It seems like it happened in another century, but it was just three years ago when BlackBerry 10 launched with high hopes coming from Waterloo. You might recall that the genesis of BlackBerry 10 started with RIM's purchase of software company QNX. RIM became enamored of the company's OS after using it for the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet. Suddenly, there were rumors that the company would produce QNX powered Superphones. By October 2011, the BB X (BB10) name for the QNX OS was first bandied about.
On January 30th, 2013, the first BlackBerry 10 phone was unveiled. The BlackBerry Z10 was an "all-touch" model that was supposed to be the manufacturer's answer to the iPhone and surging Android handsets. The gesture based BB10 was the star of the show. But with only 70,000 apps available at launch, the Z10 would end up being a tough sell even though then CEO Thorsten Heins continued to announce positive sales news almost every day. But the truth was that the phone was not selling well and eventually the company had to take a huge write down to cover units collecting dust in the BlackBerry warehouse.
Despite the release of some well-received models like the BlackBerry Z30 and the Passport, the writing was on the wall when the new OS could not help BlackBerry pick up any traction in the global smartphone market. And while the platform will stick around for a few years to support those government agencies and companies that still use it, the focus is now on Android.
Three years ago today, BlackBerry executives thought that they had actually taken the first step toward a launch that would make BlackBerry's OS a worthy competitor to iOS and Android. Instead, it was the beginning of a three year countdown that resulted in the company turning to Google's open source OS as the only hope it has to become relevant again in the smartphone industry.
BlackBerry's first ad for BB10 and the BlackBerry Z10 was televised on February 3rd, 2013 during Super Bowl 47. You can get nostalgic by clicking on the video below.