by Al Sacco

RIM BlackBerry History: Origin of the Name “BlackBerry”

Nov 11, 20082 mins
Data Center

Ever wondered how Research In Motion (RIM) decided on such a fruity name for its handheld devices? I have, and until very recently, I kind of just assumed that CEO Mike Lazaridis or another RIM bigwig was partial to tiny, seeded berries. As it turns out, the name BlackBerry has much more logical origins.

Today my colleague and fellow blogger Tom Wailgum published a great slide show that explains how some of the most iconic products in today’s technology landscape were named. The piece includes information on the iPod, Twitter, Wikipedia, Firefox, Android, Red Hat Linux and more, but you’ll want to check out the slide show yourself for more background on those names.

image of blackberries on the vine

However, being a BlackBerry blogger and dangerously-addicted RIM smartphone user, the one that really caught my eye was the origin of the name “BlackBerry.”

Back in 2001, RIM apparently hired a consultancy called Lexicon Branding to find a fitting title for its wireless messaging devices. Understandably, RIM had been toying with various names that included and/or played on the word “e-mail.” But after Lexicon convinced the company to consider other options—many folks subconsciously associate “e-mail” with work, and the word can, therefore, lead to raised blood pressure—someone noted that the tiny keys on RIM’s older devices resembled a group of seeds.

The team then considered a variety of seeded fruits and vegetables before ultimately deciding on “BlackBerry,” since RIM’s devices were largely colored black at the time.

There you have it; the origin of the name BlackBerry. Had I been in Lazaridis’s place, I probably would’ve gone with something like “Uber-Electro-Swiss-Army-Telecommunicator,” though that admittedly doesn’t roll off the tongue in the same way. Guess that’s why I’m just a lowly blogger…

Check out the slideshow to discover where more of your favorite tech products got their names.