IF there is one feature that loyal BlackBerry (BB) users love most about their smartphones, it would be the keyboard. For even with the advent of the touch screen technology, the QWERTY keypad has stayed put in BB devices produced through the years, allowing consumers the same ease and speed they demand for their typing needs.
And as the company struggled with tough competition in recent years, BlackBerry is slowly but surely getting back on its feet with the introduction of new devices, which deliver their trademark keypad experience.
At the end of 2014 the company launched its flagship smartphone, the Passport; and followed on with the Classic at the beginning of 2015.
“A lot of BlackBerry users love our keyboard and they can’t explain why they do—they just love it,” enthused Damian Tay, BlackBerry Asia Pacific’s senior director of product management at the Classic’s Philippine launch in Buddha Bar, Makati City.
As a BB expert, Tay ventured into three possible reasons for the phenomenon: “The first is the sculpted keys, which if you notice, are individually sculpted with a ridge at the top and a flat surface at the bottom. These tell you where the keys begin and stop. Many [other companies]tried to copy this but we’ve sued them.”
The second reason, according to the senior director, has to be the stainless steel frets, which provide both aesthetics and function.
“With the stainless steel frets, you basically have a visual guide on where you’re fingers are—be they on the top, middle or bottom row,” Tay explained.
The last has to do with feel.
“The third thing is something I can’t show you . . . Some call it ‘clickiness;’ I call it tactility, which is the feedback that the keyboard gives a user. It’s so unique that it becomes so hard to explain, but our engineers have indeed spent a lot of time trying to get that right feedback.”
The characteristic is unique to the smartphone because hardcore fans can determine if a sample product has a keyboard that is either too soft or too hard.
Response to a demand
After elaborating on the DNA of a BB keypad, Tay proudly shared that the BlackBerry Classic was designed based on extensive customer feedback.
Conducting over 60 studies and interviewing over 600 individual BB users, the company discovered a clamor for a phone that feels familiar to the hands but provides an upgraded technology.
Tay recalled, “The 9900, launched in 2011, is a combination of a decades’ worth of devices that we had. A touch screen display, the classic navigation keys, the stainless steel frame, and the QWERTY keyboard. People who still use this device think it’s their most productive device ever.”
Gathering these hit features, BlackBerry upgraded the Classic to become a faster and securer device. It now runs on the latest BlackBerry 10 operating system, has 60 percent more screen space, and 50-percent longer battery life.
“The BlackBerry Classic has the best of both worlds,” Tay shared.
To be more specific, the BB Classic is built with a 1.5 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon Processor, a 2GB RAM, a 16GB storage that could be expanded up to 128GB with SD Card, and a 2MP front and 8MP rear cameras.
The phone also carries a 3.5 touch screen display in a durable Corning Gorilla 3 glass. Moreover, the famed keypad is combined with a trackpad that allows classic navigation.
The latest version of BB’s operating system by the way features the new BlackBerry 10 web browser; the Blend that brings messaging and content from the phone to the computer and other gadgets like the tablet; the first digital Assistant application; and the Hub that manages all conversations in emails, texts, BBM, phone calls, and social media. The OS further has its built-in protection against viruses, tampering and data leaks.
Finally, users can access a greater variety of professional and popular applications with Classic’s dual storefront via the BlackBerry World and the Amazon Appstore.
All these with that “clickiness” that makes a BlackBerry a BlackBerry.
BlackBerry Classic is available in MemoXpress stores in 22 locations across the Philippines. For more information, log on to www.BlackBerry.com/Classic.