RIM Thought The 2007 iPhone Was Impossible.


In 2007, RIM, makers of the Blackberry, reportedly had an internal panic when Apple released the first iPhone. The story comes from a former RIM employee.

Apparently RIM held multiple meetings after the iPhone was launched and accused Apple of lying about the capabilities of the new device. The claims focused on how it was impossible that a device with such a larger touch display could have any usable battery life.

Over the weekend, a Shacknews poster revealed that former RIM colleagues had internal discussions that the iPhone “couldn’t do what [Apple was] demonstrating without an insanely power hungry processor, it must have terrible battery life,”. Former Microsoft employees also indicate that Microsoft had similar reactions at the time.

It’s believed that RIM, Motorola, Nokia, Palm and other device makers lost ground in innovation due to their self-defeating attitudes. A notable example of this is the Blackberry Storm, which started development after the iPhone, rather than before. The Storm was also RIM’s first touchscreen device but did not ship until almost two years after the original iPhone.

The Storm also did not ship with multi-touch support or a fully accurate web browser until the Blackberry Torch was released this past summer. While RIM has promised a comeback in 2011, all we’ve heard thus far is news about the BlackBerry PlayBook, but anything beyond that is anyone’s guess.



  • Steve Lam

    well its true…smartphones of today DO have terrible battery life. most (including my iphone 4) need to be charged daily.

  • YMBz

    Battery life suck !!?!
    Wish there will be a new battery technology for all the smart phones in the near future

  • Corvillus

    True, but having owned a first gen iPhone before, the battery life was pretty solid, you could get 2-3 days with light to moderate usage (granted this was pretty well enforced by crappy data plans in Canada at the time so you were pretty much only using it for email, iPod and phone, as browsing would easily put you over). The 3G and the 3GS were terrible for battery however, and the 4 somewhere in between.

    At the end of the day though, battery life proved to be less important than functionality, as presumably everybody has some chunk of their day where the phone can stay plugged in for at least 3 hours, either when they sleep or when they’re at their desk. So one day is really all they need, and the added functionality ranks higher with most people than the convenience of not having to charge their phone often.

  • Frankie

    The terrible battery life today has to do with the variety of applications, high quality graphics, and the size and demand of applications. In 2007, as Corvillus put it, we would use a typical smart phone as a phone, calendar and very limited media playback and email and browsing access. Today smartphones work more like notebooks and netbooks. We phone, use the calendar, play games, do our business invoicing and accounting, run our database, read books, remote access computers, watch TV and movies, listen to music, browse internet, email etc.
    That’s why the demand for higher and higher capacity batteries have grown in the past few years.

  • Anonymous

    Technology changes so quickly. Look at how far we have come in the last decade alone.

    Remember those small digital cameras with tiny color screens, required half a dozen AA batteries, but only lasted a few hours? Yea…

    We were so use to flip phones with pull out antennas providing us a week of battery life. Now we just have to get use to power hungry devices that do a ton more but last only a day or two.

    Battery technology just needs to catch up.

  • I don’t get that…why would people expect or even need a phone to last more than a day. You need to sleep at some point…plug in your device then, you will both be recharged in the morning. Seems to make sense to me. I am thrilled with my iPhone 4 battery life…my 3GS didn’t even make it until 6 PM and the iPhone 4 is still over 20% when I plug it in at night.

  • Ex

    No offence Theused, but you’re missing two key things:

    1.) AppleInsider posted it after Electronista. Look at the time stamps.

    2.) AppleInsider gives credit to MacNN, which is also Electronista.

    So while AppleInsider did post it, that’s completely irrelevant.


  • ReyT

    Doesn’t matter to me. I visit iPhoneinCanada often, and it’s here where I first read the story.

  • ReyT

    Ah, the terrible battery life! It should improve sooner, or we’ll be carrying battery backpacks next year when travelling.

  • Jeremy

    Since updating my iPhone4 to 4.2 I’ve had better battery life than before. I would last for 2 days before and I seem to be able to get about another 1/2 to nearly a full day out of a full charge.

  • Steve Lam

    That’s because you’re just used to having to charge it daily now. Blackberries can go on for days and even up to a week with moderate/heavy usage without charging. Obviously because they’re less capable phones but sacrificing battery life for features was never a steve jobs thing to do.

    Anyway in other words you just proved RIM right. Your 3GS couldn’t even last a day without charging.

  • First rule in competition: ALWAYS assume the competition is one step ahead of you and/or smarter than you. This always forces you forward. The second you rest on your laurels or your market share, you might as well wave the white flag, because it’s not a matter of IF you’ll be eclipsed, but WHEN!

  • Megavidiot

    We shouldn’t have to get used to power hungry phones. Manufacturers need to develop ways to use less power on these things.

  • bjc

    I’ve had two blackberries and they’ve both needed to be charged daily. Mike B is right. Of course they could put bigger batteries in them, but then we’d complain about size/weight. It’s a compromise.

    As for the actual topic here, thank you Apple for kicking the cel phn industry in the butt!

  • Steve Lam

    oh i agree its definitely a compromise. don’t get me wrong i still think the iphone 4 is the best smartphone available today and apple is doing an amazing job leading the pack while others are basically copying everything from form factor to OS style to even the app store in general.

  • Dan_c

    Hmm probably, “the best smartphone today,” but not of tomorrow. I urge you to goto the nearest cell phone store and try windows mobile 7. Now that is a phone! Response times are instant!

  • PhoneHound

    The secret to battery life is to buy an iPhone dock, and to plug your phone into it (a 2 second habit) each night while you sleep. You start the day with 100% charge, and I have NEVER had to even think about battery life since I took this approach. I usually end the day at over 60% charge remaining, even if using it for hours. Apple should include a dock and give this advice with the iPhone.

    As a technologist, I’m actually super impressed with battery life on the iPhone and iPad, in spite of their bright screens and relatively fast processors and communications. Battery life was a huge issue a few years ago, but its now largely a solved problem.

  • godkorg

    The better battery life of your first gen iPhone is due to the lack of 3g. Your comment pretty much speaks for itself ๐Ÿ™‚ in proving this!

    If I turn off 3g on my iPad it goes from lasting me a few days on one charge, to TWO WEEKS… its ridiculous… and for my iPhone, turning off 3g gives me a LOT more time as well… ๐Ÿ™‚

  • TiggerToronto

    Mine too. I thought one of the improvements of the iPhone 4 was longer battery life. I find I’m re-charging it almost every day!

  • Pingback: RIM Co-CEOs Named Business Newsmakers of 2011 by The Canadian Press | iPhone in Canada Blog - Canada's #1 iPhone Resource()