BlackBerry’s 2014 smartphone roadmap was filled with devices seeking to correct the initial launch of BB10. Under the leadership of Thorsten Heins, BlackBerry first released the all-touch Z10, which was a device not entirely suited for BlackBerry’s traditional QWERTY-loving user base. It did not work out as planned. Even the Q10 was not much of a success. “People are hanging on to their old devices; we left a lot of those people behind in the original migration to BB10. The majority are still there,” said John Sims, BlackBerry’s President, Global Sales in an interview with The Register.
To capture the evolving physical keyboard audience, BlackBerry introduced a state-of-the-art capacitive physical QWERTY with the Passport. Additionally, BlackBerry announced a device that would take users down memory lane.
The BlackBerry Classic would be bringing back the five button toolbelt users had grown to enjoy on previous models. Uninformed consumers and mass media throughout the interwebs initially bashed the Classic and BlackBerry for being “out of date” or “dead.”
The sole purpose for the Classic wasn’t entirely grasped by the naysayers. The Classic is a bridging device to more smoothly migrate legacy BlackBerry users over to BlackBerry 10. With the TrackPad and other buttons of the toolbelt in place, BlackBerry hopes to increase BB10’s adoption.
“Classic brings people back to where they should have been. It’s giving them some familiarity… I’ve been a BB user since 1998. I remember what it was like. It was a horrendous browsing experience and the app [environment] as well [sic]. The new operating system [BB10] is a lot more mature now than it was at launch. It’s more feature-rich and solid,” said Sims. If adopted, the Classic could increase BB10’s marketshare by many millions.
Kim Kardashian is but a minuscule example of a long-time BlackBerry user still holding onto a legacy device. Apparently, there are many, many like Kim. “We can see our network – we can see how many older BlackBerrys there are out there. They’re in the tens of millions: people who are hanging onto their Bolds, some of them holding them together with tape,” added Sims.
Initial launch sales of the BlackBerry Classic outperformed the Passport. The Classic may quickly become BlackBerry’s most popular BB10 smartphone as it brings the old into the new.
Check out what we thought of the device in our BlackBerry Classic review.