BlackBerry has released its newest phone, the Classic, at launch events in New York, Singapore and Frankfurt. The company's shares jumped 31 cents to $11.35 on the Toronto Stock Exchange Wednesday morning as CEO John Chen launched the phone.

According to the Waterloo, Ont.-smartphone maker's CEO, the Classic is meant to appeal to loyal business customers. ​​

"A lot of them pulled out their BlackBerry and told me, 'Don't mess around with this thing. Don't mess around with the keyboard, don't mess around with the trackpad,"' Chen said. "I took that from them, I listened intensely and tried to figure out how to get back in the minds of our customers."

The phone is advertised as a return to BlackBerry fundamentals, and is modelled on the popular Bold 9900 that was released in 2011, but with a much larger screen, longer battery life and faster software. The physical keyboard returns, as well as the trackpad, "back" and call buttons that weren't featured in more recent keyboard models like the Q10 or the Passport. 

Here are some of the Classic's specs:

  • A 3.5-inch touch-screen display made of Corning Gorilla Glass.
  • 294 dpi HD screen resolution.
  • A backlit QWERTY keyboard.
  • 1.5 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon processor.
  • 2 GB RAM.
  • 16 GB of storage space, which can be expanded to 128 GB by using a MicroSD memory card.
  • 8 megapixel rear-facing camera and a 2 megapixel front-facing camera.
  • Up to 22 hours of battery life.

The Classic is 13 centimetres tall and weighs 178 grams, a little bit more than the iPhone 6 plus, which weighs 172 grams, or the Samsung Galaxy S5 at 145 grams.

In a small move to capitalize on nostalgia, BlackBerry says it is releasing the Classic with a new version of its "Brick Breaker" game.

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The phone will be available in Canada through Bell, Rogers and Telus. Bell will charge $49.95 for the Classic with a two-year contract, Rogers will charge $49.99 for the phone and a two-year contract, both available today. Telus will charge $50 for the phone on a two-year contract starting later this week. The phone can also be purchased at ShopBlackBerry.com. 

Aimed at corporate users

Carmi Levy, an independent tech journalist, says the phone is aimed at corporate users and diehard fans including U.S. President Barack Obama, the Huffington Post's Arianna Huffington and socialite Kim Kardashian. He says people who prefer BlackBerry's older designs tend to mostly use their phones to type emails and text messages. 

"A device doesn't necessarily have to be cutting edge in order for it to hit the mark with its target market," said Levy. "It doesn't need to be the coolest, latest, biggest thing. It simply needs to meet a particular business need that the rest of the market no longer addresses."  

Tech websites such as IT World Canada and crackberry.com are reporting that BlackBerry has already sold out its preorders for the Classic. On BlackBerry's online store, the phone is listed at $499. 

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With files from The Canadian Press