By Chima Akwaja, Lagos


Blackberry Limited, a global leader in mobile communications is set to retake its Nigerian and Middle East and Africa (MEA) smartphone leadership from rivals with the introduction of BlackBerry Classic and new devices planned for this year. It controlled MEA smartphone shipments until recent years.BlackBerry-Classic-Device
A fortnight ago, International Data Corporation (IDC) released the fourth quarter 2014 Handset Tracker which showed that Nigeria led the MEA smartphone shipments by135 per cent followed by Kenya with 112 percent and Pakistan with 105 per cent respectively, year-on-year in 2014.
John Chen, executive chairman and CEO at BlackBerry, said the company has understudied the trends in the MEA market and is set to claim its position. “We listened closely to our customers’ feedback to ensure we are delivering the technologies to power them through their day – and that feedback led directly to the development of BlackBerry Classic.”
He said “It is the powerful communications tool that many BlackBerry Bold and Curve users have been waiting for. It is the secure device that feels familiar in their hands, with the added performance and agility they need to be competitive in today’s busy world.” It is built on BlackBerry’s renowned secure operating system, with built-in protection against viruses, tampering and data leaks.
Chen said the BlackBerry Classic is private by default, protecting users with encrypted email, web browsing and BBM. “This device underscores our commitment to helping BlackBerry users be at their most productive and respond to the demands of business from anywhere, at any time.
“By bringing back the trusted functionalities, incorporating our latest operating system and building a speedier browser, our users can feel confident they are using the best communications tool out there.” Although familiar in appearance, BlackBerry Classic upgrades the BlackBerry Bold 9900 experience with three times faster browser, 60 percent more screen space.
It comes with 50 percent longer battery life as well as greater variety of applications through BlackBerry World and the Amazon Appstore. It responds to customer demand for a familiar design merged with the security and speed of BlackBerry 10 for superior productivity, communications and collaboration.
The BlackBerry Classic drives productivity, communications and collaboration include QWERTY keyboard crafted for optimal speed and accuracy, which keyboard gives users the control and confidence to communicate quickly with a trackpad and classic navigation keys and preloaded with the BlackBerry10.3.1 operating system.
The executive chairman said the BlackBerry 10 web browser is amazingly fast and astoundingly beautiful. “That’s why HTML5TEST.com rates it amongst the top mobile browsers for web fidelity. You can access your favorite online content as it was meant to be seen, faster than ever before and with unlimited browser tabs”, he said.
Chen stated that 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. “It 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.”
The BlackBerry Classic device is built with durable materials mixed with top-of-the-line technology. This includes a 1.5 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon Processor, 2GB RAM, 16GB of device storage (expandable by up to 128GB via uSD), and a 2MP front- and 8MP rear-facing camera with enhanced optics and upgraded imaging sensors.
Other features include BlackBerry Blend which allows users get instant message notifications, read and respond to work and personal email, BBM and text messages, and access documents, calendar, contacts and media in real time on whatever device powered by BlackBerry.
Also, there is the BlackBerry Assistant, BlackBerry’s first digital assistant which 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.
The device has dual app storefronts like BlackBerry World showcasing essential productivity apps for business professionals looking to drive efficient communications and collaboration as well as Amazon Appstore preloaded containing popular Android apps and games 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. While the BlackBerry Hub manages all your conversations – email, texts, BBM, phone calls, social media and more.

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