In an era when touch-screen-only phones have become the order of the day, BlackBerry, whose global market share stayed flat at 1% in the past year, has launched a smartphone that features a traditional QWERTY keyboard as well as other signature BlackBerry phone features like a trackpad.
Appropriately dubbed BlackBerry Classic, the device is aimed at the company’s traditional consumer base: business users. "A lot of people say the Classic is aiming for loyal customers. And that is true," said CEO John Chen at the device's launch event held in New York City's Financial District.
The device, which offers capabilities similar to the BlackBerry Bold 9900, includes a screen that’s 60 percent larger, a browser that’s three times faster, a battery that lasts 50 percent longer, as well as access to the Amazon Appstore.
Spec-wise, the Classic sports a 1.5 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon Processor, a 3.5-inch touchscreen display, 2GB RAM, 16GB internal memory, 2MP front- and 8MP rear-facing camera, as well as Corning Gorilla Glass 3 protection. As for the price, the smartphone is available for $449, unlocked, in the US.
The launch comes at a time when BlackBerry is trying hard to reinvent itself to align with the current smartphone market. Back in September, the company launched the Passport, a smartphone with a square-shaped screen.
BlackBerry is also focusing on enterprise security -- just last month, the company announced a partnership with Samsung to provide an end-to-end secure solution that integrates its new mobile-security software BlackBerry Enterprise Service 12 (BES12) with Samsung Galaxy devices embedded with the Knox platform.