BlackBerry is going back to its physical QWERTY keyboard roots with a new phone announced Tuesday.
Chief executive John Chen said the company is going "classic," bringing back physical keys with the new Q20 smartphone, a response to lacklustre sales of last year's Q10.
The Q10 has a physical keyboard but lacks the trackpad or keys for functions such as going back. Chen said the company received many complaints about the missing features.
"In my first 90 days on the job, I consistently heard from our ardent BlackBerry customers that the hard buttons and trackpad are an essential part of the BlackBerry QWERTY experience," said Chen. "I want these customers to know that we heard them."
The company will also release a low-cost smartphone in Indonesia in April. The Z3, will sell for less than $200 without subsidies, and is the first phone made under a new five-year partnership with Foxxconn, the Taiwanese company which assembles electronic products for various clients in vast factories in China.
BlackBerry also announced plans to expand its services for businesses needing secure communications, particularly in regulated industries such as health care and financial services.
There are plans, for instance, to go beyond securing just email and messaging.
It's part of the company's plan to focus on its strengths in business services. BlackBerry strayed from that as it tried to lure consumers with new devices.
BlackBerry was the dominant smartphone for on-the-go business people and other consumers before Apple introduced the iPhone in 2007, showing that phones could handle much more than email and calls. BlackBerry was slow in modernizing its operating system, and once it did, the much-hyped new system flopped.
Chen was brought in as chief executive late last year after talks to sell the company collapsed. Although he has been credited with turning around Sybase, a data company that was sold to SAP in 2010, Chen has acknowledged that reviving BlackBerry will be his most "complicated" challenge.