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Why the new BlackBerry Classic phone has a chance to succeed

BlackBerry Q10

BlackBerry Q10In a recent interview with USA Today’s Maria Bartiromo, BlackBerry CEO John Chen spoke optimistically about a new product the company will release in November, called the BlackBerry Classic.

“It’s an updated and enhanced version of one of our most popular and successful products called the Bold,” he said. “It will include a keyboard and a good touch-screen, very fast Internet, Web-browsing capability and multimedia capability. But also it will be very productive and very secure. So, all the familiar things that people love, with some new technology updated.”

The new device is rumoured to have some of the things loyal users loved and lost with the new phones, including an optical trackpad and function keys.

Is it just me or does this sound like a good, perhaps more precisely obvious idea?

The BlackBerry Classic sounds not only like the device its fans wanted last year when the BlackBerry 10 operating system was introduced with the Z10 and Q10, but really should be the only BlackBerry the company makes and markets. Let’s be frank, the days when BlackBerry could be all things to all people are over. The company needs to focus on its strengths and pack every bit of innovation and functionality into a single device.

To his credit, Chen has been focusing on the things BlackBerry does best. Security. Enterprise management. Keyboards. The keyboard has always been tops on the list of things loyal BlackBerry users like about the devices, and BlackBerry has several patents around it. Heavy users will tell you others may copy it, but they just don’t feel the same. Even Ryan Seacrest tried to get in on the action, to what looks like will be little avail.

Does the idea of a single, solitary BlackBerry sound extreme? I don’ t think so. There are, just to be clear, more extreme ideas out there. Like the one that BlackBerry shouldn’t make devices at all anymore. One analyst, Cormark’s Richard Tse recently posited how this could move BlackBerry instantly to 77% gross margins.

And while Chen, for a time, sounded like he was open to the possibility of that scenario at various times since he assumed the role as BlackBerry boss, he recently backed away from the idea, taking to BlackBerry’s blog to says that the company isn’t leaving the device market “any time soon”.

As it stands now users can choose from the BlackBerry Q5, Q10, Z10 and the Z30. But BlackBery faithful and the larger market have spoken. There is no shelf space for New BlackBerry, Cherry BlackBerry, Vanilla or Diet BlackBerry. They are merely niche’s of an already niche product. Only BlackBerry Classic, a distillation of everything the company does best, has a real shot at carving out its own place in the hyper-competitive world of mobile phones.

The BlackBerry Classic represents, after years of frustrating its user base, a chance for the company to move closer to it again.

Below: John Chen talks about the BlackBerry Q20, now renamed the BlackBerry Classic…

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About The Author /

Cantech Letter founder and editor Nick Waddell has lived in five Canadian provinces and is proud of his country's often overlooked contributions to the world of science and technology. Waddell takes a regular shift on the Canadian media circuit, making appearances on CTV, CBC and BNN, and contributing to publications such as Canadian Business and Business Insider.
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  1. if the new classic arrives November/ 2015 ? too late, need to replace Bold 9900
    it’s nearing end of life, have tried Q 5 / Q10 no Track pad, personally i prefer my Bold it meets my needs, so will buy a new one and a spare back up, the Classic should have
    been released January 2013.

  2. Your article is crazy. There is plenty of “shelf space” left for BlackBerry. You think BlackBerry should only produce 1 device? Thats crazy talk.

  3. I believe the new classic is due November of this year…..a mere 6 months away 🙂

  4. I can’t wait for the Blackberry Classic. These “tablet” smartphones are just smallish media devices that leave u wanting more screen. The classic will give me a communication machine phone and my tablet can be whipped out when i want to sit down and watch a movie or read or surf the web pr play music in my car. Also seperating the devices makes it easy to hook up my tablet to flatscreens or speakers without worrying about notifications.

  5. Read the handwriting on the wall; don’t invest your time or resources in BB. Chen, for all of his talk, is just trying to clean up the company so the BBRY board can have a higher asking price when they sell. Put it this way; when your tech company is going down in flames, you don’t cut R&D (long one of BB’s historical advantages and differentiators). Especially not when the market says your devices are out of touch and not meeting the need. What they’re doing is divesting themselves of as much dead weight as possible to improve the balance sheet, while squeezing as much as they can from technology they’ve already designed and developed. And you can see the proof in stock prices. Mark my words, the question isn’t “Will BlackBerry ever be competitive again?” The real questions are:
    1. Who’s going to buy BB and those 2k+ patents?
    2. When are they going to buy?
    3. How much will they have to pay?

    I predict Google will be the buyer, I put the price just south of $10 a share, and I estimate the time to be 8-12 months.

  6. You’re out of touch…or else giving credence to analysts trying to influence minds of investors.
    Blackberry scares the competition to death. No company offers greater mobility and security for business, nor a product with the level of quality that is BlackBerry. The US govt recently purchased 81,000 phones – 80,000 of them BLACKBERRY.
    BlackBerry in trouble? Not Hardly…

    Your basis for the fact that I’m “out of touch” is that BB supposedly “scares the competition to death,” and you cite for evidence the fact that the US government just bought 81,000 phones. Round it up to 100k phones–that’s nothing. A mere drip in the ocean and laughable. How about some real data?

    BB is circling the drain. If you understood a little thing called research, you’d be able to see the following:
    1. The number of overall subscribers in the US has fallen dramatically, QoQ since 2011.
    2. The number of new devices sold has been consistently under forecast, QoQ in the same time period.

    The competition right now for BB isn’t for top spot or even second spot. They’re actually battling Windows Mobile phone for 3rd place, which would be an improvement over their current 4th place in the overall market. Oh yeah … I’m sure Google and Apple are spending some sleepless nights over BB. If this were 2003!!!

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