BlackBerry Ltd To Bring Back Slide-Out Keyboard

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BlackBerry shares continued to climb today in the wake of several announcements at the annual Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. One of those announcements is the plan to offer a device with a slide-out keyboard, another keyboard-equipped phone and a smartphone with a “dual curved display,” among other devices.

After this latest hardware announcement, shares of BlackBerry edged upward by as much as 3.53% to $11.44 per share at the NASDAQ during regular trading hours today.

BlackBerry, a blast from the past

Since CEO John Chen took the helm, the focus at BlackBerry has been returning to the company’s roots. A smartphone with a slide-out keyboard would certainly be a blast from the past, as they haven’t really seen much since the Android-based Droid smartphone in the early days of the smartphone.

BlackBerry didn’t reveal many details about the smartphone with the slide-out keyboard. No name was given, and neither were a price or release date. Management did say it would feature what they called a “dual curved display,” which Dan Seifert of The Verge compared to the curved screen on Samsung’s Galaxy S6 Edge.

Seifert also reported that it looks somewhat like the BlackBerry Torch—another blast from the past—and the Venue Pro released by Dell in 2010.

Other planned BlackBerry devices

BlackBerry also said today that it plans to release a new Porsche smartphone and another phone with a QWERTY keyboard. However, the company did not reveal any other details about them.

It did show off a new touchscreen phone that’s targeted at the low end of the smartphone market, however. The BlackBerry Leap has a 5-inch display with 720p resolution. It runs on what Seifert calls an “ancient” dual-core processor made by Qualcomm. The smartphone’s specs are somewhat like those of the Galaxy S4 and the HTC One X, which was released a couple of years ago.

The BlackBerry Leap comes with a price tag of about $275 and goes up for sale first in emerging markets like Indonesia and Brazil. The company said on its website that it is targeting the “young career builder, someone looking to make a difference.”

Is BlackBerry turning things around?

Chen has certainly brought a lot of changes to BlackBerry since he took over as CEO. Today at the Mobile World Congress, he told Bloomberg that they’re “generating a little bit of cash.” This week the company also announced a new deal with Sprint and several new mobility solutions.


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