Canada-based BlackBerry is reaching into the past to reel in customers of the present by releasing BlackBerry Classic, a new phone that borrows design cues from the company's popular Bold and Curve smartphones. That means it features a built-in QWERTY backlit keyboard and trackpad embedded underneath the Classic's 3.5-inch square touch screen. How retro.
However, don't let the new phone fool you. Despite the "classic" form factor, there's plenty of modern hardware under the hood to get things done faster than before. The specifications include a Qualcomm Snapdragon processor clocked at 1.5 GHz, 2 GB of RAM, 16 GB of internal storage, and a microSD card reader capable of an additional 128 GB of storage.
The specifications also show that the phone has a 720 x 720 resolution (294 PPI, 24-bit color depth), an 8MP auto-focus camera on the back with a 5-element F2.2 lens, a 2MP camera on the front capable of 720p video recording, Wireless N and Bluetooth 4.0 LE connectivity, Miracast support and an FM radio. Other hardware ingredients include NFC connectivity, six sensors, and a battery promising up to 22 hours of life on a single charge.
BlackBerry Classic is based on the company's BlackBerry 10.3.1 operating system. This platform includes an "instant action bar" that dumps the user's most accessed apps on the center of the screen. The new OS also includes the company's first digital assistant, which can be used with both verbal and text commands. The service will respond by voice if the user speaks to it and will respond by text if the user types in a command.
"We listened closely to our customers' feedback to ensure we are delivering the technologies to power them through their day – and that feedback led directly to the development of BlackBerry Classic," said John Chen, Executive Chairman and CEO at BlackBerry.
The new phone comes packed with two app stores: BlackBerryWorld and Amazon Appstore. The company indicates that the former solution is best suited for business professionals, whereas the latter provides Android-based apps and games such as Candy Crush Saga, Kindle, Pinterest and more.
Additional services and features provided by the new phone include the BlackBerry Browser, which is compatible with HTML5. BlackBerry Blend crams all messages received on the device into one application for tablets and computers, including emails, BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) conversations, text messages and more. There's also BlackBerry Hub that serves as a single destination for the same conversations on the phone.
Customers interested in purchasing BlackBerry Classic can do so here. The phone is available unlocked on BlackBerry's store front and on Amazon for $449.99.