RIM Thought Apple Exaggerated the iPhone, Still Trying to Play Catch-up

BlackBerry maker Research In Motion was completely caught off guard by Apple’s iPhone in 2007 according to a story run by Electronista. The website cites an unnamed, alleged former RIM employee by the handle ‘Kentor’ who supposedly worked at the company during the launch of the first iPhone and posted their view of how things played out at RIM on Shacknews. Keep reading for the juicy details but keep in mind that this is pretty much unverifiable.

According to Kentor, fellow RIM employees could not believe that the iPhone was capable of running off of battery power for very long because the processor inside must have been “insanely power hungry” to do what Apple showed off. In fact, after multiple meetings on January 10th—the day after the iPhone was shown off on stage—RIM concluded that Apple was greatly exaggerating the abilities of its new smartphone. Oh how wrong RIM was.

Kentor went on to say that RIM was shocked that the iPhone was simply a battery with a “tiny logic board strapped to it” when they finally got their hands on one to take apart. Similar reactions came from the rest of the competitors in the smartphone game and Kentor claims that it was because they simply could not believe that Apple had so thoroughly managed to out-technology them that Apple managed to get such a competitive jump. Long story short, everyone was still rubbing two sticks together to create fire and Apple invented the Zippo.

How much did Apple shock and surprise the rest of the smartphone world? Kentor said that RIM never thought smartphones would ever be much more than extensions of pagers because of technological limitations. (This also explains why BlackBerry OS has always looked dated.)

Regardless of how accurate Kentor’s story is, no one can deny the fact that RIM has been taking a strong beating pretty much everywhere. Sales, blogs, reviewers, carriers, the stock market…everyone likes to dump on the company now but who can blame them? Even the new BlackBerry Torch 9800 has a processor from 2008. It took the company 3 years from the launch of the first iPhone to finally build a phone with a decent touchscreen but still put inside the same internals from much older Bold models.

All hope is not lost for BlackBerry however. The company has been aggressively buying new business units to help it emerge as a power player in the new decade. The coming BlackBerry PlayBook tablet should be a strong competitor against Apple’s iPad and the slew of Android powered tablets being released. As long as RIM can convert that technology into its smartphones, it should have a good chance.

Kentor just playing to the crowd or do you think he really worked at RIM? Certainly every smartphone maker in 2007 must have wet themselves when Apple showed the world that it was taking its MP3 player dominance and knowhow to the smartphone market. After all, this is the company that practically invented the PDA with the ill-fated Newton.

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