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BlackBerry Goes Retro With Classic

New York —The long-awaited BlackBerry Classic, which combines the traditional look of the old BlackBerry Bold and Curve smartphones with the company’s latest touchscreen OS, is available today at Amazon and at $449 unlocked.

The 4G LTE/HSPA+ smartphone, designed for the T-Mobile and AT&T networks, is also available through Ingram Micro Mobility for resellers who target the enterprise market. BlackBerry is also making the device available to carriers around the world, and Verizon said it would offer a CDMA/LTE version early in 2015. AT&T also said it would offer the LTE/HSPA+ version but didn’t offrer a price or availability date.

BlackBerry Classic is positioned as a productivity-first smartphone that combines the touchscreen 10.3.1 OS with the old BlackBerry Bold’s optical track pad, physical QWERTY keyboard, menu and back buttons, and dedicated answer/hang-up phone buttons. The physical user interface enables one-handed typing and phone calling, the company said.

The Classic runs a newly expanded selection of vertical applications focused on specific industries such as healthcare, financial services and professional services.

Although it looks a lot like the old Bold, the Classic offers a 3x faster browser, 60 percent larger touchscreen at 3.5 inches, 50 percent longer battery life at up to 22 hours, and access not only to BlackBerry World for apps but also to the Amazon Appstore.

Other key features include Category 3 LTE and HSPA+42Mbps cellular data, 294 dpi 720 by 720 touchscreen with Corning Gorilla Glass 3, 1.5 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, 2GB RAM, 16GB of device storage, 128GB microD slot, and 2- and 8-megapixel cameras. The latter captures 1080p video at 30fps, and the former captures 720p video.

It also features 2.4GHz Wi-Fi b/g/n, 5GHz Wi-Fi a/n, Miracast, FM radio, Bluetooth LE with HDR, and NFC.

With the updated BlackBerry 10.3.1 operating system, the phone offers updated icons, an instant -action bar placing most commonly accessed functions in the center of the screen, and BlackBerry Blend, which delivers smartphone messages and content to computers and tablets, including instant message notifications, personal email, BBM and text messages, documents, calendar, contacts and media.

The OS also adds BlackBerry Assistant, BlackBerry’s first personal assistant. It can be used with voice and text commands, and it’s promoted as the only smartphone assistant that accesses both personal and protected work content.