWERTY keyboard and software that could securely push messages from corporate servers onto the device. That made e-mail mobile and so addictive that the CrackBerry became a status symbol among executives and consumers.

RIM's longtime co-CEOs, Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie, were rock stars back then. The Waterloo, Ont., company's glory days are long gone, however, and...

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