The BlackBerry Classic smartphone, which features enterprise-grade security and key business productivity tools, will be available to T-Mobile customers starting on May 13. The Classic, which debuted in December 2014 from BlackBerry, is already available from AT&T and Verizon Wireless but until now was not offered to T-Mobile's 56.8 million customers.
The BlackBerry Classic includes the company's well-known QWERTY keyboard, trackpad and navigation keys, as well as a 3.5-inch square touch-screen HD display that is covered with Corning Gorilla Glass 3 for strength. The Classic also includes a 2MP front- and an 8MP rear-facing camera, a 1.5GHz dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon processor and 16GB of internal storage, which is expandable up to 128GB using a micro SD card.
The Classic also includes a 2,500 mAh battery that provides users with up to 22 hours of mixed use, as well as power optimization that can extend battery life when power is running low and users need to stay online. The Classic is a 4G LTE phone that runs on BlackBerry OS 10.3.1 and is XLTE-Ready.
"People who love BlackBerry smartphones and want to use one on America's fastest nationwide 4G LTE network now have that choice," John Legere, the president and CEO of T-Mobile, said in a May 7 statement. "Bringing BlackBerry into our device line-up now also stokes Un-carrier 9.0, which is all about bringing the Un-carrier revolution to business."
The BlackBerry Classic will first be available starting May 13 at T-Mobile's Website, and then will be available through T-Mobile stores beginning on May 15, according to the companies. The Classic will be available for $0 down and $18.33 per month for 24 months for a total of $439.92.
The Classic became available to Verizon customers in February and to AT&T customers back in January, according to earlier eWEEK reports.
In March, BlackBerry launched a surprise smartphone, the Leap, at Mobile World Congress 2015 in Barcelona, introducing a handset that replaces the traditional BlackBerry physical keypad with a touchscreen aimed at getting the company's devices into the hands of younger mobile professionals.
The Leap, which lists for $275 unlocked, includes a 5-inch HD display with 1280 x 720 resolution, the latest BlackBerry 10 OS 10.3.1 operating system, a Qualcomm MSM 8960 1.5GHz processor, 2GB of RAM, 16GB of onboard flash storage (expandable up to 128GB via a micro SD card), and a 2800 mAh battery for long life. The Leap is built to run on 4G Long-Term Evolution (LTE) networks. The new smartphone also includes the enterprise security and management tools and features that are part of the continuing BlackBerry business mantra, with support for encryption, built-in malware protection and back-up, wipe and restore capabilities.
BlackBerry continues to be hard at work in early 2015 as it seeks to rebuild its reputation and market presence after some very difficult years. BlackBerry's fall from dominating the enterprise smartphone market has been swift and stunning. In early 2006, before the first iPhones appeared from Apple, half of all smartphones sold were BlackBerry models. By 2009, though, its share of the global smartphone market was down to 20 percent.
BlackBerry spent much of 2012 and 2013 trying to shake off the image that it was finished, especially compared with its presence five years earlier when its devices were the "enterprise gold standard" for mobile business communications.