As the December 17th release of the BlackBerry Classic quickly approaches, consumers are looking forward to what the QWERTY keyboard smartphone can deliver in a market flooded with larger touchscreen devices.
Thanks to the BlackBerry for Enterprise event last month, we got word of the December 17 release date with special launch parties scheduled for New York City, Frankfurt, and Singapore with a retail price of $449 through the company's website. But it was the on-contract price that had yet to be announced -- until now.
According to tech news site MobileSyrup, Bell Mobility has announced that the BlackBerry Classic will be available for $49 with a two-year service agreement.
The BlackBerry Classic, once named the Q20, is the company's latest phone featuring the BlackBerry 10 mobile operating system. But the Classic takes things one step further by also adding support for Android apps through the Amazon Store (sorry, no direct support for Google Play Android apps).
The BlackBerry Classic features the signature physical QWERTY keyboard with a 3.46-inch 720p screen up top. A trackpad and four main menu buttons round out the physical interface between the keyboard and the screen. Under the hood you'll find a 1.5GHz Snapdragon S4 processor, 2 GB of RAM, and 16 GB of storage that's expandable with microSD capability.
The phone also features an 8-megapixel camera in the rear and a 2-megapixel one in the front for video calls.
Earlier in the year, it was rumored that BlackBerry would be sold to Chinese mobile company Lenovo, which raised many red flags for customers who were concerned about security issues. According to the Five Eyes agreement set up around World War II, intelligence issues prevent a country outside of those five countries in the security organization -- the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, New Zealand and Australia -- from sharing intelligence. This includes the personal information that would be on the phones of thousands of businesses and citizens.
But BlackBerry CEO put those rumors to rest on Bloomberg TV on December 4, stating that BlackBerry is "unable to do that." He went on to say that he has "no takeover offers on his desk" for the $5.8 billion company, and would prefer to build value before even thinking about selling.
But value is something that BlackBerry is not enjoying these days. On September 26, the company announced that its revenue dropped to $916 million in the second fiscal quarter of 2015, which was down from $966 million in the first quarter. According to a report at eWeek.com, "In early 2006, half of all smartphones sold were BlackBerry models. By 2009, though, its share of the global smartphone market was down to 20 percent."
But a promising six-hour sellout of the new BlackBerry Passport phones in September may be signs of greener pastures for the once-dominant mobile phone company.
As fans wait for the Classic's release, BlackBerry is offering rebates of up to $550 to iPhone users who want to make the switch to the Passport. This deal is going on until February 13, 2015.
And if you want to be a part of the BlackBerry Classic's launch, the company is offering a unique way to participate by setting up a mosaic of the phone comprised entirely of images and tweets that feature the hashtag #INeedMyBB and #BlackBerryClassic.
As the image comes together in anticipation of launch, you can add yourself or search for your own message right on the mosaic's website.