BlackBerry Classic Goes Back to the Future With Latest Smartphone

 
 
By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2014-12-18
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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    BlackBerry Classic Goes Back to the Future With Latest Smartphone
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    BlackBerry Classic Goes Back to the Future With Latest Smartphone

    By Don Reisinger
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    The Classic Goes Conservative With 3.5-Inch Touch-Screen
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    The Classic Goes Conservative With 3.5-Inch Touch-Screen

    One might think, given that most of the major smartphones available today have screens ranging in size from 4 inches to 6 inches, that the days of 3.5-inch displays are over, but the BlackBerry Classic puts paid to the notion that the company is chasing the crowd. Besides its 3.5-inch touch-screen, the Classic features 720-by-720-pixel resolution. That makes it smaller device with lower screen resolution than its major competitors.
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    It Harks Back to the Past With Its Physical Keyboard
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    It Harks Back to the Past With Its Physical Keyboard

    Those who want to go back to the old days before touch-screens dominated the front faces of smartphones will be happy with what they find in the BlackBerry Classic. The device comes with the aforementioned 3.5-inch screen, but adds a physical keyboard and an optical track-pad to navigate the software. The BlackBerry Classic looks like a slightly refined version of BlackBerry devices released a few years ago.
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    Android Apps Will Run on BlackBerry Classic
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    Android Apps Will Run on BlackBerry Classic

    BlackBerry and Android apps will work with the BlackBerry Classic. That could prove to be an important point for enterprise customers. BlackBerry's application marketplace is rather small, but comes with useful enterprise programs. In addition to BlackBerry World, customers will also be able to access the Amazon Appstore to find the many consumer-focused apps that run on Android. It seems like a smart move on BlackBerry's part.
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    An Enterprise-Focused Device
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    An Enterprise-Focused Device

    BlackBerry made clear this year that it was abandoning the consumer market to focus on business users, which had always been its market and offered the best chance for growth. Perhaps that's why BlackBerry, in its announcement of the BlackBerry Classic, said that the device was designed to appeal to corporate customers. Anybody obviously can buy the handset. But BlackBerry is selling it as an enterprise platform.
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    BlackBerry Says the Browser Will Be Fine
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    BlackBerry Says the Browser Will Be Fine

    One of the big concerns customers have always had with small-screen BlackBerrys is the Web browsing experience. In far too many cases, mobile Websites were scrunched and hard to navigate. BlackBerry, however, said that its browser sidesteps all such issues in the Classic and will actually rate among the top options for overall Web page fidelity. That's an important consideration as customers decide whether the BlackBerry Classic will be right for them.
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    The Classic's Specifications Are Solid
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    The Classic's Specifications Are Solid

    The components built into the BlackBerry Classic are nice enough to get work done, but they won't blow away top competitors. According to BlackBerry, the Classic will launch with the Qualcomm MSM 8960 processor featuring a 1.5GHz clock speed. The handset also has 2GB of on-board RAM and a non-removable battery. On the backside of the smartphone is an 8-megapixel auto-focus camera. The smartphone's front-facing camera has a 2-megapixel camera.
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    BlackBerry Blend Provides Data Links to Tablets, PCs
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    BlackBerry Blend Provides Data Links to Tablets, PCs

    BlackBerry Blend is designed to bridge the gap between its smartphones and all the other devices a user may have running. BlackBerry Blend takes all of the text messages, documents, calendar items, contacts and media stored on a BlackBerry, and allows for them to be shared on other computers and tablets. In other words, BlackBerry Classic content can be synced on computers and tablets, allowing for users to keep working, regardless of the device they're on.
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    BlackBerry Assistant Is Like Another Siri
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    BlackBerry Assistant Is Like Another Siri

    Apple's virtual personal assistant Siri might be an iOS-based product, but that hasn't stopped other companies from providing similar solutions for their own devices. BlackBerry Assistant is available on the BlackBerry Classic. Assistant is the first digital helper from BlackBerry, and allows users to issue both text and voice commands to manage everything from email to contacts to calendaring information. The feature can also be integrated into BlackBerry 10 applications.
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    Be Sure to Bring Along an SD Card
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    Be Sure to Bring Along an SD Card

    The BlackBerry Classic will not come with much storage out of the box. The device will ship with 16GB of storage, requiring users to have an SD card on the ready in order to have more data. According to BlackBerry, storage capacity is expandable to up to 128GB via SD cards.
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    You Can Order BlackBerry Classic Now for $449
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    You Can Order BlackBerry Classic Now for $449

    So, after all of that, many are likely wondering what the BlackBerry Classic costs and when it will be made available to customers. According to BlackBerry, customers can order the Classic now for $449. The device will ship by the end of 2014, so business buyers who want the latest BlackBerry smartphone will be able to get their hands on it sooner rather than later. The big question, though, is whether it's really worth the price.
 

BlackBerry—the mobile company once known as Research In Motion in an effort to appeal to business mobile phone users who were the core of its customer base—decided that it wouldn't try to chase the crowd with a big-screen smartphone with all the bells and whistles. Instead, its latest smartphone, the BlackBerry Classic, shows echoes of old-time design that combine a physical keyboard with a touch-screen. The handset is clearly designed for corporate users, especially those accustomed to working with BlackBerry's earlier models with physical keyboards. But it also includes a touch-screen for those who prefer to work with a virtual keyboard. BlackBerry's decision to stick close to its heritage with the BlackBerry Classic's design has risks to be sure. But it may be the best strategy for a company that is trying to take careful steps back to profitability and growth. So this eWEEK slide show will cover the Classic's features to help prospective buyers decide whether this smartphone has what it takes to bring them back to the BlackBerry fold.

 
 
 
 
 
Don Reisinger is a freelance technology columnist. He started writing about technology for Ziff-Davis' Gearlog.com. Since then, he has written extremely popular columns for CNET.com, Computerworld, InformationWeek, and others. He has appeared numerous times on national television to share his expertise with viewers. You can follow his every move at http://twitter.com/donreisinger.
 
 
 
 
 
 

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