BlackBerry Classic returns to fundamentals

BlackBerry's newest phone, the Classic, was released globally today. Here are four things you can expect from the new smartphone.

Classic includes physical keyboard and top buttons

BlackBerry's 'Brick Breaker' game will make a comeback on the Classic, as will the physical keyboard and trackpad. (

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.

A history of BlackBerry devices

On mobile? Click here to see the gallery.

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 

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 are reporting that BlackBerry has already sold out its preorders for the Classic. On BlackBerry's online store, the phone is listed at $499. 

Replay our live blog here: 

On mobile? Click here to read the live blog 

    With files from The Canadian Press


    To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

    By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

    Become a CBC Member

    Join the conversation  Create account

    Already have an account?