While the far-out Passport may be the most high-profile Blackberry phone expected to come out this fall, there are still likely a lot of hardcore users and IT managers who have had their eyes on a more traditional model: The Q20, which was dubbed the Classic when it was announced earlier this year because it combines the old-school Blackberry form, including the familiar Menu, Back Send and End buttons, with the modern BB10 operating system. But according to what look like internal roadmap documents obtained by N4BB, it doesn’t appear that the Classic is coming out this year.
A second sheet does mention the Q20, so it’s not as if Waterloo forgot the handset. Plus, the roadmap signals the Blackberry 9720 reaching end of life by the start of 2015, so Blackberry will need a go-to device for enterprise deployment. So the Classic is still likely coming out, but perhaps not in the “second half of the year,” as had been previously promised. The Passport, however, is expected to be launched in the third quarter this year according to the roadmap.
The leaked documents provide an insightful look at how Blackberry views its own devices, with a heavy dose of marketing speak. Blackberry is planning to divide its devices into four lines. There’s an “Affordable” line of full-touchscreen phones targeted at countries like Indonesia; a “Classic” line, which is the Q20; the “Innovative” line, where the unusual Passport fits in; and the “Prestige” line, which explains Blackberry’s continued partnership with Porsche Design.
Although Blackberry has been going through significant changes as a company since CEO John Chen took over last year, there is still vocal support for the company’s handset operations even as it explores other lines of business. Last year, Blackberry released a version of its BBM messenger app for iOS and Android, and more recently, it went through an internal reorganization that put most of its interesting non-handset technology projects into a new department.