updated 11:15 am EST, Mon December 27, 2010
RIM thought Apple was lying on iPhone in 2007
RIM had a complete internal panic when Apple unveiled the iPhone in 2007, a former employee revealed this weekend. The BlackBerry maker is now known to have held multiple all-hands meetings on January 10 that year, a day after the iPhone was on stage, and to have made outlandish claims about its features. Apple was effectively accused of lying as it was supposedly impossible that a device could have such a large touchscreen but still get a usable lifespan away from a power outlet.
The iPhone "couldn't do what [Apple was] demonstrating without an insanely power hungry processor, it must have terrible battery life," Shacknews poster Kentor heard from his former colleagues of the time. "Imagine their surprise [at RIM] when they disassembled an iPhone for the first time and found that the phone was battery with a tiny logic board strapped to it."
Friends who were Microsoft employees at the time were also said to have had a similar reaction.
He further added that RIM, as well as Motorola, Nokia, Palm and other early pioneers, lost ground partly because of a self-defeating attitude. RIM in particular assumed from the start that smartphones would be outgrowths of its pagers and that there would never be enough battery life or wireless technology for more functions. It started growing beyond this view before the iPhone shipped, but the OS foundation until recently was based on the early assumption.
The remarks confirm a widely held belief that BlackBerry Storm development started only after the iPhone was made public rather than having been in development at all before. RIM didn't have its first touchscreen phone until the Storm shipped in late 2008, almost two years after the iPhone's unveiling, and didn't have multi-touch support or a fully accurate web browser until the Torch arrived just this past summer. Apple is now gradually overtaking RIM in market share and is being quickly joined by Android, which now makes up the majority of Verizon sales just a year after the BlackBerry was the carrier's top earner.
RIM may be poised for a comeback as it has promised an aggressive 2011 roadmap, but virtually all of what it will do outside of the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet is a mystery.