updated 04:30 pm EST, Thu February 5, 2009
50m BlackBerries Sold
Research in Motion today passed a symbolic barrier today by selling its 50 millionth BlackBerry device. While not tracking down the exact model, the achievement comes just a month after the 10-year anniversary of the first BlackBerries arriving from the Canadian company. The number is helped by the explosion of sales outside of North America and outside of its more familiar business market, with phones like the Curve, Pearl and Storm mostly targeting home use.
The very earliest models were considered pagers and could only handle the BlackBerry's signature "push" e-mail and basic data services, though most models from the 5000 series upwards were some of the first smartphone-class devices.
RIM nonetheless reaches the milestone with competition from rivals which have taken less time to accelerate their own sales. Although it has since regained a more definitive lead, the BlackBerry maker briefly lost to Apple during the summer as the iPhone 3G's international launch and a pre-crisis economy helped increase its numbers. The BlackBerry Storm was built with combating the iPhone in mind but has managed a relatively cool 1 million units in two months for Verizon versus Apple's 1.9 million iPhones for AT&T in three months.
Additionally, while RIM courts about 21 million current BlackBerry e-mail users, most of its known introductions for 2009 are relatively modest updates and are rumored to include HSPA-based versions of the Curve 8900 and Storm as well as CDMA versions of previously GSM-only phones like the Pearl Flip.