BlackBerry CEO Teases 'Classic' Phone In Open Letter

John Chen, Executive Chair and CEO of BlackBerry, provided an open letter to current and former customers on Wednesday, revealing that the company is getting ready to launch a smartphone called BlackBerry Classic. The device seems to be an updated version of the BlackBerry Bold, featuring a built-in QWERTY keyboard, media keys and a trackpad.

According to the post, the phone will have a bigger, sharper screen, the BlackBerry 10 operating system, BlackBerry Hub, BlackBerry Blend, and a huge, growing application catalog. Unfortunately, that's it in regards to hardware and software details. The phone is supposedly set to go retail before the end of the year.

"Sure, we've got new BlackBerry devices that break the mold, including the BlackBerry Passport. But we also recognize that a lot of you continue to hang on to your Bold devices because they get the job done, day in and day out – just like you," he wrote in the letter.

Chen said that it's tempting to change for the sake of change in a "rapidly changing, rapidly growing" mobile market. It's also tempting to match what is trendy, and to produce a device that addresses everyone. He said that the BlackBerry Classic phone reflects the popular adage of "if it ain't broke don't fix it."

"When we lose sight of what you want and you need, we lose you," he wrote. "We are committed to earning your business – or earning it back, if that's the case."

BlackBerry brought in John Chen a year ago to take advantage of his experience in turning around database service company Sybase Inc. According to Reuters, the company has sold off some real estate and other assets while streamlining its manufacturing and supply chain. The company also stepped out of the norm and introduced the BlackBerry Passport on September 24.

Inspired by actual passports, BlackBerry Passport is a square-ish device packing a large touchscreen and the industry's first touch-enabled QWERTY keyboard. The device reeled in mixed reviews, some of which indicated that its unusual shape made it hard to hold with one hand. The BlackBerry Classic should solve that problem.

Chen said that the company will share more details about the BlackBerry Classic phone in the coming weeks, so stay tuned.

Follow Kevin Parrish @exfileme. Follow us @tomshardware, on Facebook and on Google+.

  • kawininjazx
  • vern72
    Shoulda sold the Z10 and Q10 at the same time... and two years earlier.
  • iam2thecrowe
    I liked my blackberry, it was a good business phone. Now we have iphones and to be honest everything is just more difficult with them
  • Bartisticone
    Research in Motion has the most ironic of names, because they havent been in any sort of motion at all since 2007 and the debut of the iphone. Funnier still is that they think that updating the equipment that lost them total control of the smartphone market will somehow reverse this trend. RIM? It is broken, and it's been being begged to be fixed for the last seven years.
  • vertigo_2000
    Uh... what is this "Research In Motion" company of which you speak? There are no companies with that name currently in the smart phone industry. Please elaborate.
  • schnitter
    These guys don't give up do they? How much money do they have to lose before they finally call it quits?
  • scolaner

    Ha ha, this comment made me giggle. No disrespect to BB, but...this seems an appropriate reaction.
  • TerryFawkes
    I currently use BB z30. Love it. Poked around android for a while, meh. Absolutely hated the iThing in comparison. Like somebody else here said. Getting stuff done on the iPhone is painful and with hurdles to jump through. On BB, it's a breeze.

    Don't confuse old BB OS and BB 10 OS. It's completely different animal. Since it was released almost two years ago, it's improved to the point where I'm not leaving the platform anytime soon.

    Anybody who still thinks that BB is dead, needs have his head examined or do some reading (that doesn't come from paid-by-apple bloggers and bought-with-iToys journalists)

    Put your iThing in the drawer for two weeks and try a z30 or the passport if you want the keyboard. Go through some tutorials to familiarize yourself with the OS. Two weeks later, you don't want to switch back. That's what happened to me.