BlackBerry CEO confirms Bold 9900 re-release, three new ‘high-end’ smartphones

Douglas Soltys

March 29, 2014 10:22am

We covered this during BlackBerry’s Q4 quarterly earning results yesterday, but this news is so striking that it deserves its own feature. During the earnings call, BlackBerry CEO John Chen confirmed that the company would soon restart production of the Bold 9900, a device originally released in 2011, and one of the last BB7 smartphones.

Chen stated in an interview with press after the call that he’s surprised by attention his decision has received, which belies both the brazen approach that has characterized his short tenure, as well as BlackBerry’s current business reality. 2.3 million of the 3.4 million devices BlackBerry sold in Q4 were BB7 devices; Chen is sticking with what works as he slowly builds BlackBerry’s hardware division back to profitability.

To that end, the three “high-end smartphones” Chen said BlackBerry is set to release in the next 18 months will have a distinctly familiar feel. One device is the BlackBerry Q20, what Mr. Chen has dubbed ‘the Classic’ — a BlackBerry 10 redux of the Bold heritage featuring the return of the trackpad and function keys removed with the release of the Q10. Little else is known about the other two devices, other than that they will also be made for the QWERTY faithful that Chen rightly considers BlackBerry’s core hardware — and philosophy — base.

Prior to Chen’s arrival, BlackBerry’s leaders for the last three years had concerned themselves almost obsessively with the massive platform transition between BB7 and B10 — between the old RIM of the past and a new BlackBerry of the future. Mr. Chen simply doesn’t care, or perhaps doesn’t have the luxury. He needs to keep BlackBerry afloat, even if it means playing the hits rather than pushing the new material. What’s old is new again.

  • cvbcvchhfghf

    you know your new phone sucks when people rather buy a phone made in 2011. LOL

    • Alejandro Díaz

      You haven’t tried a BlackBerry10 smartphone, shut up please.

    • barrist

      It seems many many many people haven’t tried a BB10 phone. That’s the problem.

    • Alejandro Díaz

      Yep, that’s a marketing problem

    • Balls O’Steele

      The problem is simply that the Q10/Z30 is too expensive. Cut the price and people will buy them.

    • Alejandro Díaz

      I agree, just like they did with the Z10.

    • Jay

      Have you done any market research? It’s $0 down on almost every carrier. And, the phone is really worth the $600 retail price tag when compared to other smart phones. Just cuz you can’t play all the games doesn’t mean it’s not worth every penny as a tool for communicating. You know… Like phones were invented for…?

    • ATInsider

      All BB10 devices run Android app/games flawlessly. And in most cases better than on a Android.

      BBRY engineers are smart.

    • Gurnoorinder Singh

      Exactly. India they priced Z10 and q10 equivalent to Samsung and iPhone. Half of the bb faithful moved towards Android or Apple. Had been using the bold 9900 for 2 years

    • Morgan

      Marketing won’t help you when you release buggy phones with missing features.

    • Alejandro Díaz

      Works for Apple, what “missing features” are you even talking about anyway?

    • Jamie

      dude ur ignorant LOL

    • Alejandro Díaz

      u r*

      u r = you are
      ur = your

      Sure, bruh.

    • ATInsider

      He asked a simple question? What missing features? iOS and Android are missing features versus BB10’s superiority.

    • Dimitri

      Exactly true. All they do is read the negative articles & not trying out the phone but the bash it without using it. Sad to say those people shouldn’t have a opinion if they do not use or ever used a phone.

    • cvbcvchhfghf

      i think the problem is that they assume their customer base wanted something else, but really they just wanted the same thing over again.

    • Dimitri

      I have spoken to thousands in the downtown area. I work in the BMO tower here in Toronto & i see thousands that work in the business towers every day. You know, as a business person you do tend to talk to many people & most i have seen never tried the Blackberry 10 devices due to the negative feedback others post. I show them my Q10 & let them play with it. They liked it & some did not. I have seen people come back with a Q10 / Z30 & said they love it.

      Some users on here tho i can say never tried it due to the way they talk about it. If you tried a device out, you would know exactly what is wrong with it. Not copying what others say.

      The ones that use a device should be able to give reviews & feedback, not the ones that sit on their asses talking trash without using the phone or even touching it. This goes for any device / product & OS.

      Months ago a few posters admitted on here & others blogs / forums that they never used a Blackberry device but always posted hatred on Blackberry. Same can be said about anyone & any OS. Those users shouldn’t be allowed to post any negativity feedback unless they truly have used the device.

    • cvbcvchhfghf

      wow my return/exchange reply got deleted? damn mobilesyrup hard at work!

    • cartfan88

      Nah I call it common sense…bravo MS

    • righttoanopinion

      the Z30 is one of the best phone on the market and only costed 80$ with 2 year contract. it is wayyyyyy faster then any of the Iphones, we have compared them in our shop

    • ATInsider

      The Z30 remains the best full touch smart phone ever created to date. The Passport is the most innovative smart phone ever created.

      The culprit? MARKETING. BBRY needs to beef up its marketing big time.

    • Keith Harrison

      I think the new OS would have been far more successful if BlackBerry didn’t remove the track pad, menu key, and escape key from the QWERTY device. I’ve tried the Q10 briefly and it definitely seemed odd not to have those dedicated keys.

      The new OS, however, is phenomenal. It’s extremely fluid and the HUB is the most useful thing to happen to phones since they were given the ability to make phone calls.

    • Jay

      I’m a z10 user and can tell you that it took about a week for me to get used to using Blackberry without a trackpad/menu/escape button. Once I had tho, it was weird going back to having to use buttons. Once I was used to it, gestures made SO much more sense! And I feel that the Q10 did a great job of keeping to the style/feel of a Blackberry device. Again, once used to the gestures, I didn’t feel like I was missing the trackpad/escape/menu buttons.

    • cvbcvchhfghf

      tried enough at work to know that i wouldnt want one, and judging by the sales numbers, neither do most people.

    • Morgan

      Who wants to buy from a company that’s on the way down. Problem is you want support for the next 2 years at least to leverage your phone purchase.

      BB needs to convince people it’s here to stay, then sales will come back.

    • Keith Harrison

      Lots of companies go through financial difficulties. BlackBerry has ZERO debt and nearly $3Billion cash on hand.

      3.4 million new devices were sold last quarter, so there are millions of people who want to buy from a company that’s on the way down.

      United Airlines, American Airlines, US Airways, Air Canada, Delta Airlines, GM, Chrysler, Chase Bank, etc., etc. have all filed for bankruptcy protection at some stage in the near past, and yet they’re all still around and thriving.

      BlackBerry HASN’T EVEN GOTTEN TO THE POINT OF REQUIRING BANKRUPTCY PROTECTION, and yet people are tripping over themselves to predict that they are going out of business. Those predictions have been around for at least the past 3-4 years. And guess what? They haven’t gone under yet.

      IF they do eventually file for protection, that doesn’t mean your device will immediately stop working. If BlackBerry becomes a memory and I can’t buy another BB device, I’ll switch to the latest and greatest Android device on the market at the time. The phone will work on AT&T’s network for as long as I keep it. The typical lifespan of smartphone is under 2 years anyway.

    • realitycheck

      exactly….. look at HTC, that company has been on the verge for awhile now but people still buy it…. oh and it has the damn secret sauce android that people keep saying BB should move to and look where it still is…

    • Morgan

      The company could have very well been in bankruptcy protection by now if the federal government didn’t drop them 1 billion. Similarly, if that idi0t Thorsten Heins stayed as CEO much longer the company would have been ashes by now. Don’t kid yourself, BB revenue went down from 5.5 Billion to 1.3 Billion since 2011. Meanwhile their expenses are still above revenue, so they keep bleeding cash, while massively laying people off.

      Don’t get me wrong, I’d want BB to survive… but they have to earn their reputation back, which right now is pretty cr4p. For example, one product release without major bugs or missing features would be nice… recently it’s been one PR disaster after another.

    • Phi Nguyen

      Sorry but bbry is in debt they sold 1.2 billion in loans which has to be repaid with interest and they just lost another 500m their cash flow is 2.7 billion including the 1.2 billion in debtensures which is stock which collects interest and have to be repai
      Not to mention they already missed another loan target of 500m which is why they are down 500m this quarter to cover the losses they aren’t making profit they are hiding behind debt to cover huge losses and write downs
      Sorry was meant for keith harrison

    • Jay

      Thank you so much for shedding some light to all this! I’m tired of people complaining that Blacberry is going under just because they’ve seen losses for a while. People are so used to saying BB sucks that they’ve failed to realize that the stock price is over double what it was around this time last year! (Didn’t look it up so my timeline may be off…) Instead, most people are content to say that Blackberry sucks strictly based on the fact that it’s not an Android or iPhone.

    • Mark

      Don’t forget, APPLE was almost Bankrupt too at one point……

    • ATInsider

      Anybody claiming BBRY is going under is there figment of the imagination. And writing about such nonsense and people believing it.

      But good point you made. They need strong marketing and strong devices. At this point people and the industry rates BBRY based on devices and it’s sales.

    • southerndinner

      I’ve tried it and sold a few. About half of the ones I sold came back, which is virtually unheard of.

      Face it, people hate BB10 and it’s not because they haven’t tried it.

    • Alejandro Díaz

      I wanted to reply to you but you haven’t given me any arguments, except that some people returned the phones(probably because there’s a learning curve and sales reps don’t know anything about BB10 and don’t teach people how to use the phones, which is again a marketing problem).

    • Kristen

      I have worked with two different companies that deal with all carriers and I have been selling the last three years.
      You cannot dare say that we do not know what we are talking about. Blackberry sends out training modules that are a REQUIREMENT to complete for every single carrier. So I have done the same training about 5 times for each device.
      Face the facts: the only people who buy BB anymore (slim to none) are teenagers who’s parents want a cheap phone and plan or hardcore businessmen. Which usually, they want an iPhone. People leave “upset” that they’re walking away with mediocre Androids or BB because they’re cheap and what they can afford – NOT what they WANT.
      So, that was super rude of you to say.

    • wahwah

      Wow, quite the arrogant little f****r, arentcha?

    • Steven

      his name is Alejandro so leave him be.

    • Dimitri

      They do not suck per say. More people rather use the Bold 9900 due to the Tool belt ( Trackpad, Call buttons, Menu buttons). They rather use that.

      I used & have the Q10 & bold 9900. Love them both but if Blackberry like they are saying that the Q20 will have the tool belt i can say for a fact it will sell like the Bold 9900.

      The Bold 9900 was the Best Bold & keyboard phone Blackberry ever released & many can say this.

    • cartfan88

      Funny I was talking to someone just 2 days ago…that was saying the 9900 was one of the best phones they ever used for business. If RIM can generate profit of of it I don’t see the problem. Apples made good money off of selling the ipad 2 released in…2011 until now. And they just re-released the ipad 4. So it happens and maybe in this case it does make sense for BB to do so.

    • barrist

      Apple stopped selling the 2011 iPad 2 recently. Blackberry is PLANNING on releasing a 2011 phone. There is a slight difference. I like the 9900 ALOT, it was a great design and felt great in the hand, but for today’s phone consumers, it’s another sign of the failure of BB10.

    • Keith Harrison

      I don’t think it’s an OS issue. It’s a hardware/form factor issue in my opinion. I owned a 9900 and still believe it was the best & most versatile handset. Physical keyboard for typing. Track pad to operate as a mouse for hard to reach point and click operation. Touch screen for easy access to opening apps.

      The Q10 had a great OS, but removed the “tool belt”, which means the options are touch screen or keyboard. It’s awkward to go from tactile keyboard use to touch screen gestures for opening & closing apps.

      The Q20 will bring back the “sweet spot” for BlackBerry on its QWERTY device, and I’m sure many 9900 users will then upgrade.

    • Jay

      Is that a BB10 failure or a failure of people’s willingness to try and learn gestures? I have a BB10 and have used 3 generations of BB before this. Losing the tool belt was a bit strange at first but within a week I was trying to use my BB gestures on my Android device as well and got very frustrated when they wouldn’t work!

    • barrist

      lol people not willing to try BB10 means BB10 is a failure. You don’t get points for having a good product that noone wants to try.

    • Laer

      Unfortunately you are wrong. The re release of the 9900 is a good thing. Companies need a crappy cheap phone they can stuff down their employees throats.

      Got one in my pocket right now, and I hate it but dollars and cents sells. My IT dept doesn’t care it’s cheap, indestructible and easy for them to manage.

      Add BB compressed data and they save even more cause they control tethering and it’s so slow everyone just uses their own phone.

      Sad but true. I could smash three of these a year and it would still be cheaper.

    • Dimitri

      That is true & i also have talked to a few people that told me that too. The Bold 9900 was & ever will be the Best Blackberry Keyboard device period. This is why they are bringing it back.

      Blackberry can make more money out of this if the market & business are demanding for it & seeing as he is the only CEO that is making any right decisions. Either way its great to see the Bold 9900 back!

    • Stephen_81

      I disagree.
      People use the 9900 over the Q10/Q5 not because of the belt exclusively, but because of BES5, and BIS. BB10 is not supported by either which means a fundamental change to their user type. And for BES installs it’s huge money and risk moving from BES5 to BES10 and 2 environments to manage.

    • Dimitri

      Lets Agree to Disagree but that is true. BES5 & BIS let alone made the BB 9900 a great device.

    • Stephen_81

      Well because I listened to the call, and look at BES5 numbers, my stance is based on businesscase for the 9900 to be reproduced

    • Jay

      I was wondering if this had something to do with it. From a consumer base, I couldn’t see a great reason to bring it back. But if the previous BES versions don’t/can’t support BB10, I can understand a corporations hesitance to switch their IT systems to facilitate a new phone…

    • Laer

      I agree with the IT not wanting to manage more then one solution.

      Personally I’d go BYOD and use third party. But then my companies IT department is so horrible last time I updated a number in the exchange directory they called me back and asked why I had another phone. I told them I had two phone lines on one cell and he asked me three times more if I was running a second phone because his mind was blown.

      This seems par for the course. Manage multiple systems? Ha. Email was down for almost a month. Good luck. This is a 400 million dollar company, they’ll be buying lots more 9900’s. Lol for the next decade.

    • Jay

      e-mail down for a month…? How did you live?!?!

    • Laer

      Lol I did just fine… Pretty sure a lot of money was lost off the bottom line though.

      Today the phones were down, again. Lucky for me I’m b hourly and I enjoy getting paid to do nothing.

    • Keith Harrison

      The new OS is actually AWESOME! I think the removal of the buttons on the Q10 (new QWERTY device w/OS10) feels a bit strange. The full gesture-based BB10 OS works extraordinarily well on a full touch device. My opinion is that the form factor of the 9900 was perfect- QWERTY keybaord, dedicated buttons and track pad, and touch screen. The Q10 removed some of that, and it’s returning with the Q20. BlackBerry has learned not to tinker with perfection the way they did with the Q10.

    • righttoanopinion

      Z30 is better then all current phones on the market. might want to check it out instead of sounding like a complete ignorant. it smokes any Iphones or Samsungs

    • Phi Nguyen

      Lol its not best in anything lol
      Maybe battery only because of the huge battery inside tell me that when the battery dies and you can’t replace the battery

      BB10 is the worst os inefficient and worse uI as you have to go thru multiple menus to get to settings you normally do in 2 clicks on iPhone or Android

      Android runs on 512 megs ram and duo core
      Apple runs on 512 megs ram on iPhone 4 on single core

      Bbry runs BB10 on a minimum of 2 gigs memory even though Z3 is running 1.5 gigs memory who knows what they lose with that and a duo core cpu

    • righttoanopinion

      You obviously never tried one. We have all models at work and the z30 smokes them all.
      Not to mention how fast you can type with the word prediction feature.

      Get to a store and go try one instead of reading specs.

      Your ignorance of the current products is hilarious.

      Feel free to stick to your garbage unsecured iPhone

    • Phi Nguyen

      Ignorance yet you don’t know anything about me. Being a blind fan doesn’t give you the right to guess and call people names.

      I actually tried a z10 and z30 try referring to bbry’w own specs before you assume
      I returned the z10 after a week of the most horrible experiences of my life of battery pulls and random reboots

      I tried everything from alpha devices which were embarrassing with 2 m load time on clicks .

      Z10 with unnatural gestures and buried menus sorry but you can’t call learning new gestures for 2 mind natural
      Same problem with z30
      Maybe actually trying a device will open your eyes
      BB10 requires 2 gigs of memory by rim Pires own specs minus the Z3 who knows what they cut to get it to run on 1.5gigs

      Android and ios run on 512 megs ram
      So who is more efficient and one core for ios and duo core for android
      Extra cores are for more functions that BB10 lacks like video editing and basic camera features like Panromic camera in most phones and even hdr which I might add bbry just added those features in 10.3 they admit that older versions weren’t as good even a equalizer which is still missing

      And I’m not the only one that thinks this
      Try the millions of returned and unsold bbry 10 phones in bbry’w own werehouse

    • boneflute

      The last android phone with 512M of RAM was probably shipped in 2010. Octacores are now out.

      Funny, other bashers took issue with BBRY’s 384MB of RAM used on BB OS5 phones as being too low…

    • Phi Nguyen

      there is a huge difference between requiring 512megs ram and requiring 2gigs
      bbry is inefficent as an os check the developers comments it is a resource hog bbry wont release any phone without alot of memory oddly enough early q10 had 1gig and seem to run fine but their later models had 2gigs so something is up with that

      yes you can get androids with more memory however with the base OS not requiring that much memory allows you to do more with the memory such as video editing, photo editing , netflix none of these are native to bbry 10

      and does a heck of alot more then bb10
      you can do more with an android then a bb10 natively without apps panaromic camera which was only introduced recently
      blur camera
      true multitasking not background browser screens
      like youtube and a local video even a typing a word document on a split screen while you read another or watch a video
      not browser screens being played in multiple screens doing nothing

    • ATInsider

      Wrong. People will buy a BBOS device because it’s more secure then all the iPhones and Androids.

      You may also want to try the greatest mobile OS ever created in existence. Its called BB10. You are better off educating yourself instead of making yourself look like an Aris.

  • barrist

    The last good phone by Blackberry. But to actually re-release it… sad.

    What they should have done is push BB10 phones with the Nexus model, cheap direct from Blackberry instead of through carriers with a $150 3 year contract and a $650 off-contract price tag.

    • cartfan88

      Not a bad idea…direct and unlocked. You might be onto something.

    • Dimitri

      They already are doing it direct & unlocked but for full price on their site. Its not cheap tho.

    • Phi Nguyen

      actually if you live in the US there is a 100dollar off deal and z10 go for 199

      they are 100-200bucks off their retail z10 are discounted because they were written off last 3 quarters
      they are also sold direct from bbry in canada

    • Stephen_81

      And how many users do you manage under your BES5 installation?

      Because this decision is purely based on the BES 5 install base. BES12 isn’t released yet so BlackBerry is continuing support for some 50,000 installations

  • Metamagico

    I have a Z30. Too bad it came out so late, but I really like it, especially the predictive word swiping.

  • Plazmic Flame

    Just give me a Z10 with a physical keyboard and I’ll be all over that. I’d make the switch immediately!!

    • cvbcvchhfghf

      isnt that… the Q10? /troll

    • Plazmic Flame

      Says the troll that never used BB10 before. Have you even seen one? The Q10 doesn’t have the same screen size as the Z10…

    • cvbcvchhfghf

      lol calm down bro, i thought by putting /troll, people would know that i was being sarcastic, but i guess reading is too hard. but on a serious note, wouldnt you find the phone to be too long if you add a keyboard to the z10.

    • Plazmic Flame

      Hmmm, I didn’t see the “/troll” the first time but, I’ll say “my bad” then for going off. A Z10 with a physical keyboard would be possible and make it as tall as the Z30. They would just need to shave down the bezels a bit, especially the one with the logo at the bottom and it could work. Even still, if they reduce the screen to 4 inches instead of 4.2, it could have a physical keyboard and still be workable.

  • Eric Parisien

    I have a S4 and like it a lot, I however missed the keyboard so much that I just ordered an older Blackberry Torch that I liked so much. If they build it, they will come!

    • hardy83

      I too LLLLOVE physical keyboards.
      I’m currently using a Samsung Galaxy Q which has a keypad and it’s a piece of crap. lol
      I’m really tempted to get a BB, but am either going to wait for a Q20 or see if any new Android phones come out with a keypad. lol which will be never.

      I would totally throw money at a Torch stile BB device, one with a big screen and keypad. I don’t know why they don’t do that. Did no one like the Torch? I dunno.

    • Phi Nguyen

      Update your phonemail Eric to 4.4.2 you will love the way it runs faster and the increased battery life

    • Eric Parisien

      I am already on 4.4.2, as I said, I like my S4, I just miss my keyboard, maybe also just BB nostalgia!

  • Marty

    I own the Z10 and I love love love it! It’s seriously awesome and it’s Canadian! It’s a win win for us in Canada! Go go go! Try it and you’ll love it

  • Ian

    These BlackBerry 7 phones are selling in second and third world countries, ie. developing countries. People in places like Nepal can’t afford to spend $700 or more on a phone. We live in a global market and you need to look at the big picture instead of just thinking about what you think is cool. By the way the Z30 is amazing and has made my life much more productive.

    • Kenny Rawlins

      Even in those markets,android outsells them, and windows Phone also outsells them in some of those markets. You can still be fubctional and cool while remaining affordable.

    • Ian

      Certainly you are right though in South Africa BlackBerry has had a higher market percentage than even Samsung. Still if I owned a company that was back on track to making money again I would be happy. Lots of work to do still but this company is not going under for a while and it remains to be seen how it will be performing in say 5 years from now. Its certainly fun watching the market

    • Kenny Rawlins

      I will hate for them to go down, I personally use a Windows Phone because as of now that’s what I prefer however, i make sure I try every major phone on every OS that comes out for at least a week
      And i am not loyal to any whoever serves my needs best gets my money at that moment.

  • Kenny Rawlins

    This is the same kind of thinking that brought BlackBerry down to begin with. They refused to make decent touch screen phones because they wanted to stay loyal to their base. While they were doing this, people were buying iphones and androids both of which are all touch.
    You run a profitable business by increasing your customer base, they need to start making phones that appeals to a broader audience and hence can draw in new customers which as a result boosts sales. You will understand this if you are in sales or run a business
    Either ways blackberry fans don’t upgrade their phones frequently so even if they release phones that only appeal to that base they won’t survive.
    Look at the Z10/Z30 nice touch phones but let’s be honest, they look ugly, huge bezels and the UI itself is not visually appealing,it lacks a cool factor or a wow aspect why will someone leave their IPhone, Android or Even Windows Phone for that?

    • cvbcvchhfghf

      i can already tell that 8 blackberry fans is gonna reply to this one.

    • Ian

      Someone would leave their iPhone for a phone like the Z30 as I did, not because it’s the best phone in the world, but because it’s functions are amazing for business people who don’t care about being considered cool. It’s about productivity and simplicity for some. Also the iPhone is an apple product and android is an operating system as well as windows phone. I think you meant to say iOS?

    • Kenny Rawlins

      Let me tackle this one at a time:
      -Yes i meant iOS, either ways Iphones are the only phones running iOS
      -how many people Are there like you?don’t look too far,the numbers will answer that. Look i hate to broke it to you but it’s beyond times where people didn’t care about aesthetics especially given the fact that you have a lot more young people in the business world nowadays. And i don’t know if you have heard about the BYOD trend! Businesses are starting to cut cost by not providing phones to their employees but rather supporting the employees’ personal devices
      -As for simplicity and productivity, blackberry fans want the navigation panel back because the lack of it made the current BB10 devices too complicated. I think iOS,Windows Phone and Android are productive enough for what you need from a phone in the business world.

  • deltatux

    I have family who are staunch Blackberry fans. The older family members are the ones who don’t want the BB10, they wanted a new device with a familiar interface. That’s why they kept getting BB7 devices even though I protested saying BB7 is dead and it’s time to move on to BB10. Unfortunately Blackberry needs to convince these consumers why they want BB10 over their BB7 devices. Especially those who aren’t heavy app users.

    • J-Ro

      I think this news is for the past customers. Some don’t want to constantly have to learn new things about their phones. That is why the iPhone does so well. This should be seen as a great directional move for BBRY.

  • realitycheck

    why cant they retrofit a minimal version of bb10 for the old bb7 phones? it would help greatly to segue people to the newer bb10 phones.

    • hardy83

      I doubt the hardware of the Bold and older phones can handle the new OS.

    • Stephen_81

      Not enough memory on the old phones, and BB10 doesn’t work with BES5

    • Sweet

      Part of the reason why people aren’t moving from BBOS to BB10 is that BB10 lacks several features that BBOS has.

  • Guest

    Screen real-estate is the need, not just for cool factor but for productivity and ease of use, windows went flat in not developing a new version of their pocket PC with a much larger slide out keyboard like on the VZ6700.

    Blackberry has productive function and many people could do without the touch screen in business apps, but doing without screen real-estate in today’s world is simply a bad move.

    So Blackberry isn’t developing a phone that someone can really sink their teeth into in their declining market; it is looking like they are trying to keep their head above water, not having the capital or the branding momentum to develop and launch an improved competitive product.

    Like Motorola who was ahead of the curve with Razor fell short with Iphone; blackberry was ahead of the curve for a decade. If you don’t adapt quickly in the smart phone market you die, ending up not being able to keep up with the pack.

    Who knows if blackberry is trying to build capitalization by reintroducing a phone they already have tooling for to fund a re-imagined blackberry, or just trying to stay alive.

    They cannot compete in the touch screen market and to keep their old customers loyal and build new customers the BB10 isn’t going to fly. A productive re-imagined slide out BB is the way to go…

    • J-Ro

      Touch screen market? The only thing that these touch screen companies (Apple and Samsung) have over any other company is deep pockets for marketing. Samsung and Apple have amazing customer loyalty due to great marketing. Most people don’t consider anything else because they haven’t heard as much about anything else other than what commercials tell them.

  • Dani Sarfati

    Uhh, I don’t understand this at all, unless they are planning to sell the 9900 in emerging markets. Most carriers won’t bring phones into their network unless they are lte capable since 2012, the 9900 is almost 3 years old.

    They should focus getting the BB10 experience up to where bb7 was and bill the q20 as the natural upgrade from the 9900. Would you really sign another 2 year contract on a phone that is 3 years old already?

    • Stephen_81

      It isn’t about selling them to carriers, it is about keeping their BES5 installation base happy.

      As was said in the Call, and on other occasions BlackBerry has a large install base of BES5, and many organization are not willing to run multiple MDM’s for company owned devices, Until BES12 is launched BlackBerry doesn’t have a solution for BES5 users, so BlackBerry must continue to support them with hardware that they need.

      Thorsten expected a faster uptake and more willingness from Enterprise to run multiple MDM’s unfortunately for him BES5 is really full featured and BES10 didn’t match it, and from an organizational standpoint why run 2 MDM’s,
      BlackBerry is showing BES5 businesses they will continue to support OS7 beyond 2015 which was suppose to be the EOL date and that hardware will be available as long as demand is up.

      This isn’t a move for the fickle consumer thinking about a $500 device, this is a move for the organizations that mobile is a Million dollar investment

    • Dani Sarfati

      We’re running 3 MDM solutions right now (two BB, one pilot limited 3rd party solution). Microsoft is moving away from MAPI, and closer to EWS (the same way that BES10 functions). One way or another companies will be forced to move away from the old Blackberry technology. Also, keep in mind the BES5 installation numbers are linked to the devices.
      If I was the CIO for the company, I would have already started seriously considering other MDM solutions after watching the Blackberry fiasco since the beginning of last year. Would you really want your most critical communication technology tied up with a company who can go missing unexpectedly in the next couple of years?

  • Lyndon Boychuk

    What? Really? Let’s bring back cassettes and 8 tracks while we’re at it lol. I hope they do well regardless. All the power to you BB.

    • Sunny Lee

      E for effort.

    • Ryan

      People are still buying them, might as well give them what they want. I think once BES12 is released and it can manage BB10, BB7, iOS, Android and WP you will see BB10 phones become more popular with enterprises

      Right now companies need to have both BES 5 and BES 10 to run both BlackBerry OS. It’s better to wait for BES 12 before making the switch to BB10

  • Sweet

    This isn’t surprising, given that there are apparently still a lot of features of the old phones that haven’t been implemented in the BB10 phones — based on the comments I’ve read from BBOS users who have used BB10 phones.

    Last month, BB’s VP of Global Product Management said that BB was going to release phones in 4 categories: Affordable, Classic, Highend, Prestige (e.g. Porche design). I’m most interested in seeing what they have in store for their Highend series.

    • Ryan

      Actually a lot of the old features have now made it over to BB10.2.1 with many new features. The browser is amazing and super fast compared to the competition. You really have to spend some time with it though to truly see how efficient and stable it is, at least a month. My Z30 is just as fast as the day I bought it (November) and trust me I’ve put this thing through rigorous tests. Android phones tend to slow down over time and you basically have to wipe it and re-install everything to bring them back to normal.

  • telltruth

    They should abandon QNX, a car system.

  • Rob Da Bruce

    I know some folks like the BB….I had one, switched to the s3 with a proper case(otterbox) and I’ll never go back….after buying 4 replacement bb’s I’ve taken this phone dropped it 30 feet, dropped it in a bucket on tapping mud, bucket of water….thrown it in the cab everyday for 2 years etc…..nothing these guys have ever come up with has compared to my s3, and I got it cause it was the cheapest at the time…..
    So if these guys can come up with a tough phone, then I’ll look….for the right price….

    • Ryan

      BB10 or BB7? I have a Z30 with an Otterbox and dropped it many times, but I also dropped it more times without the case. Twice on a hospital floor which is really hard. Still good, no problems. Never dropped in water. I don’t think it’s fair to compare BB7 to modern Android phones. They have totally new phones and new OS that is just beginning to mature within the last couple months. It has more potential then any of the competition and is better than iOS and Windows, and easily on par with Android.

  • telltruth

    BB10/QNX and its people ruined BlackBerry. They absorbed all the profits that BlackBerry 7 earned, and laid off BB7 teams (Waterloo). Now what? Their chief is leaving for Apple! BlackBerry is going to re-launch Bold 9900! Where have the BB7 people gone? This true story is more dramatic than fictions.

  • Suleman Khan

    It is not the issue with the Devices , it is more with Marketing & as well as the Price for the Blackberry 10 Devices. People who haven’t used the new BB Devices please do not comment on the quality of it , Blackberry is trying to turn around and it will be a feel good Story for 2014 especially for Canadian Market :)

  • Tom

    Wow, this is embarrassing. The one advantage of BB7 – BIS compression – is seen as more of a hindrance than an advantage by many these days, especially consumers. BIS makes browsing slow, and makes the phone nearly useless in case of a BIS outage (almost all web functions will go down). Plus, carriers have to pay fees for BIS. I don’t blame T-Mobile for wanting to make customers ditch legacy BBs. I hear a common reason for liking BIS is that it means cheap data roaming – but you know what’s even cheaper? Don’t roam – unlock and get a foreign sim and/or use wifi.

    BB10 broke away from BIS and that led to much faster browsing and the phone would still be online if BB servers broke down (only BBM would be affected).

    Focus on getting BB10 out there (preferably affordable handsets), or just exit the handset business. Seriously. This is worse than launching a phone with Gingerbread (which would have made me quit Android if ICS didn’t ramp things up significantly).

  • gommer strike

    The 9900 was a good phone. And sure, bringing back what’s an oldie but goodie is sound, but Chen is overlooking something pretty major.

    He can turn back the clock on the handset hardware, but he can’t dial back on everything that’s happened since 2011. In 3 years time, people have flocked to competing platforms and gotten used to the look and feel of touchscreen, and even used 3rd party keyboards such as Swiftkey. iOS/Android/Windows phones have taken hold of people’s usage. Will the return of the 9900 make people ditch their smartphones, and go back to a simpler time?

    For the users who do not use apps, most social networking sites and such, then the 9900 would be perfect for them. Fast, physical keyboard, simple functionality(nope you won’t be using a web browser on that, and you wouldn’t want to), minimal support for apps(though it should support Twitter, but little else, but maybe that’s precisely the point).

  • Cosmo Ray

    I hope the new 9900 has a bigger screen size. 3.something just don’t cut it anymore.

  • rick

    9 out of the 10 9900’s will end up in the hands of enterprise who are still not decided on a MDM replacement for BES 5.x.

  • Striker67

    I don’t know if anyone will read a comment on an article 3 days old but I think BB needs to get its user base to BB 10 as soon as possible. This would promote app development and the rest would take care of itself. This may include giving a z10 to a current BB user. Yes I said giving. This may take a huge one time cost considering they have written off the inventory anyway no biggie. If I could find someone to trade my note 2 with I would trade for a z30. Try anything once.

  • Willie

    I am a faithful BB user since 2007. The trackpad. It serves my basic need to receive email and make calls. Is subjective and relative to individual needs. BB tradition has always been associate with senior executives user not the man on the street when it was first launched.

  • desiderataman

    FINALLY!!! the return of a nearly-purpose-perfect “TOOL” amid a circus of “TOYS”!!! BB was the undisputed top-dog in “their” market – not “every” market – and trying to be all things to all users was a failed strategy from the outset that damned near killed the company. Im in… ill be able to get some stuff done without all the BS & non-sense.

    AWESOME decision, John.