BlackBerry unveils square-screened Passport smartphone

The past year has been really bad for BlackBerry; as a result, many predicted that we might soon see the company do something different. This prediction seems to have gone right as Blackberry, on Wednesday, unveiled a square-screened smartphone designed particularly to allow users read documents and spreadsheets on their mobile phones.

The new BlackBerry phone was unveiled at events held in three big global centers Toronto, Dubai, and London; this is the first time the world is witnessing the Canadian wireless device manufacturer conducting a global product launch since John Chen joined the company as its chief executive officer in November.


With the $599 Passport smartphone, BlackBerry is hoping to get back a large percentage of the loyal following it once used to enjoy; phones of this brand were particularly popular among office workers.

The Passport looks pretty unconventional in its 4.5-inch square screen. The design of the screen will make creating and viewing content extremely easy; it is a perfect device for people who need to check business documents and emails frequently.

Another surprise the Passport has in store for the users is the tap keyboard, one of the most loved features of BlackBerry phones. The company has not only brought back the tap keyboard but has also made it more functional. Now, it has a second use; in the Passport, it is also playing the role of a touchpad. Additionally, the device has also come geared with a digital assistant, which allows users to manage apps and organize meetings seamlessly.

What’s extremely reassuring for Blackberry is that this latest phone has mainly received positive reviews. However, there are also some experts who have warned users that the Passport might turn out to be a niche device in its target sector, which happens to be regulated industries such as healthcare, finance, government etc.

According to numbers put up by BlackBerry, mobile professionals constitute up to 30% of the current market. However, the market analysis firm IDC has informed that when it comes to global enterprise, the share of the Canadian firm has gone down by more than 7% i.e. from 10% to below 3%, in past twelve months.

Francisco Jeronimo, an IDC representative, predicted that the launch of the Passport might mark the beginning of the comeback process of BlackBerry in the mobile phone market after the recent debacle. However, Jeronimo never expected the new smartphone to increase the company’s market share.

CCS Insight’s Ben Wood, on the other hand, described the Passport as a Marmite device and said that people will either fall in love with its design or will get a bit puzzled to see the shape and size of the phone.

Wood said that if you are a BlackBerry faithful, the newly unveiled square-screened smartphone is surely for you. He added that the phone will also be loved by businesses that have managed to stay committed to Blackberry smartphones even when the company was going through tough times. Wood further added that this update from BlackBerry was long overdue.

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