Manufactured and marketed by Research In Motion, the BlackBerry is a “smartphone,” a mobile communications device providing the user with a combination of services including e-mail and telephone service as well as texting and Web browsing. BlackBerrys use wireless e-mail networks to send and receive e-mail (see reference 1).
Newer BlackBerry models have color screens, tiny keyboards, and a trackball or track pad for navigation. The 2009 models have touch screens. BlackBerrys also contain personal digital assistants (PDA) applications for keeping a calendar, an address book, calculator, notes, alarm clock, and task lists (see reference 1).
The first BlackBerry launched in 1999. The latest BlackBerry device is the BlackBerry® Bold™ 9700 released in Nov. 2009 for the U.S. market (see Reference 2).
BlackBerry's costs range from $100 to $700 depending on the model you purchase and the types of features you want (see reference 3). You will need to plan on purchasing a wireless carrier service in order to access the features of the device. Many companies offer rebates to help defray some of the costs.
According to the IDC Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker from February 2009, BlackBerrys are the number one smartphone device purchased in the United States with a 47.5 percent share of the market (see Reference 4). BlackBerry sales were helped by President Barak Obama’s commitment to keep a BlackbBerry once elected (See Reference 5).
The term "Crackberry" is used for BlackBerry users who feel “addicted” to their "smartphones" (see reference 6). MIT Sloan School of Management researchers investigated the addictive quality of BlackBerrys in their paper “Ubiquitous Email: Individual Experiences and Organizational Consequences of BlackBerry Use,” leading to discussions about the addictive nature of smartphone use (see reference 7).
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