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.