BlackBerry Classic Price in the Philippines is Php 20,990, Release Date is February 5, 2015 : Is There Still Room for It in the Market?

"The market is already flooded with Android smartphones and iPhone is taking off again. Mac, do you really think there's still room for these new BlackBerry models here in the Philippines?" That's what my friend messaged me on Facebook upon seeing my photos from the BlackBerry Classic media launch that I attended yesterday.

BlackBerry Classic Philippines, BlackBerry Classic
Me with Cameron Vernest, BlackBerry Country Manager for the Philippines and Singapore, and the BlackBerry Classic.

To be honest, that question was also at the back of my mind on my way to Buddha Bar, the event venue -- which made me all the more excited to see what the Canadian company has to offer in their latest release.

As some of you know, along with my Nokia N8, Nokia N9, and iPhone 4S, I had several BlackBerry smartphones - including BlackBerry Torch 9810 and BlackBerry Curve 8520 - as part of my daily handset line-up prior to the rise of Android. I was so in love then with the fretted keyboard which made it easier for me to compose and send text messages and emails.

I guess, just like many other BlackBerry fans, I felt a bit alienated when the brand started to transition to full touchscreen devices and kind of pushed their keyboard-laden devices to the side (i.e, the fact that Q10 was released second only to Z10) in an effort to better compete with Apple. Frankly, that made it a whole lot easier for me to try out other brands like Samsung, HTC, Sony, and LG, among others.

The release of BlackBerry Passport in the Philippines last November 26, 2014 gave me hope that the legendary handset company is indeed turning things around and is doing its best to win back the fan-base that it lost due to changes in strategy that didn't quite help its cause. And this recent launch of the BlackBerry Classic - which looks largely similar to one of its biggest selling devices in the Philippines - made me want to rekindle my love affair with BB all the more.

BlackBerry Classic Philippines, BlackBerry Classic

BlackBerry Classic Philippines, BlackBerry Classic

Holding the BlackBerry Classic, it's not hard to imagine legions of former BB loyalists being instantly smitten with it. The handset has all the things that BlackBerry - during the time when the Canadian company was a top smartphone maker in the world - had come to be known for: a tactile fretted Full QWERTY keyboard, great build, and an optical trackpad for easily navigating the interface ~ plus a whole lot more.

BlackBerry Classic Philippines, BlackBerry Classic

Quoting my earlier post about this phone, "BlackBerry Classic looks largely similar to the best selling BlackBerry Bold 9900 from 2011 but is superior to the previous flagship in four ways. First, it has a browser that's three times faster browser. Second, it has 60 percent more screen space. Third, Classic has 50 percent longer battery life. And finally, the 2015 release features a greater variety of applications through BlackBerry World and the Amazon Appstore."

BlackBerry Classic Philippines, BlackBerry Classic

BlackBerry Classic Philippines, BlackBerry Classic

According to the Canadian electronics giant, the top features of the BlackBerry Classic that drive productivity, communications and collaboration include:

BlackBerry Keyboard and Trackpad Combination – The QWERTY keyboard has stood the test of time as the iconic BlackBerry feature that users know and trust. Crafted for optimal speed and accuracy, the BlackBerry Classic’s QWERTY keyboard gives users the control and confidence to communicate quickly and clearly using one hand with a trackpad and classic navigation keys.

New BlackBerry Browser – The BlackBerry 10 web browser is amazingly fast and astoundingly beautiful. That’s why rates it amongst the top mobile browsers for web fidelity.* Access your favorite online content as it was meant to be seen, faster than ever before and with unlimited browser tabs.

BlackBerry Classic Philippines, BlackBerry Classic

Larger Screen and Battery – The BlackBerry Classic offers a form factor optimized for power communicators with a 3.5-inch touch screen display, 294 dpi HD resolution and Corning Gorilla Glass 3 for greater durability. The BlackBerry Classic also offers a large battery capacity and state-of-the-art battery optimization software. With up to 22 hours of battery power, you can be confident that BlackBerry Classic will be ready to deliver results when you need it.

Premium Specifications – The device is built with durable materials mixed with top-of-the-line technology. This includes a 1.5 GHz Dual Core Krait and Adreno 225 based Qualcomm Snapdragon Processor, 2GB RAM, 16GB of device storage (expandable by up to 128GB via uSD), and a 2 MegaPixel front and 8 MegaPixel rear-facing camera with enhanced optics and upgraded imaging sensors.

BlackBerry Classic Philippines, BlackBerry Classic

BlackBerry 10 OS 10.3.1 – The BlackBerry Classic comes preloaded with the BlackBerry 10.3.1 operating system, offering a fresh look that incorporates updated icons and an instant action bar so that each user’s most commonly accessed functions are in the center of their screen. With this new operating system, users gain access to powerful features, including:
  • BlackBerry Blend – BlackBerry Blend brings messaging and content that is on your BlackBerry smartphone to your computer and tablet. Get instant message notifications, read and respond to your work and personal email, BBM and text messages, and access your documents, calendar, contacts and media in real time on whatever device you are on, powered by your BlackBerry.
  • BlackBerry Assistant – The BlackBerry Assistant is BlackBerry’s first digital assistant and can be used with voice and text commands to help users manage work and personal email, contacts, calendar and other native BlackBerry 10 applications. It’s the only smartphone assistant on the market today that can access both personal and work content in your work perimeter. BlackBerry Assistant intelligently determines how to respond to you based on how you interact with it – if you type, it responds silently, if you speak, it speaks back and if you activate over Bluetooth, it speaks back with additional context because it assumes you might not have access to the screen.
  • Dual app storefronts for a wealth of professional and popular apps:
  1. BlackBerry World – BlackBerry World showcases essential productivity apps for business professionals looking to drive efficient communications and collaboration
  2. Amazon Appstore – Preloaded on BlackBerry Classic, users can access popular Android apps and games through the Amazon Appstore including Candy Crush Saga, Pinterest, Kindle for Android and Cut the Rope 2. Users can also scan Android apps for malware and privacy issues prior to installation using BlackBerry Guardian.
  • BlackBerry Hub – The one place to manage all your conversations – email, texts, BBM, phone calls, social media and more. You can even glance at what’s next in your calendar. It’s always available with a single swipe to help you stay organized, in control and on top of all your conversations.
BlackBerry Classic Philippines, BlackBerry Classic

"BlackBerry Classic delivers the unique combination of our BlackBerry QWERTY keyboard, physical buttons and a trackpad to aid navigation and control – all powered by the updated BlackBerry 10 OS 10.3.1. The resulting user experience will make BlackBerry Classic a go-to productivity tool for customers here in the Philippines, BlackBerry Classic is a secure device that feels familiar in their hands, with the added performance and agility they need to be competitive in today’s busy world," shared Mr. Cameron Vernest.

BlackBerry Classic Philippines, BlackBerry Classic

Having shared all these, let me go back to the question of my friend: I really believe that there's room for both BlackBerry Passport and BlackBerry Classic not just in the corporate scene but also in the consumer market. There are many types of mobile users with varying needs and wants and I'm sure that there are those who would prefer to own a device that has everything that these two models have to offer. Just imagine if BlackBerry becomes successful in capturing even half of their former followers in the Philippines, that'd be big for the brand.

BlackBerry Classic Philippines, BlackBerry Classic

Price and Availability: BlackBerry Classic will be available across the country starting on February 5, 2015 -- exclusively via MemoXpress. Its official suggested retail price is Php 20,999 (far more affordable than Php 35,790 BlackBerry Passport) and it will be out in two colors, namely, Black and White.

Mr. Edward Tan, Vice President for Operations of MemoXpress, said: "We are excited to be at the forefront of powering the lifestyles of mobile professionals here in the Philippines by being first to bring BlackBerry Classic to this market. Through our partnership with BlackBerry we are committed to providing the best mobile experience to customers who value communications and productivity. BlackBerry Classic delivers on this commitment, with its powerful specifications and the unique QWERTY keyboard."

TechPinas Smartphone Technical Specs Table (TSTST)
Name BlackBerry Classic
Type Candybar with Full QWERTY Keyboard and Touchscreen
Price Category High End (Flagship Level)
Dimensions131 x 72.4 x 10.2 mm
Weight 177 grams
Available Colors White, Black
Operating System BlackBerry 10.3.1 OS
Display 3.5 inches (~40.8% screen-to-body ratio), 720 x 720 pixels (~294 ppi pixel density), IPS LCD, capacitive touchscreen, 16M colors, Optical TrackPad
Processor Dual Core 1.5 GHz Krait CPU, Adreno 225 GPU, Qualcomm MSM8960 Snapdragon chipset
Internal Storage 16 GB ROM, expandable via microSD card slot supporting up to 128 GB
Camera Main: 8 MegaPixels, 3264 x 2448, autofocus, LED flash
Front: 2 MegaPixels
Video Capture Main: Full HD 1080p 30 frames per second
Front: 720p
Audio and Video Playback MP3, WMA, WAV, eAAC+, FlAC, DivX, XviD, MP4, WMV, H.264 player
Ports microUSB v2.0 (Slimport), 3.5 mm audio jack
Connectivity Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, Wi-Fi Direct, DLNA, Wi-Fi hotspot, Bluetooth v4.0 with A2DP, EDR, NFC, 3G HSPA+, LTE
GPS Yes, with GLONASS and A-GPS
Sensors Accelerometer, Digital Compass, Gyroscope, Proximity
Network 2G Network GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900, 3G Network HSDPA 850 / 900 / 1700 / 1900 / 2100, 4G Network LTE 700 / 800 / 850 / 900 / 1700 / 1800 / 1900 / 2100 / 2600 (Bands 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 13, 17, 20)
SIM Card Type nanoSIM
Battery Non-removable Li-Ion 2,515 mAh battery battery
Uptime 348 Hours of Standby, 17 Hours 10 Minutes of Talk Time, 70 Hours of Music Play
Value-Added Features Touchscreen and QWERTY Keyboard combo, Amazon App Store for access to Android applications, BlackBerry Blend, Optical TrackPad
Announcement Philippines: January 29, 2015 (Media Launch at Buddha Bar in Makati City)
Availability Philippines: February 5, 2015
Price Official SRP: Php 20,990

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