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BlackBerry teases Bold-like Classic smartphone; coming later this year

The Classic, which bears striking similarities to the company's once wildly popular Bold smartphone, will come with a complete top row of navigation keys and a trackpad.

Updated:October 30, 2014, 10:06 AM IST
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BlackBerry teases Bold-like Classic smartphone; coming later this year
The Classic, which bears striking similarities to the company's once wildly popular Bold smartphone, will come with a complete top row of navigation keys and a trackpad.

Toronto: BlackBerry Chief Executive John Chen penned an open letter to current and former BlackBerry users on Wednesday in a push to create some buzz for the company's new BlackBerry Classic device, which is set to debut later this year.

The Classic, which bears striking similarities to the company's once wildly popular Bold smartphone, will come with a complete top row of navigation keys and a trackpad. Those are features that many BlackBerry fans missed when the company rolled out its revamped BlackBerry 10 line of devices last year.

Chen conceded that the company has made some mistakes in the last few years saying: "It's tempting in a rapidly changing, rapidly growing mobile market to change for the sake of change - to mimic what's trendy and match the industry-standard, kitchen-sink approach of trying to be all things to all people."

"When we lose sight of what you want and you need, we lose you," he said, in a letter published on the BlackBerry blog.

The letter from Chen comes two days after reality television star Kim Kardashian created a stir by professing her "love" for BlackBerry devices, and confessing that she owns a cache of Bold devices, at a conference organized by tech news website Re/code in California.

Chen, who stepped in to take the reins at BlackBerry when the company was faltering badly a year ago, has moved rapidly to get BlackBerry back on track, selling some assets, partnering to make its manufacturing and supply chain more efficient, and raising cash via the sale of the company's extensive real estate holdings in Waterloo, Ontario, where it is headquartered.

In September, the company launched an unconventional square-screened smartphone, the BlackBerry Passport. The Classic is set to have a bigger and sharper screen than its predecessor, the Bold, along with a much larger app catalog and a myriad of other features. [ID:nL2N0RP0O5]

"We are committed to earning your business - or earning it back, if that's the case," he said, promising the company would share more details about the Classic in coming weeks.

An Open Letter from John Chen

To our loyal (current and former) BlackBerry users:

BlackBerry is driven by an urgent, obsessive focus on what matters: you. When we lose sight of what you want and you need, we lose you.

It's tempting in a rapidly changing, rapidly growing mobile market to change for the sake of change - to mimic what's trendy and match the industry-standard, kitchen-sink approach of trying to be all things to all people.

But there's also something to be said for the classic adage, if it ain't broke don't fix it.

BlackBerry Classic reflects that. It is classic BlackBerry - complete with a top row of navigation keys and a trackpad. It's the device that has always felt right in your hands and always felt right in your busy day.

Of course, we've made quite a few enhancements around the edges and on the inside. The screen is bigger and sharper. Our application catalogue is growing. The BlackBerry 10 operating system incorporates all the best productivity and collaboration features on any mobile device, including the BlackBerry Hub and our all-new BlackBerry Blend.

Sure, we've got new BlackBerry devices that break the mold, including the BlackBerry Passport. But we also recognise that a lot of you continue to hang on to your Bold devices because they get the job done, day in and day out - just like you.

We get it, and we've got you covered.

Innovation is a word that gets used too often and carelessly. Innovation is not about blowing up what works to make something new - it's about taking what works and making it better. In that sense, BlackBerry Classic represents the kind of innovation BlackBerry - and you - strive toward every day.

You don't reinvent yourself every day; you take what you learned yesterday and sharpen it today. You drive change - often on your terms, but sometimes not. That you keep going regardless is what distinguishes you as a grown-up. You're in it for the long haul.

So is BlackBerry. The things you remember about BlackBerry that made you better are better than ever with BlackBerry Classic. BlackBerry Classic is for you, as is everything we do every day.

We are committed to earning your business - or earning it back, if that's the case. In the weeks ahead, BlackBerry will be sharing more details about Classic that we think you'll like. In the meantime, we encourage you to visit BlackBerry.com/Classic to see for yourself why BlackBerry Classic is aptly named.

Sincerely,

John S. Chen
Executive Chair and CEO

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