New BlackBerry Classic harks back to the Bold's glory days
New device, billed as the Bold's successor, features 3.5-inch screen and traditional QWERTY keyboard
BlackBerry has come over all nostalgic with its latest handset release, the BlackBerry Classic, which is supposed to hark back to the glory days of the firm's best-selling Bold 9900.
Upon its release, BlackBerry said that the device was a response to customer demands, calling for a return to the company's old way of doing things. The Classic, then, sports a similar form factor to the old Bold 9900, as well as an updated version of the BlackBerry 10 operating system, which has been tweaked to provide similarities to the old BlackBerry 7 OS.
"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, the company's CEO.
"BlackBerry Classic is the powerful communications tool that many BlackBerry Bold and Curve users have been waiting for. It's the secure device that feels familiar in their hands, with the added performance and agility they need to be competitive in today's busy world."
As well as the familiar QWERTY keyboard, the Classic comes with a 3.5-inch touchscreen display that delivers a resolution of 294 dpi. Under the hood, the device sports a 1.5GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, 2 GB of RAM and 16 GB of on-board storage, which can be expanded to 128 GB with an SD card. The rear-facing camera is an 8MP unit, while the front-facing camera delivers a resolution of 2MP.
BlackBerry claimed that the Classic provides a three-times-faster web browser, 60% more screen space and 50% longer battery life over the old Bold 9900.
In terms of software, the Classic's interface may be reminiscent of the old Bold's, but it is actually based on the BlackBerry 10.3.1 OS. BlackBerry said that the interface includes an instant action bar so that the most commonly accessed functions can be found in the centre of the screen. It also comes with BlackBerry Blend, which allows users tether the device to a PC or tablet, as well as BlackBerry Assistant, the vendor's rival to Apple's Siri. As is the case with every BlackBerry 10 device, the Hub notification centre makes up a big part of the Classic's usability.
For apps, users can browse the sparsely populated BlackBerry World store, or else download apps from the Amazon App Store. It's also possible to load APK files from third-party sources onto the Classic, BlackBerry said.
Whether the device will reverse BlackBerry's bad fortune remains to be seen. Having taken the helm of the company last year, Chen has embarked on a mission that will see BlackBerry move away from the consumer market and instead target enterprise users. On Friday, the company reported a net loss of $793m for its third quarter, though this was down from the $916m loss that BlackBerry experienced in the year-ago quarter.