TECH

BlackBerry launches Classic smartphone in last-ditch effort

BlackBerry CEO John Chen introduces the company's new phone, the BlackBerry Classic, during a news conference Dec. 17, 2014, in New York.

BlackBerry CEO John Chen introduces the company's new phone, the BlackBerry Classic, during a news conference Dec. 17, 2014, in New York.  (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)

BlackBerry is returning to its roots with a new smartphone called the Classic, featuring a traditional keyboard at a time when rival Apple and Android phones — and most smartphone customers — have embraced touch screens.

BlackBerry is courting its core customer, the business user. The physical keyboard is something traditional BlackBerry users prefer because they find it easier to type on than the touch screen devices. The company is also emphasizing battery life and security as a way to set its phone apart from competitors.

The company is trying to stay relevant on the hardware side of the business as it attempts to pivot toward becoming an enterprise security and consumer software company. Whether the Classic will sell enough to keep it in the hardware business is unclear.