AT&T is hoping that smartphone users will start reaching for their passports this week. Their BlackBerry Passports, that is. The new model is set to go on sale February 20 and will be available -- along with the BlackBerry Classic -- exclusively through AT&T in the U.S. The two new models represent BlackBerry's first handsets on the market since the company's Q10 and Z10 phones.
The update to the product line of the Canadian handset maker comes at a crucial time for the company. Sales of both the Q10 and Z10 models were severely disappointing and the company, which at one time practically had a monopoly on the enterprise handset market, has fallen far behind the iPhone and Android devices with less than one percent of the overall phone market.
Hip To Be Square
There is no chance that the new Passport will be confused with any of the other leading smartphones currently on the market. The handset sports an unusual, almost square form factor that sets it apart from its competitors. However, it remains to be seen whether users will view the unique design as a strength or a liability.
The handset features a 4.5-inch 1440x1440 full HD square touchscreen and a tactile keyboard with a full QWERTY layout. It runs on a quad-core 2.26-GHz processor that comes with 3 GB of memory and 32 GB of storage, along with a microSD slot for additional space, a 13-megapixel camera and the BlackBerry 10.3.1 operating system.
AT&T said it would offer the device for free with subscriptions to mobile plans starting at $21.67 per month. Users can also get the smartphone for $199.99 with a two-year agreement, or buy it without a contract for $649.99.
Reputation for Security
BlackBerry is hoping that its operating system's reputation for security can help the company get back into the good graces of enterprise users. Following a string of high profile attacks on iOS and Android devices, BlackBerry is positioning itself as a more secure alternative to its more widely used rivals. The company recently announced plans to team up with the likes of Boeing to develop super-secure, self-destructing phones for use by American spies.
"The BlackBerry Passport is ideal for the mobile professional who wants an innovative wireless device focused on security and productivity," said Jeff Bradley, Senior Vice President of Device Marketing and Developer Services at AT&T. The company is also highlighting the device's physical keyboard, marketing the handset as designed for "speed and accuracy," in an attempt to woo back business users with heavy e-mail loads.
Meanwhile the Classic, as its name suggests, is designed as a throwback to the company's previous models. But despite the focus on security and the return of its original form factor, both devices represent something of a Hail Mary for BlackBerry CEO John Chen, who took over the company a year ago. The Classic and the Passport are the first models to be developed largely under his leadership. If neither device catches on with enterprise users, BlackBerry may find itself out of time.
Posted: 2015-02-20 @ 7:24am PT
There is still place for a fantastic smartphone in between all those MalwarePhones.
BB 10 is very fast, reliable and already mature.
Blackberry has more apps than Microsoft...
The Classic is Chic.
The PassPort is a Laptop Killer.
The halcyon days of Android innocence are fast coming to a close.
We can not trust Google anymore!
1) Because Google can not make any good mobile O.S.
2) Because Google can not even make good Patches !!!
Lollipop is already a LolliFlop.
Most of the Android Apps could not work on this O.S.
Nexus was dead for a month, etc.
We can not trust Apple anymore, either!
iOS8 was no-good right after its launch, even after 33 patches later and 3 updates.
iOS 8 is so bad..., only 4 months later, Apple is making another tricked iOS9 !!!
Posted: 2015-02-17 @ 3:12pm PT
I can can honestly tell you this. After a few days with the Passport, you'll never look back. It is by far the best way to view, type and multitask. Along with the keyboard that doubles as a mouse, it's no wonder why the awards are starting to pile up for BlackBerry.
Posted: 2015-02-17 @ 12:55pm PT
Yawn. Just go away already. You missed the bus.