Just 2 days to go…
In today’s Wall Street Journal there’s an interview with the man himself. Here you go…
BlackBerry Chief Executive John Chen said in an interview Monday that its Passport smartphone, which will go on sale starting Wednesday, will cost $599 in the U.S. without subsidies. The phone will be priced differently in some other countries based on taxes and tariffs, he noted.
Mr. Chen said that compared with similar smartphones produced by competitors, the Passport should cost in the $700 range. “But I figure that to try to get the market interested, we’re going to start a little lower than that.”
Apple Inc.’s new iPhone 6 starts at $649 without contract, while the iPhone 6 Plus costs $749 without a contract. Samsung’s flagship Galaxy S5 smartphone went on sale in the U.S. earlier this year for about $650 depending on the carrier.
The release of the handset, which has a 4.5-inch square screen and BlackBerry’s signature physical keyboard, will be the first global launch of a device since the company’s BlackBerry 10 phones flopped in 2013. While the company has begun to focus more on its core enterprise business, it must also use innovative new consumer products to lure enterprise users, Mr. Chen said.
The Waterloo, Ontario, firm hasn’t talked about the device’s features ahead of its launch. But Mr. Chen, who was visiting Singapore Monday, said the phone’s larger screen would appeal to users who need to be productive on their phones, such as those working in the medical field. The Passport’s screen size and high resolution allows users to view 60 characters on each line, which is substantially more than typical, rectangular smartphones such as iPhones.
“You really are seeing a more entire picture than seeing a sliver” of a screen, he said.
Mr. Chen said that the battery will last 36 hours and a large antenna will benefit reception, while the keyboard can also be used for scrolling through content displayed on the screen.
BlackBerry will launch the phone simultaneously Wednesday in Toronto, London and Dubai. The Passport will also be available “immediately” in some stores, and in one to two weeks “a lot of places will have it,” including markets in Asia, Mr. Chen said.
BlackBerry in November will also launch the latest version of its device-management software, and will likely release in December its Classic smartphone, Mr. Chen said, which is designed to appeal to fans of its keyboard and email services.
Mr. Chen, who took over at the once-dominant smartphone maker less than a year ago amid mounting losses and declining sales, has engineered a high-stakes makeover, with BlackBerry focusing on providing secure smartphone technology for the enterprise market.
“The reason why our focus is so enterprise is because what we know how to do is security and productivity” he said. “Security, cybersecurity, personal identity protection. This is going to be a big deal.”
There was then the usual waffle from an ‘expert’ who said it would flop. Of course there was, it wouldn’t be BlackBerry if there wasn’t!
Anyway, screw what he thinks, what about you?
Is $599/£449 about right?
Enough to entice you?
We hear it’s a good enough price to interest a good solid number of carriers where staff who have been exposed to the phone are very excited indeed…
And it should be enough to brig a fair few people #BackToBlack, especially with the #Fappening still happening.
A small price to pay if you’re a celebrity I shouldn’t wonder…
Roll on Wednesday!