If you ask me, what a difference a week makes! In the days leading up to the launch of the BlackBerry Passport, there were many articles in the mainstream media ridiculing the phone and its design. There were some, including Seeking Alpha contributor, Kofi Bofah, who were spreading fear, uncertainty and doubt and doing everything within their power to dissuade the public from buying a BlackBerry Passport.
Kofi, like several others wrote a series of articles predicting “doom and gloom” for BlackBerry in the weeks leading up to the Passport launch. In his article titled “BlackBerry Passport: No Killer App, Investors Lose“, he made the following statements and predictions:
- The Passport is most notable for its box-like shape, but lacks a “killer” application.
- A weak Passport launch will result in more losses for the BlackBerry bottom line.
- Conservative investors should avoid BlackBerry stock.
Galen Gruman, Executive Editor for Info World in his article titled, “BlackBerry’s square smartphone and other desperate moves”, made the following predictions regarding the BlackBerry Passport:
A square BlackBerry gets notice — as another example of not getting it
At the same time, BlackBerry has been semi-officially leaking its Passport device concept, a square-screen BlackBerry that puzzles pretty much anyone who’s seen it. It doesn’t fit in a shirt pocket, a flaw that guarantees it won’t get used. Its keyboard uses a nonstandard aspect ratio, a flaw that will besmirch BlackBerry’s reputation for excellent physical keyboards.
Worse, it doesn’t have a point.
A rectangular screen has the advantage of providing two viewports, one landcsape and one horizontal, so you can adjust the screen view for the content at hand. A square screen eliminates that versatility. It doesn’t offer any additional benefit either. Nothing is really designed to work on a square screen — neither websites nor apps. BlackBerry would need to come up with amazing square apps to change that game, but BlackBerry doesn’t do compelling apps.
The events over the last couple of days since the BlackBerry Passport launch have totally proved both Kofi and Gruman, as well as the other naysayers completely wrong. As soon as the Passport was released, it sold out in multiple places. On the Shop BlackBerry website, it sold out in 6 hours and on the Amazon website it sold out in 10 hours. According to BlackBerry CEO John Chen, at least 200,000 had been sold on its first day.
Lee Mathews of geek.com had plenty to say about the BlackBerry Passport in his article titled “BlackBerry’s oddball Passport smartphone is actually selling out”
“BlackBerry never intended for the Passport to be a phone that everyone would want to buy, but it’s clearly got a lot of people excited. It’s already sold out at two online stores and has taken the number one spot in Amazon’s unlocked phones listing.
According to BlackBerry CEO John Chen, more than 200,000 Passports have been ordered since the device launched on Wednesday. That figure isn’t in the same ballpark as the iPhone 6, but it’s undeniably impressive for a device from a company that appeared to be crashing and burning. And it’s already sold better than the Amazon Fire phone.
The chunky, awkward-looking Passport is also sold out not just on BlackBerry’s own store, but also over at Amazon. Early orders shot it past all other unlocked phones, and that’s amazing to see for a couple of reasons. For one, it’s a BlackBerry. On top of that, it’s a $600 phone. While that’s not necessarily expensive for an unlocked flagship device, it’s a lot more than Amazon shoppers normally spend.
Other phones in the top ten include the $80 Blu Advance 4.0 and the $170 Samsung Galaxy S3 Mini — which is more than a year and a half old. Top-shelf phones don’t generally sell that well in this particular category on Amazon, but the Passport is for some reason.
What is it that’s convincing people to buy the Passport? Is it the fact that BlackBerry sweet talked Amazon into letting them ship the phones with their App Store pre-installed? Is it the massive battery and crazy endurance it provides? The QWERTY keyboard?
Maybe it really is that weird square screen. Reviewers have been saying how good desktop websites look on it and how awesome the extra space is for productivity apps. BlackBerry was aiming the Passport at hard-working business types, and so far it looks like it hit the mark.”
As you can tell, Lee Mathews appears to be skeptical of BlackBerry and he does take a few shots at the Passport regarding the design and the screen and questions why anybody would want to buy this device. But he is forced to admit that this device is not only selling well, but also receiving very positive reviews by the people who have bought this device.
What is really telling about how effective the BlackBerry Passport is comes from commenter Darren Douglas. He has used both Apple and Android devices in the past, but was instantly drawn to the BlackBerry Passport.
I’m NOT a Blackberry “fan” or a “government worker”, or even a “business user”, for that matter, but I bought my Passport on launch day from Amazon outright with no carrier subsidies just like 200,000+ others (and counting).
Let me spell it out to all the Apple and Android users who just can’t wrap their heads around this seemingly mystifying fact. Some of us are actually FED UP with Apple and Android phones.
We are DONE with their clunky operating systems, terrible typing features, horrendous battery life, awkward communication experiences, not to mention the massive amounts of simply useless apps that are touted by both. It’s that simple. Really.
Some people want a phone that actually lets you type texts and emails without errors, lets you see and respond to ALL your communications in ONE place, and lets you get through at least half the day without having to constantly recharge, NO MATTER how odd the phone looks to others.
Some of us are actually interested in MORE than just watching YouTube videos, playing games, and sending selfies to our unknown “friends” on Facebook.
And when we FINALLY see a phone like that, we buy it. No matter the paid for bad reviews about the phone on countless tech sites, no matter the strange looks from people who think that Apple and Android are the only phones that exist. We know better and could care less about the reaction.
As you can see folks, more and more people are starting to see the truth. The marketing machinery of smartphone giants Apple and Samsung and their cheerleaders in the mainstream media cannot hide the truth from the public forever. Their relentless bashing of the BlackBerry brand led many to believe that BlackBerry was bankrupt, had stopped making phones and was going out of business. But with the successful launch of the Z3 in emerging markets, the BlackBerry Passport launch last week and the Classic, that will be launched in a few months, the negative public perception is slowly changing. When the public notices the Passport selling out in multiple places and many positive reviews of it, the negativity in the media starts to lose its effect as it cannot credibly argue against and dismiss solid data.
Slowly people are discovering the “new” BlackBerry 10 operating system, which is now on version 10.3 and devices such as the Z30 and the Passport. They are also starting to notice the deficiencies that until now they had been forced to accept in their ios devices. In only a year and a half, BlackBerry 10 has not only caught up to iPhone’s functionality, but have surpassed it in a big way.
The Passport is a superior highly spec’d device with 453 ppi resolution, 3 GB RAM, 13 MP camera and up to 30 hour battery life. The BlackBerry Passport is a device that we can especially be proud as it stands tall against the other flagship devices out there.
So for those of you who are on other platforms and find yourself dissatisfied with what Apple and Android have to offer. Do yourself a favour and come #BackToBlack.
Mr. Douglas, who was by no means a BlackBerry fan was not dissuaded by the negative media and actually took the time to see what the Passport offered and ended up buying one because its superior features satisfied his needs. Everyday the tide is turning and perceptions are slowly changing as more and more people who would before never ever think or getting a BlackBerry are now entertaining the thought of getting one.
For others that are tired of the ios 8 saga, lack of privacy and poor battery life, you don’t have to suffer. Retire your iPhone or any other brand that is giving you problems and get yourself a BlackBerry.
You will be glad that you did.