BlackBerry Passport – Turning Heads As The Tide Turns?

Red Passport

Calm down…

The red one was done as a concept by PooterMobile a while back…

Looks good though, eh?

As we hurtle toward the highly anticipated launch of the first phone to really do something a bit different than, well, the original iPhone actually (yes, that incredible keyboard could make it THAT big a deal) we’re seeing something odd going on out there. Something different – as different as the Passport itself.

John Chen and the team have deliberately kept this device under wraps. The secrecy has been immense. Even those who have handled a Passport outside of a select few BlackBerry people have only been allowed to do so whilst one of those select few have been holding it.

It’s been THAT secretive. We don’t even know much about the launch other than it will be in London (wise choice, the UK market needs a kick to remind my compatriots what they are missing out on) and it will be sometime soon in September.

And that, coupled with the fact that this device is just so DIFFERENT (be honest, when you first saw it, yes?) has created a BUZZ.

This is the first BlackBerry for ages that actually has marketing behind it. You might not be seeing it on every street corner, there’s no million dollar budget, no SUPERBOWL ad (you watching Frank?) because there doesn’t need to be.

If the device is as good (and as different) as it would seem to be, the anticipation will hit the spot for early adopters and, once out in the wild, I can’t wait to hear the stories from new Passport owners as other phone users say ‘WHAT IS THAT??’.

And you know us BlackBerrians… we’ll ‘sell like hell’ as someone once said. Only this time the difference will be palpable.

But, back to the here and now and here’s just ONE example that we are seeing where someone who has recently, by his own admission, been beating ten bells out of BlackBerry for a while is changing his tune and considering coming #BackToBlack.

Over at Mobile Burn Luke Jones can sense a Gathering Storm hitting the shores and he’s not silly enough to pass up catching a wave when it’s coming his way:

There are many people out there who think that I am a Blackberry hater. Perhaps after writing articles about the hardware failing, sales falling, Android better, iOS better, and so on and so forth that is justified. The truth is though I am (or used to be) a Blackberry fan, I have owned devices from the company in the past and am at least mildly intrigued about what it can deliver in the future.

Yes, I have derided the chances of the upcoming Passport in the past, but I am willing to admit when I may be wrong. As it is, I am now warming to the unique handset and am actually looking forward to it, so much so that I am considering getting one. In other words, I am willing to give Blackberry a chance again and I imagine there are many other people like me… so Blackberry may be down but it is not yet out.

As for the Passport, it may be niche filling, but its recently leaked specs reveal that it is going to be something of a powerhouse. It will of course feature a square screen, a 4.5in (1440 x 1440) panel with a 1:1 aspect ratio. According to Blackberry, this display makes for better reading of content because of its perfectly square dimensions, which we guess will prove to be the case.

As for other specs, the Passport will nestle itself nicely into flagship territory with a quad core processer paired with 3GB of RAM, an Adreno 330 GPU, and a 13 megapixel rear camera. I am admittedly not a Blackberry user anymore, but recently spent a day or two with the latest version to the company’s BB10 platform and was impressed with how far it has come. It is certainly not the finished article, but it is infinitely better than when it launched and it left me thinking if Blackberry could have delivered this software at the start then some of the company?s problems may not exist right now.

With an improved UI experience, more apps, and what is undoubtedly a good smartphone with a unique touch, the Blackberry Passport could be one to remember. That will probably not translate into huge sales in the consumer space, but in the enterprise arena where Blackberry still carries weight the platform is likely to be well received.

I suppose it says a lot for the device that a whole article has been written without talking about that QWERTY keyboard. I would be remiss not to mention it of course, and if this board is as slick and user friendly as Blackberry says, then that could be another major plus, especially for the business oriented.

As for a release date, the Passport is likely to be launched during a press event in London during September, while we expect it to be an expensive handset. Probably too expensive to make it a true contender, but that square screen can hardly be cost effective to produce.

The interesting thing here is that you see the power of the design, the anticipation, the intrigue (Luke has to hedge his bets in case it takes off, that’s what he’s sensing here) and the fact that BlackBerry are not dead and that message finally starting to get through. As Luke says, it takes him a full 5 paragraphs to get to the supposed Unique Selling Point, the touch physical keyboard, but by then he’s sold already.

He’s also way off beam from what we’ve heard on the pricing… but, just like BlackBerry we’ll let you speculate on that one a bit longer.

Put it this way, if this PREMIUM device was available to buy off contract and unlocked for a reasonable amount (and certainly a lot less than an iPhone Sicks)…

Would you want one?

Not long now for Luke and many, many other people to come #BackToBlack.

I think they’ll like what we’ve done with the place while they were away.


Bigglybobblyboo is a legend almost nowhere at all. He is a founder member of UTB and spends his spare time taking out his anger at the world with a fishfork and a spatula. He is also a Cribbage Master, having won 1 fight online as the other guy refused to turn up out of fear for his life.