Wednesday marks the beginning of a new year, and a lot has happened over the last 12 months in the BlackBerry world. It’s crazy to think at this time last year BlackBerry 10 hadn’t even launched officially. That can pretty much sum up how much has happened these last 365 days.
To celebrate the year it was, we’ve compiled a list of our favorites from 2013, starting with our top stories that made headlines.
BlackBerry 10’s launch event – January 30th
Right off the bat, January gave us what can arguably be considered the year’s top BlackBerry story, the official launch of the new BlackBerry 10 OS, along with the Z10, and Q10 smartphones. N4BB got the great opportunity to cover the event from NYC (the main launch event), and Toronto as well. While almost a full year has gone by, I can still remember how electric the venue was. People were genuinely excited about seeing the new devices, and find out when they’d be able to get their hands on them. A lot has happened since then, but that day was definitely special.
Research In Motion rebrands itself as BlackBerry – January 30th
On the day of the launch of BlackBerry 10, the company decided to announce another huge change, it had rebranded itself as BlackBerry. Thorsten Heins announced the move as a way of uniting everything cohesively. “It is one brand. It is one promise. Our customers use a BlackBerry. Our employees work for BlackBerry, and our shareholders are owners of BlackBerry.”
BBM announced for iPhone and Android at BlackBerry Live 2013 – May 14th
BBM had been the exclusive crown jewel for BlackBerry for many years. Unfortunately, other similar apps that offered their services to more than one platform had begun taking a dominant market share of the messaging world by 2013. BlackBerry decided to try and change this trend by announcing BBM would be making its way to iPhone and Android during the summer of 2013.
BlackBerry puts up the “for sale” sign – August 12th
While no one at BlackBerry will ever officially tell you they put up a for sale sign for the company, that’s pretty much exactly what they did. On August 12th, BlackBerry released a statement announcing they would be looking for strategic alternatives for the company going forward. The media had a field day with this press release, and rumors about who would buy BlackBerry would circle for the next few months.
BBM launches on iPhone, and Android – October 21st
After a terrible initial launch attempt a month earlier, which saw a leaked BBM for Android apk wreak havoc on BlackBerry’s servers, the company relaunched, this time successfully, BBM for iPhone and Android on October 21st.
BlackBerry takes down the for sale sign with $1 billion investment from Fairfax Financial and other investors- November 4th
After tons of speculation over its future, BlackBerry’s board refused to break up the company into pieces and sell it off to the highest bidder. Instead, BlackBerry stayed public, and thanks to a $1 billion investment led by Prem Watsa’s own Fairfax Financial, kept moving forward.
The changes at the top begin: John Chen named Interim CEO of BlackBerry after Thorsten Heins is removed
The $1 billion investment did not come without any changes. The same day the deal was announced, a new CEO, John Chen, was named, and the Thorsten Heins days came to a close at BlackBerry. About two months into his new job, John Chen has cleaned house. Frank Boulben, Kristian Tear, and a few other executives have been shown the door, and new ones have been welcomed. He’s laid out a plan for BlackBerry into 2015, when he hopes the company can be profitable again. His focus will be enterprise, first and foremost, but has promised not to let the consumer market completely disappear from BlackBerry’s vision of the future.
Looking forward to 2014
While 2014 may not be as exciting as 2013 in terms of device releases, and news, it will be a hugely important year for BlackBerry. If the turnaround John Chen hopes for happens, it will begin to take shape next year. 2014 is poised to be a very interesting year.