So in the past few months I decided to start adding devices to my BlackBerry collection. My collection as it stood was old BlackBerry devices that I had used throughout the years since my first 7100r that got me hooked on BlackBerry. Living in Kitchener/Waterloo area I figured this should be easy! I started to seek out some old devices to be my center pieces to my collection so I started my hunt for a Inter@ctive Pager 900 or 800 which are the first Two way pager by RIM (keeping in mind I just bought a house and I am a single dad so my budget is not very much) After giving up on that quest and adding some alerts on Kijiji and eBay I decided to go a little younger in my search. My first big score came 2 days after starting to look, someone on eBay was selling an AOL Mobile Communicator brand new still in the box!! This was a collectors dream device and condition (never used). I paid for the device quickly, then waited the long week and a half for it to be mail to me. It finally arrived today!!!! The package was regrettably opened by customs.. thank guys!! Not a huge deal and to be honest I would have probably opened it to play with it.
I was excited as I opened the box to see the device in a little pink bag. I thought right then, this is a piece of RIM history and smart phone history! I took out the device and removed it from the clear plastic belt holder I remember so well with other device. The Device was perfectly married to it, this was the RIM I remember making product that were just beautiful. After touching the keys for the first time again it brought back memories of managing these devices when I first started my IT career. “They just don’t make devices like this any more” I thought to myself. I put the device down to explore the contents of the box. I had two chuckles, 1 I looked at the battery and it expired in 2004 so this must have been the original battery it came with reinforcing it was a sealed box. and two was the 700 free hours of AOL. If you live in the time of AOL and dial up these AOL CDs were everywhere. you would get one in the mail once a week and in the back of every magazine and in Canadian Tire. So to see one fo these again really made me laugh.
At this point the rest of the stuff bored me and it was time to fire this baby up. I grabbed a fresh battery (not trusting the 2004 expired battery) and my heart sank when the device did nothing, was there a power button? Is ti broken, maybe it was DOA but the surprise stayed hidden till it turned it on for the first time! I was a little disappointed but to the same extent still happy to have the device.
I figured I did a semester of electrotech in collage I can give it a quick once over and make sure all the connection are snug, solders are solid. I removed the two torx screws from the back and opened a time capsule from almost 16 years ago. The build quality of the parts inside was amazingly modular and had easily serviceable parts (other then the main board which was a single unit with no user serviceable). The case just popped off so easy which reminded me of a story I was told by a friend of how people at RIM used to have what they called elite devices. The AOLMC is basically an Inter@ctive Pager 950 with custom case and a custom OS that AOL made (this would be the reason why the AOLMC never got far either, the OS was very buggy and over priced) Because the devices were identical the cases could be swapped with little effort. These devices were assembled in house in Waterloo so the people that worked there I think had some ins and got the guys on the assembly line to switch up their cases. There were Inter@ctive Pagers with transparent red, blue, white cases that you could never get retail so when you saw then you knew these guys were RIM employees!
Anyways back to the AOLMC, Again the modular design just impressed me. Once the back and antenna was off I noticed that there was an internal battery inside of the device. I thought this battery must be dead after sitting for so many years, this is most likely why the device wont turn on. I could have stopped here but thought lets go all the way. Below are some pictures I took while disassembling the device that I thought the BlackBerry community would like to see!
Please note all these pictures were taken with my BlackBerry Priv at full resolution so if you click an image please be patient while it loads. it’s about a 4-5 MB a photo so you could see the high resolution pictures of this beauty:
PS there is a surprise ending!!! read all the way to the bottom!!
So after realizing the device might never turn on and will only be a display device and not a functioning one I put the battery in it and put it back in the box. I was in the middle of a conversation about 30 minutes later and I heard a chirp from the box. I opened it to find the display on. I guess the internal battery must have needed a bit of a charge first before it would turn on. It is 100% fully functioning (other then the network) What a piece of history!!
© Caspan 2016