A fruit name for a high-tech company? It is Apple’s choice, along with the apple. But it is also the decision of BlackBerry, whose inspiration comes from the blackberry.
Who could have imagined, at the turn of the 2010s, that BlackBlerry would witness the collapse of its market share in smartphones? Yet this is what happened for the Canadian group, which could not resist the tidal wave of touch screens (which made the physical keyboards disappear) and Android, which won. from all manufacturers, except Apple.
Like the Cupertino company, moreover, it is in the fruits that the brand has drawn its identity. In English, blackberry means blackberry, and this owes nothing to chance. Indeed, the choice of this name comes from observations of a consulting firm, which noted that the outward appearance of smartphones vaguely resembled the flesh of certain fruits. This is what the Quartz site said in 2013.
A product reminiscent of the surface of a fruit
” At the time, they [BlackBerry, NDLR] were faced with pagers, and everyone had a pager », Explained David Placek, the boss of the consulting firm Lexicon which had been recruited by RIM to find an identity with its product. ” You must have a truly distinctive name. The person was answering Alastair Sweeny’s questions for a book devoted to the BlackBerry ecosystem.
We are then in 1998 and Research In Motion (RIM) is not yet called BlackBerry. The time is not for smartphones. It is a question of launching a device capable of reading e-mails – the net then pierced with the general public. Names are circulating, like RIM 950 or RIM 960, but also some more explicit suggestions, like PocketLink or MegaMail.
Ironically, the presence of a keyboard on the device, which was not a telephone, was considered revolutionary at the time, even though it was he who participated in the downfall of RIM, in causing him to miss the turn of the touch screens. It was he who inspired the Lexicon teams: the arrangement of the keys on the surface of the device and their shape evoked the round shapes running across the surface of strawberries and blackberries.
In a 2011 New Yorker article on the origin of the most famous product and company names, it is explained that blackberry (blackberry) which has been favored with strawberries (strawberry), because the pronunciation was considered to be more dynamic: ” someone wrote ‘strawberry’. Then someone wrote next to it, ‘strawberry is too slow’. Placek uttered the word – ‘Str-aaaww-berry’ – drawing it. ‘This technology is instantaneous,’ he remarked “.
The final choice, however, still required weeks of reflection. ” The process of selecting a name from hundreds of applicants can be arduous, and often comes down to a combination of instinct, abstract reasoning, and client requests. », The magazine said in its article.
BlackBerry found itself in a narrow list of around 40 names, which was gradually reduced. David Placek and RIM “ ended up convincing themselves of the name BlackBerry. They decided that its strengths were not limited to associations with fruits that lower blood pressure. The word ‘black’ evoked the color of high-tech devices », In addition to its appearance close to blackberry.
Just before the launch of the BlackBerry, in 1999, some final touches were made. The second letter of the name is capitalized to accentuate it and play on linguistic considerations. ” Lexicon funded a language study whose results suggested that the sound of the letter b was one of the most ‘reliable’ of all languages », Reported the New Yorker.
Success has been there for more than ten years. The name then spread throughout the company, inspiring that of BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) instant messaging. In fact, this identity grew to such an extent that it ended up taking over RIM. In 2013, the Canadian company chose to rebrand itself as BlackBerry. But by then it was already too late to face with bitten apple.