BlackBerry Classic Smartphone Hearkens Back To Company’s Heritage

BlackBerry has lost most of its once dominant market share (in the U.S.) arguably because it has refused for so long to change and adapt to the way modern touchscreen smartphones were being built.

In its decline, the company has decided that instead of fighting from a position of retreat against other touchscreen smartphones, it would aggressively push what once made BlackBerry phones iconic -- their design, solid build, and of course, physical QWERTY keyboard, all now made to work with the modern and advanced BlackBerry 10 operating system.

"BlackBerry Classic," which the company has just announced, is currently the best incarnation of this philosophy. According to BlackBerry, many of its customers have asked the company to provide them with a phone that comes with hardware which represents the BlackBerry phone the most, but with the power of the BlackBerry 10 OS.

The BlackBerry Classic is clearly targeted mainly at professional workers who are still very fond of their old BlackBerrys but want a more contemporary device that has access to many third party apps and a good browser. BlackBerry still has nowhere the kind of access to apps that Android and iOS platforms do, but it does work with both BlackBerry apps and Android apps that have been purposefully repackaged for BlackBerry by their developers.

BlackBerry has recently adopted the Amazon App Store as well, which gives users access to another 200,000 Android apps by default. The deal seems like a good move for both BlackBerry, which now gets more apps for its phones, but also Amazon, which now gets to have a wider market for its developers. Amazon has failed with its own Fire Phone, and only its tablets have been moderately successful. With BlackBerrys, Amazon gets access to a non-negligible number of phones that its third-party developers can support as well.

The new BlackBerry Classic supports the FD-LTE and HSPA+ bands, but it will not work with any CDMA networks (including Verizon, Sprint and US Cellullar). The company doesn't have an exact shipping date for the device, but it said the phone should start shipping around mid-December with an unsubsidized price of $450.

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Lucian Armasu
Lucian Armasu is a Contributing Writer for Tom's Hardware US. He covers software news and the issues surrounding privacy and security.
  • dstarr3
    I do really miss physical keyboards on phones, it must be said.
  • zakaron
    dstarr3, That's probably the thing I miss most about my Blackberry - the excellent physical keyboard.
  • davide445
    As owner of BB Z10 can say BB 10 it's a beautiful system and the device itself is really good.

    After being a Nokia fan for a decade and especially of Enterprise qwerty series I was thinking going to full touch will be really shocking.

    Fact is you really became used to new way of interact, so good for Classic series for business fast mail writer, but probably my next device will be a Passport, much more flexible with a bigger screen and still a keyboard.
  • invlem
    I'm glad they're still around.

    They make great phones for people not obsessed with having 1000 apps installed on their phone. The OS is solid as a rock and everything just works like it should with no fiddling or having to find the right app from a sea of millions of junk ones.

    I'm using an android right now, but this phone might be the one to bring be back to blackberry.
  • SBD_3
    The BlackBerry OS is terrific. I'm curious what the phones specs will be? I own the Passport and it is a great device but it's width takes getting used to. The Classic is a bigger phone than the Q10 and if it has a cpu near the Passports it may be a better "keyboard" phone. I'm glad BlackBerry is still in the marketplace.
  • vern72
    BlackBerry might have been in a better position today if they sold this along side the Z10 and Q10 when they launched.
  • actsai
    BlackBerry lost my loyalty, when it said "PB customers f*ck off" a new tablet costing $120 should have been a good hint so was the relatively undeveloped App World after 2 years since PB came out; that being said, I do miss physical keyboard; nobody made them anymore and Bluetooth it isn't the same.

    But the flipside is still there, repack an Android compile? Why not natively the way OS/2 did to Windows 93? For this reason it is still a flop in long run.
  • belardo
    1 - How hard is it for ANY company to make an Android phone with... a... physical... KEYBOARD?! Samsung used to have a Android 2.x phone with a slider keyboard - which seemed more usable than a blackberry.

    2 - Never liked the old blackberries anyway... the OS blew chunks, difficult to work with, crashed a lot, required removing the many many update-patches to fix... blah.

    3- They spend over 3 years from the time they bought an OS (QNX) to make it work for a damn phone... rather stupid, no? Might as well did it in-house or simple gone Android to begin with... NOW, that would have sold them a crap-load a phones!