The BlackBerry Passport has finally arrived. It is no secret that BlackBerry has struggled to stay alive over the past few years. BlackBerry fell off because it lacked the innovation of many of its competitors such as Apple and Google. BlackBerry has decided to return to its roots and focus on the business aspect which made them so successful in the beginning. It plans to right its course with the introduction of the new BlackBerry Passport.
This new BlackBerry device was built with the power user in mind. With its extra-wide screen which makes viewing documents and emails easier it is just right for business professionals such as government workers, doctors, bankers and even lawyers. It has a voice-enabled virtual assistance which is very similar to the popular Siri from Apple and has the beloved physical keyboard which legacy BlackBerry device users are so accustomed to. The keyboard on the BlackBerry Passport doubles as a touchpad.
The Passport has arrived and can be purchased today from BlackBerry’s website and from Amazon for $599.00, without a contract. Some phone carriers, such as AT&T, will also carry the phone but no pricing has been announced as of yet.
BlackBerry admits this is not the device for everyone, especially due to its bulky size. The screen is square and 30 percent wider than the average five-inch smartphone. The reason for the extra width is it allows the device to display 60 characters across the screen as compared to the normal 40 characters that five-inch devices display. However, for those who desire a smaller device, BlackBerry has plans to release the BlackBerry Classic later this year. This is a more traditional model.
The Passport runs the 10.3 operating system and comes preloaded with Amazon’s Appstore which allows for the download of Android applications which have been designed to run on the BlackBerry OS. One of BlackBerry’s strong points has been security. The Passport comes complete with traditional tools for individuals and company IT departments such as data encryption, remote lock, and wipe.
The screen on the Passport dominates much of the device allowing only three rows of physical keys as opposed to the usual four. In order get around the keyboard “deficiency” the Passport will display a row of virtual “on screen” keys; the virtual keys shown will always be relative to the application of the user. The keyboard can also act as a touchpad allowing users to delete entire words with one swipe, move the cursor, etc.
The BlackBerry Passport may not grab the attention of those outside of the company’s remaining fan base but John Chen, BlackBerry Ltd. Chief Executive, still believes years of layoffs and shrinking income has come to an end. After years of losing market share to Samsung and Apple the company’s reinvention plans are starting to take shape.
BlackBerry was once the maker of the world’s dominant smartphone for the business community. It hopes to reignite the business community with the introduction of the BlackBerry Passport. This new model has a physical keyboard and extra-wide screen. Chen’s plan is to develop new products that will target business users and reduce focus on the consumer market. According to analysts, John Chen has done a good job, so far, in stabilizing BlackBerry’s core business.
By: Cherese Jackson (Virginia)