BlackBerry pre-announced (the announce before the real announce) a new phone today called the BlackBerry Passport that looks crazy. But they’re apparently enlisting some serious talent to help push their upcoming BlackBerry Classic, the other new smartphone the company is bringing to market later this year, with a November projected launch date: Drake is in talks with the company to help promote the Classic, according to a source familiar with BlackBerry’s plans.
The BlackBerry Classic is kind of a mashup of the current BlackBerry Q10 and the Bold 9900, with BlackBerry OS 10 powering things and a 3.5-inch touchscreen, but adding BlackBerry’s trademark hardware navigation keys and an optical trackpad button.
If this sounds like the Alicia Keys fiasco from the BlackBerry OS 10 launch, it isn’t quite at that level; our source says that Drake is actually a dedicated Bold user, and in fact he’s been spotted using the 9900 recently. Plus, as a Canadian, he’s required by the laws of citizenship of our country to love BlackBerry and QWERTY keyboards in exchange for free healthcare.
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Our source adds that Drake’s promotion will include the claim that he was involved in the design process of the new smartphone, which again isn’t as far-fetched as you might think – the rapper has apparently resisted the urge to upgrade to BB10 because no device that runs that OS has a physical trackpad, which is among his favorite features of the 9900. If true, Drake’s taste is shared by a lot of C-level executives I’ve talked to, who lament the removal of the function keys as well as the trackpad on the Q10.
It’s still possible the deal could fall through, and BlackBerry will have to look elsewhere for ways to get the general public excited about its upcoming QWERTY device in November. BlackBerry, when contacted for this story, responded with a statement about how they “don’t comment on rumors or speculation.”