A new film explores the historic rise and fall of the world’s first smartphone—the Blackberry.
- Blackberry is a new film releasing on May 12, based on the book Losing the Signal: The Untold Story Behind the Extraordinary Rise And Spectacular Fall Of BlackBerry, that received critical acclaim at the 73rd Berlin International Film Festival in February.
- The film explores the history of the BlackBerry phone—the first smartphone—which was first launched in 1999 and discontinued early last year.
- A 2017 Gartner study shows that BlackBerry’s market share decreased to 0.2% by the previous year from well above 30% in many global markets.
- One film critic argues in a recent blog post that the device’s collapse was partly due to the Canadian company moving its manufacturing base to China.
Why It’s Important
The BlackBerry revolutionized the world of communication—even before the iPhone, creating a handheld device that acted as a phone, email, and more. They became an instant status symbol as well as a valuable and efficient business tool. But it did not last.
The tech world is prone to constant innovation and change, and companies frequently need to avoid falling into complacency or betting on the wrong conceptual horses. Meta Platforms has recently been forced to shift its multibillion-dollar investment into virtual reality to play catchup on the artificial-intelligence revolution, which has surpassed that technology as the next big thing. The proliferation of the iPhone and Android rapidly replaced BlackBerry.
There are other reasons behind BlackBerry’s precipitous decline as well. Epoch Times film critic Joe Bendel argues that outsourcing production to China in 2016 played a major role in the company’s decline, alongside its complacent approach to innovation, aging operating system, and aggressive competition. The filmmakers seem to agree with this assessment.
“[The filmmakers] identify several contributors to the company’s decline. Obviously, the iPhone was one of them. The case history they assemble probably places the most blame on internal corporate dysfunction, but it is worth noting [phone designer Mike] Lazaridis’s reluctant decision to shift manufacturing to China was an unmitigated disaster,” he says.