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The moderately anticipated successor to the classic BlackBerry Bold will be in people’s hands before the end of the year. During a enterprise focused event in San Francisco on Thursday, BlackBerry announced BlackBerry Classic pre-orders had started. The QWERTY keyboard-equipped phone will cost $449 off-contract and shipping is “expected to start mid-December 2014.”
According to Mobilesyrup, the exact ship date is December 17th.
The [company]BlackBerry[/company] Classic is running BlackBerry 10, like the recently released BlackBerry Passport, but in a more conventional size and shape. Another major difference is that it’s sporting BlackBerry’s traditional physical keys, including a button to pick up calls, a button to hang up, and the throwback BlackBerry key.
Specs aren’t paramount on a device like the Classic, but it will have a 3.5-inch 720 x 720 touchscreen, an 8MP camera on the back, and 16GB of built-in storage. It’s running on a [company]Qualcomm[/company] S4 Plus chip.
Blackberry Classic will also have Blackberry services like Blend, which is basically a secure remote desktop application for your phone. I checked out Blend on the Blackberry Passport and was surprised at how handy it was, especially the ability to send texts and BBMs from your desktop computer. Also like the Passport, the Classic will have the ability to run Android apps from the [company]Amazon[/company] Appstore.
According to Blackberry’s blog post, initial quantities will be limited, which could mean that Blackberry is only producing the number of devices it expects to sell. Although CEO John Chen discussed the Classic back in February, an earlier leaked product roadmap did not include the Classic as an expected product in 2014, but it appears to have barely snuck through this year.
Ultimately, the Classic is a device for security-minded CTOs to buy in bulk and hand out to their employees. There isn’t any word on carrier support yet, and besides, this phone is unlikely to be the “it device” this holiday season. But Blackberry does have its fans, and at least a few consumers will get in on this pre-order. Kim Kardashian West might buy a few.
This post was updated on November 11th to add the official ship date.