RIM 857 and RIM 957 Wireless Handsets

Dublin Core


RIM 857 and RIM 957 Wireless Handsets


hardware: pager


Historical Context

By 2000, Research in Motion (RIM, Waterloo, Ontario) became a world leader in the mobile communications market. RIM Wireless Handhelds--the Inter@ctive 800, 900, 850, and 950--were widely deployed and distributed through leading solution providers including Aether Systems, BellSouth Wireless Data, Compaq Computer, Dell Computer, GoAmerica, Motient, PageNet, Rogers AT&T;Wireless, SkyTel as well as various leading Internet Service Providers. To strengthen its position in the mobile communications market, RIM introduced its third generation of data-only wireless handhelds--the RIM 857 and RIM 957--in 2000.

The RIM 957 (code name RIM Proton) was announced on April 11, 2000 as "a new advanced, palm-sized wireless handheld with integrated support for wireless email, Internet, paging and organizer features. The highly-anticipated RIM 957 Wireless Handheld is optimized for mobile users and incorporates a large high-quality screen, 32-bit Intel 386 processor, 5MB flash memory, easy-to use keyboard, embedded wireless modem, integrated organizer and full support for the award-winning BlackBerry wireless email solution." (RIM press release, April 11, 2000).

The RIM 857 was announced in October 2000. It was a variant of the 957 and offered on Motient Corporation's wireless network in the United States and on Bell Mobility's ARDIS wireless network in Canada.

Both devices were housed in a palm-sized enclosure that made the devices' operation much more convenient than the previous RIM handhelds. Although the devices offered much more refined mobile tools to deal with users' mobile communication needs, the world of wireless communication was already transitioning into a new integration level combining data and voice in a single hand-held device -- the smartphone. Just a few months after the introduction of the RIM 857 and 957, RIM announced its first smartphone -- the Blackberry 5820.

RIM 857 and 957 Technical Specifications:
  • processor: Intel 386EX, 32 bit
  • memory: 512KB SRAM and 5MB flash memory
  • display: full-graphic LCD (grey/monochrome, backlit), 160x160 pixel viewing area, 16 or 20 line display (user-selectable)
  • keyboard and controls: 34-key QWERTY-style (backlit), mouse-type scroll wheel ports: RS-232C-compliant serial port
  • modem: embedded RIM modem
  • networks: 800MHz DataTAC (RIM 857); 900MHz Mobitex (RIM 957)
  • battery: internal lithium-ion rechargeable
External Design:
  • housing: palm-held, ruggedized, plastic
  • size: 11.7cm(L) x 7.85cm(W) x 1.8cm(H)
  • weight: 136g

Main Features:
  • works with BlackBerry Enterprise Server
  • emails/messages: receiving, sending, forwarding, and replying to emails and messages
  • folder management: composing, saving, searching for, and deleting emails and messages
  • icon and menu driven interface
  • calendar
  • address book
  • task list
  • memo pad
  • calculator
  • alarm notifications: tone, vibrate, on-screen, or LED indicator configurable options
  • password protected device lock

  • BlackBerry OS, v. 2.0 Blackberry Desktop Software v. 2.0 Software Developer's Kit (SDK)
  • third-party custom applications developed using SDK
The museum has a RIM 957 Wireless Handheld and the Installation and User's Guide.


Research in Motion


donated by Z. Stachniak




North America, 2000-

Contribution Form

Online Submission





Research in Motion, “RIM 857 and RIM 957 Wireless Handsets,” York University Computer Museum Canada, accessed May 21, 2022, https://museum.eecs.yorku.ca/items/show/9.

Output Formats