By Jay Jay
Blackberry traced its steps back to the lovable ‘keyboard and touchscreen’ phone when it launched the new Classic at an event in New York today.
The Blackberry Classic retains the look and feel of the original Blackberries, with a QWERTY keyboard and a trackpad situated below the touchscreen. Former Blackberry users who still feel more comfortable with manual keyboards are expected to lap them up, marking an emotional return to competition for the Canadian brand. Since its decision to migrate from manual keyboards to touchscreens, Blackberry saw its share price in the US fall from a high of $147.55 in 2008 to $9.51 yesterday.
The transition brought it in direct conflict with other major smartphone makers including Apple who had mastered and dominated the touchscreen industry. Speaking at the launch, Blackberry’s CEO John Chen said ‘It’s tempting in a rapidly changing, rapidly growing mobile market to change for the sake of change – to mimic what’s trendy, but there’s also something to be said for the classic adage, if it ain’t broke don’t fix it.”
As expected, Blackberry has customized the Classic for use by business and corporate users who would require a smooth and friendly platform for exchanging hundreds of e-mails on the go. The company has developed a suite of business-related apps along with an agreement with Ingram Micro Inc, an information technology reselling firm.
The Classic, mostly intended for users of the existing Bold versions, is available for sale in the US and Canada at $449 and $429 respectively.
In the US, the device is being sold with Verizon and AT&T networks. While the company has not indicated a date for the Classic’s launch in the UK, we should expect some announcement soon once the company finalizes carriers for the device.
The price should be expected to stick to the under £350 mark in the first few months of the launch.