BlackBerry’s failure to adapt to the rise of the smartphone led them to fall from market leaders to severe job cuts and multi-billion dollar losses in the less than a decade. Since an investment from Fairfax Financial in late 2013, BlackBerry have taken a new directive in an attempt to relive the glory years. Blackberry are coming over all….BlackBerry.
Their intentions are made clear when you cast your eye over their latest mobile release. By creating the Blackberry Classic, the once almighty pillar of mobile tech are looking to recapture their old custom. By packing the classic with business friendly features, Blackberry are heading back to their roots.
Cast your eye over the BlackBerry Classic and you’ll immediately notice the rather striking similarities it shares with BlackBerry’s most popular range of mobiles, the Bold. As well as the aesthetics of the Classic being rather nostalgic, the front interface contains more than a couple of appreciative winks to devices gone by. The 3.5-inch non-touchscreen has a decent resolution, although at 720p it’s not as impressive as the current smartphone kings.
The return of the touch sensitive trackpad, sitting just above the keyboard, allows for that unique scroll around the BlackBerry’s user interface. The trackpad’s re-emergence is a welcome one, enforced by the return of possibly Blackberry’s most sought after feature. The QWERTY keyboard returns in all its glory in the BlackBerry Classic, offering owners that physical, responsive feel to typing. There can be no doubting the pleasure of casting away those fiddly touchscreen keyboards. For users who spend a lot of time sending emails, the QWERTY keyboard is the only place to go.
Under the hood, the Blackberry Classic’s specs are a little lacklustre. Sporting only a dualcore 1.5GHz processor and 2GB of RAM, it falls some way behind the mobile powerhouses currently atop the smartphone tree. Certainly, with a price point sitting at £350, you might have been forgiven for expecting a little more oomph.
BlackBerry’s app store is also somewhat of a let down. It’s been a consistent angle of complaint from Blackberry devices gone by. Throw in the Amazon App Store, which comes pre-installed on the Classic, and you are able to access a limited selection of Android apps. Even so, the BlackBerry World app store is just not up to scratch when compared with iOS and Android.
In a Market all of its own
Drawing comparisons with the likes of the iPhone, LG G3 and Samsung Galaxy is a little unfair. The BlackBerry Classic is a self-proclaimed business minded handset. All of the above has been created with the business user at the forefront of its mind. And for that, it does very well.
For example, you’re unlikely to spend too much time streaming HD content or playing the latest, graphics hungry mobile games. The Classic’s small screen and practical keyboard lend itself towards less demanding activities. The Classic has enough power to allow for smooth and fast browsing, and the practical keyboard and trackpad make the BlackBerry perfect for messaging and sending emails.
Forging ahead in the business market is one fraught with danger for BlackBerry. Heading back to where they made their name is an obvious avenue for the spluttering company, but is the market lucrative enough? Business specific phones are few and far between today. BlackBerry can largely avoid the big players in the mobile market, with the likes of Apple and Google not intending to develop their own business focused devices.
So, will the BlackBerry Classic succeed? It’s hard to tell. Certainly, for the consumer who wants to separate their professional life from their personal one, the Classic will slide right to the top of their list (that is if they can get past the rather hefty price tag). How many of those consumers still exist may well prove vital to the level of Blackberry’s upcoming success.
The BlackBerry Classic is available to pre-order now, with an expected UK shipping date of mid-January 2015.
The Classic isn’t BlackBerry’s only device of 2014. Their new flagship device, the Passport, was released a couple of months back. Check out our coverage.
Title Image- BlackBerry