Faced with the onslaught of cheap Android phones, BlackBerry is turning back to its core, the popular QWERTY keyboards. In the coming months, BlackBerry will launch in India the Passport and Classic, two devices that will have the QWERTY keyboard at its USP.
"QWERTY has been one of our strong suits, keeping with the consumer trend and demand, we will continue to launch devices based on QWERTY. There remains a large portion of the user base that are loyal to the QWERTY experience," said Sameer Bhatia, Director, Distribution at BlackBerry India.
The unique BlackBerry Passport will offer a 4.5-inch square full HD screen with with a touch-enabled keyboard. "You will be able to navigate web pages, apps and e-mails by lightly brushing your fingers over the keys, which helps with things like scrolling and cursor placement," he said, adding that the keyboard will also support custom commands.
The BlackBerry Classic, meanwhile, will bring back the trackpad and function keys to BlackBerry 10 devices. It will be second device to come out of the Foxconn partnership and could have an affordable price tag.
"We believe that our devices need to stay in step with the times while ensuring to provide die-hard BlackBerry users with the comfort of a keypad as well," said Bhatia.
However, BlackBerry is unlikely to shift to an online only approach like some of the new entrants in the market. "We believe that both traditional retail formats outlets and online platforms are complementary strategies that brands need to harness to ensure complete consumer access and reach," he said. Bhatia said it is imperative to look at OMNI channel presence and leverage both traditional as well as new age formats to reach out to consumers across segments. "Recently with the launch of the new BlackBerry Z3 we partnered with both The Mobile Store and Flipkart to offer consumers an exciting pre-launch offer. The offer was very well received by the consumers, proving that both brick & mortar and online formats have become an integral part of a brand’s retail strategy."