BlackBerry: The World’s First Taste of Smartphone Addiction

By Iris Farmer

Odds are, most people reading this article right now are doing so on their smarphone. The world of the mobile phone and the addiction that comes with is nothing new to us, but in the grand scheme of things, is extremely new to our history. The first BlackBerry smarthphone – which used never seen before tehcnology, combining the cell phone with email – the BlackBerry 5810, hit the market in 2002, and with it, the work/life balance was ruined. Read more in BlackBerry: The World’s First Taste of Smartphone Addiction

BlackBerry is also the name of the new biographical comedy film which tells the story of the successes, happy accidents, and failures of the two founders of BlackBerry, the nerdy Mike Lazaridis and Doug Freign along with their sharp, and intimidating co-CEO Jim Balsillie.

Pictured here are Mike Lazaridis played by Jay Baruchel (silver hair, glasses) and Doug Freign played by Matthew Johnson who also directed the film (white tank top).

Before the BlackBerry phone was on the market, mobile phones did exist although they were limited to just texting and calling. Those who worked on the go had no way of catching up on their work out of the office. This is where the BlackBerry changed the mobile phone industry. They released the BlackBerry 5810 in 2002, a cell phone that doubled as an “email machine”.

“Theres a playfullness to it – it’s the most toy-like productive thing in the world today” – David Placek

Marketed as “always on, always connected”, the BlackBerry lived up to those stardards almost too much. suddenly employees foudn themselves responding to emails late after work, on weekends, on holiday, and even while sick. This may seem at least somewhat normal to us now espiacally with the increase in working form home in the last few years, but at the time this was a sudden change.

BlackBerry 5810

With the release of the BlackBerry 5810, the modern workaholic was born and our reality hasnt quite looked the same since. Even though BlackBerry had been overpowered by other smartphone competitors in the late 2010s’ and disabled their OS in 2022, they created the blueprint for how to sell phones – make them addicting.

They were so addicting that “CrackBerry” quickly caught on as their nickname. In 2009, Marsha Egan went on a talkshow and discussed quitting BlackBerry addiction with her 12 step program “Inbox Detox”, a book that is still availible to this day.

Absolutly demolishting the blalnce the new generation has between reality and technology, BlackBerry gave us great technological advances but perhaps at the cost of ones life outside of the digital.

Mike Lazaris and Jim Balsillie played by Glenn Howerton.

The film BlackBerry which was released in theatres October 6th 2023, has a different approach to others in its genre. Big capitalist successful men type movies such as The Wolf of Wall Street or The Social Network have deeply dramatic and suspensful tone while BlackBerry, while still having these high pressure stressful scenes will leave you chuckling and eager to watch the adventure of this infamous company unfold.

Get tickets to BlackBerry here.

If you enjoyed reading BlackBerry: The Worlds First Taste of Smartphone Addiction, why not read Interweaving Threads of Art and Fashion: The Snap Cardigan

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