During a launch event held recently in Toronto, Canadian phone maker Blackberry officially introduced its new Passport handset. The company's latest offering is, for lack of a better description, a bit unconventional.
For one, it is shaped in the form of a square, which is rather unique in the world of smartphones. Quite frankly, no other mobile device looks like it, which could work well for Blackberry, at least in terms of differentiating itself from other handsets currently available in the market today.
The Blackberry Passport sports dimensions of 5 inches in height and 3.5 inches in width. Because of its square shape, it is decidedly wider than most smartphones out there.
But, according to Blackberry, the square design is by no means an accident. The company has always catered to the mobile needs of businesspeople, namely CEOs, executives, managers, and business owners. Blackberry is positing that these professionals would need a bigger, wider screen (the Passport sports one that measures 4.5 inches) for composing/sending emails, or for drafting/editing documents and spreadsheets.
Another thing unusual about the Blackberry Passport is that it features a hardware keyboard. In the age of touchscreens and tap-ready interfaces, having a physical keyboard as opposed to a virtual one is a bold decision.
But Passport's hardware keyboard is far from just an ordinary one. It is touch-sensitive, and even allows swiping -- when users swipe on it, they can navigate around menus and other options (akin to the trackball in old school Blackberry devices).
Despite the hardware keyboard, Blackboard has not entirely eliminated the idea of an on-screen keyboard. On the Passport, users will be able to find virtual buttons located just above the hardware keyboard. These buttons feature characters like numbers and punctuation marks. Blackberry claims that typing on the Passport keyboard results to four times more accuracy and 70 percent less typographical errors.
Now on to the specs. The Blackberry Passport packs a quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon processor and a huge 3,450 mAh battery. It boasts 32 gigabytes of internal storage, with 3 gigabytes of random access memory (RAM). The device features a 13-megapixel camera, which is a significant improvement from previous Blackberry handsets. Its 4.5-inch display screen impresses at 1440 by 1440 resolution.
Software-wise, the Blackberry Passport runs on Blackberry 10.3, the latest version of the phone maker's own mobile operating system. Users will be delighted to know that Blackberry 10.3 comes with some interesting new features, including a voice assistant, Blackberry Hub (which collates notifications, messages, feeds, and calendar alerts into one location), and Blackberry Blend, which lets users read text messages, emails, and and Blackberry Messages (BBMs) on non-Blackberry handsets.
The Blackberry Passport comes with a price of $599 unlocked as offered on Blackberry's online store. Before the end of the year, it will soon be available at Amazon.
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