BlackBerry officially unveiled its new BlackBerry Classic phone on Wednesday, which CEO John Chen says he believes will turn the company around, according to CNBC.
The new phone should be a familiar treat for most BlackBerry fans. The new version of the Classic comes with the same QWERTY keyboard that originally made BlackBerry’s phones famous, and the company claims its battery life is 50% longer than the Bold while its Web browser is three times faster.
Plus, you get access to Android apps from Amazon’s app store, which gives BlackBerry users much more variety in terms of app selection.
Early reviews of the phone are looking fairly positive. Both CNET and USA Today gave the company credit for returning to its roots and paying attention to what its small subset of users actually like.
This is why Chen believes the new Classic could be crucial for BlackBerry’s turnaround, as he wrote in a lengthy statement on CNBC’s website:
Today BlackBerry is launching a new smartphone that captures that ethos and demonstrates that in the second year of our turnaround, BlackBerry is picking up momentum, building a future by curating the best parts of our recent past. We are keeping the commitments we made a year ago to turn around the company and defy sceptics who had written off BlackBerry.
Unsurprisingly, the trackpad and keyboard seem to be the two standout aspects of the phone, according to these reviews.
The Classic is available starting Wednesday for $US449 unlocked either through BlackBerry’s website or Amazon.
Only time will tell if BlackBerry’s latest releases like the Classic and Passport will help the company get more market share in the US. Back in October, comScore said BlackBerry only accounted for 2.3% of the US smartphone market as of August 2014.