Canning the Classic: BlackBerry smartphone mourned by fans, laughed at by critics

BlackBerry is getting rid of its Classic smartphone model — an announcement that has left longtime fans of the Waterloo, Ont.-based company mourning and fuelled fodder for its critics.

Long live the QWERTY keyboard

BlackBerry Chief Executive Officer John Chen introduces the new Blackberry Classic smartphone during the launch event in New York on December 17, 2014. (Brendan McDermid/Reuters)

BlackBerry is getting rid of its Classic smartphone model — an announcement that has left longtime fans of the Waterloo, Ont.-based company mourning and fuelled fodder for its critics.

The phone was hailed for the return of the QWERTY keyboard, and it even brought back its Brick Breaker game. It was first rolled out in December 2014, which the company said is well beyond "the average lifespan for a smartphone in today's market."

"It has been an incredible workhorse device for customers, exceeding all expectations," said Ralph Pini, chief operating officer and general manager for devices, in a blog post shared on the company's site Tuesday.

A short time later, BlackBerry Classic started trending on Twitter, complete with condolences, memories and cheap shots at the struggling company and its products.

The news brought out some ardent defenders of the BlackBerry brand.

Several said they felt the need to support the Canadian company, and that they would stick with BlackBerry for as long as they could. Even actor Ben Affleck has been seen sporting a Classic.

The keyboard came in handy.

Some of the most vocal about Tuesday's announcement were journalists, who credited the Classic's keyboard with making it easier to file stories from the road.

Among those mourning was Richard Quest, a business correspondent with CNN International, who declared the news "the end of civilization."

And yes, there were insults.

BlackBerry has become somewhat of a punchline in the world of smartphones for its lacklustre sales and its lack of apps — both Facebook and CBC News have ended support for the BlackBerry versions of their apps.

For almost every tweet in support of the Classic, there was a joke that the smartphone model was still even around.

What does the future hold?

To fill the gap, the company said it plans to roll out two mid-range Android-powered smartphones during its current fiscal year.