10 fun facts about RIM and the BlackBerry

A few things I learned from reading "BlackBerry Planet"

Need a break from the Apple iPad? Here are 10 fun facts about RIM and its BlackBerry smartphones

Alastair Sweeney's book BlackBerry Planet, released last year, tells you more than you ever needed to know about Research in Motion and its famous smartphones, but as a relatively new BlackBerry user I figured getting a good backgrounder would be useful.

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Here's a quick rundown of some facts that either were news to me or that I'd forgotten along the way in between RIM's assorted legal battles and new product launches

1. The U.S. government uses more than 500,000 BlackBerries.

2. RIM co-CEO and co-founder Mike Lazaridis, taking a page from Bill Gates' book, dropped out of college before starting the company.

3. Lazaridis was born with the first name Mihalis in Istanbul, Turkey.

4. Lazaridis accepted an Oscar for technical achievement from actress Anne Heche for RIM's Digisync Film Barcode Reader.

5. The White House installed its first e-mail services under President George H.W. Bush; Florida Governor Jeb Bush in 2006 unveiled his official portrait, featuring a BlackBerry in the background.

6. RIM's first job was a $600K deal with General Motors for networked terminals designed to show displays to assembly line workers.

7. The first true BlackBerry, the 950, was code-named LeapFrog.

8. Lazaridis said during the early 2000s that there were 16 million lines of code in the BlackBerry.

9. In November 2005, Oprah Winfrey gave away BlackBerry 7105t devices to attendees of her pre-Christmas giveaway show.

10. The BlackBerry Storm had been known during development as "Thunder".

Follow Bob Brown on Twitter at www.twitter.com/alphadoggs


Copyright © 2010 IDG Communications, Inc.

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