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BlackBerry's $450 'Classic' phone aims to bridge the past and present

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It's been nearly 10 months since the folks in Waterloo announced the throwback BlackBerry Classic, but today's the day the thing officially breaks cover. Hooray? If it wasn't immediately obvious, the "Classic" moniker refers to the fact that the device is a proper sequel to the BlackBerry Bold 9900, complete with the traditional trackpad and navigation keys that people still apparently swoon over. Oh, and BrickBreaker is back too! We've seen the Classic's spec sheet in great detail over the past few months, but let's recap: It's working with a 3.5-inch square touchscreen running at 720 x 720, an 8-megapixel camera and a dual-core 1.5GHz Qualcomm processor. Combine those old-school physical attributes with the generally pleasing punchiness of the BlackBerry 10.3.1, and you're left with a device that aims to straddle the fence between past and present.

The question is, will anyone bite?

CEO John Chen conceded at the company's New York launch event that the Classic is meant at least partially to be a love letter to the remaining legions of BlackBerry faithful. Appealing to them "was the genesis of why we're doing this," he noted, before getting a little hopeful on the audience. His wish? That people who've never experienced the BlackBerry life -- "especially people that are young" -- fall in love with what they find.

So far, things are going pretty well: BlackBerry apparently already sold through most of its allotted pre-order devices, and if you already laid claim to one, it's moving through the logistical pipeline as you read this. Otherwise, you can order your very own Classic from Amazon, or wait until AT&T, Bell, Rogers, Verizon and Telus start carrying it shortly. The review deluge has already begun (ones to see: The Globe and Mail and MobileSyrup), but we'll get you our first impressions and the full review as soon as we can. Stay tuned!

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