Former and current BlackBerry users who love the “physical” QWERTY keyboard will be happy to know that the new BlackBerry Classic has a keyboard which features “sculpted” buttons, meaning a section of each key is slightly raised and shaped so that you can slide a finger across the keypad and tell where one button ends and the next begins without looking.
The Classic is a more modern version of the BlackBerry 9900 that was released in 2011, said Cameron Vernest, Managing Director for the Philippines and Singapore at BlackBerry.
Vernest said the BlackBerryClassic upgrades the BlackBerry Bold 9900 experience with three times faster browser; 60 percent more screen space; and 50 percent longer battery life. The Classic also has a greater variety of applications through BlackBerry World and the Amazon Appstore.
The BlackBerry Classic’s display is small by today’s standards, at 3.5 inches, but it’s significantly bigger than the Bold 9900’s 2.8-inch screen and the 3.1-inch display on the BlackBerry Q10. It’s heavier though. The Classic weighs 180 grams while the Bold 9900 weighs 136 grams.
The side panel of the Classic features steel card slots, one for a micro SD card (with support for memory cards up to 128GB) and another for a nano SIM. A notable new feature is the optical trackpad, which is located in the center of the navigation tool belt.
As for power, you should get 22 hours of “mixed use” from the Classic’s 2,515mAh battery pack which is not removable.
Powering the classic is a 1.5 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon Processor, 2GB RAM, 16GB of device storage (expandable by up to 128GB via SD), and a 2MP front- and 8MP rear-facing camera with enhanced optics and upgraded imaging sensors.
The Classic has also improved navigation features. For example, you can close recent applications using the “Back” key instead of having to tap the on-screen “X” app icon. The “Call End” key, to the right of the Back button, minimizes apps and returns you to your home screen.
The BlackBerry Classic comes preloaded with the BlackBerry 10.3.1 operating system, offering a fresh look that incorporates updated icons and an instant action bar so that each user’s most commonly accessed functions are in the center of their screen.
With this new operating system, users gain access to BlackBerry Blend and BlackBerry Assistant.
BlackBerry Blend brings messaging and content that is on your BlackBerry smartphone to your computer and tablet. Get instant message notifications, read and respond to your work and personal email, BBM and text messages, and access your documents, calendar, contacts and media in real time on whatever device you are on, powered by your BlackBerry.
The BlackBerry Assistant is BlackBerry’s first digital assistant and can be used with voice and text commands to help users manage work and personal email, contacts, calendar and other native BlackBerry 10 applications. It’s the only smartphone assistant on the market today that can access both personal and work content in your work perimeter. BlackBerry Assistant intelligently determines how to respond to you based on how you interact with it – if you type, it responds silently, if you speak, it speaks back and if you activate over Bluetooth, it speaks back with additional context because it assumes you might not have access to the screen.
It’s for BlackBerry lovers
Vernest says the Classic is for current users who are looking to upgrade and former users who want the QWERTY keyboard back.
Vernest also emphasized the BlackBerry Classic’s security, communication and productivity features which are essential for the corporate user. “Anyone who values security and productivity still values the BlackBerry,” said Vernest.
BlackBerry Classic has built-in protection against viruses, tampering and data leaks. The BlackBerry Classic is private by default, protecting users with encrypted email, web browsing and BBM.
BlackBerry also announced its partnership with MemoXpress in the Philippines. The first device launched in partnership with MemoXpress will be BlackBerry Classic, which will go on sale from 5 February, 2015, through 22 retail locations across major cities and municipalities in the Philippines at a suggested retail price of Php20,990.