Years ago, the BlackBerry seemed untouchable in the phone market.
Then came Apple's very touchable iPhone which revolutionized the smartphone industry with its apps and touch screen. However, while Apple has harvested its way to the top of the smartphone world, it seems the BlackBerry was left behind.
Research In Motion, which is based in Canada, has been laying off thousands of workers to offset mounting losses after being outmaneuvered by Apple Inc. and other phone makers relying on Google Inc.'s Android software.
Despite RIM's missteps, the BlackBerry still commands 80 million subscribers. The company has announced plans to release its new operating system, BlackBerry 10, but has not revealed when it will be released. It is unlikely to be available until 2013. However, some users plan on sticking with the company.
Andrew Harner just purchased his first smartphone, but doesn't think he will switch over to the iPhone. "I actually plan on keeping my BlackBerry because I think a lot of the things that other phones are capable of is extremely unnecessary," said Harner, who grew up in York and now lives in Scranton.
"The BlackBerry is small, discrete and doesn't look like a graphing calculator in my pocket. It was easily affordable and I hate touch screens," he said.
One of the BlackBerry's biggest shortcomings has been its relatively small inventory of apps. RIM says BlackBerry has about 105,000 apps. Apple's iTunes store has more than 700,00 apps while Google's Play store has more than 600,000.
Despite its downfalls, BlackBerry still commands about 80 millions subscribers, a relevant portion of the market for customers not looking for iPhones or Androids.
With the holidays approaching, the once powerful company is looking to return to former glory.
"We recognize the need for change," said RIM CEO Thorsten Heins, who was promoted eight months ago as RIM's troubles deepened. "There is a new energy and a lot of fighting spirit at RIM."
Distributed by MCT Information Services
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