Is The BlackBerry Passport The First True People’s Phone?


The sales of the BlackBerry Passport have been nothing short of a commercial miracle in mobile/cellphone terms. Why? Because, possibly out of necessity, BlackBerry aren’t just innovating with hardware or software but also in terms of retail – the way we buy our phones.

Why? Because it is selling out because the PEOPLE want it. Not because big companies WANT you to take it.

What do I mean?

Well, think about the hurdles placed before this product.

Marketing: The truth is that there hasn’t been any of any note other than the shape of the thing itself. The only way news of this device has spread has been through electronic word of mouth -in other words social media. This autumn (or fall if you are that way inclined) the promotion has been all about the iPhone 6. Hell, even Android phones are nowhere to be seen on retailers websites it’s all ‘Bigger Than Bigger’ blah, blah. And, if you go into a store, it’s highly unlikely you’ll see anything other than large iPhone, Samsung and HTC stands, maybe even a Nokia. But no BlackBerry…

Reviews: It was VERY noticeable that within seconds of John Chen announcing the Passport’s launch journalists pushed the Publish button on many, MANY negative Passport reviews. Some even made videos showing how, in their (iPhonian) view, rubbish BlackBerry are as a company. Quite a few included the phrase ‘will the Passport save BlackBerry, I don’t think so.’

Availability: This is the big one. The traditional way to buy a phone is that you get your phone from a carrier. In the UK the phone has usually been ‘free’ and you pay for it over a contract, in other countries there’s a small payment up front followed by the cost of the phone built in. Carriers across the world have turned their back on BlackBerry, often, as the boss of Three UK said because they believed the lie that ‘BlackBerry are dead’. As a result, outside of Canada, it is pretty much impossible to buy a Passport from a carrier! In other words you can’t get one on a contract – there is no cheap route by which you can obtain one.

Pricing – As I alluded above, because you can’t get a carrier locked Passport, then it’s full price unlocked or nothing. That SHOULD have turned off enough people for this to be a tiny niche product hardly owned by anyone.

And yet…

The Passport first run sold out in 10 hours. Just on Shop BlackBerry and Amazon in 5 countries. Customer reviews are stellar. Reviewers who held back have DRASTICALLY changed their tune as they see which way the wind is blowing. The second batch will disappear quickly. BlackBerry can’t get them out quickly enough.

This shouldn’t be happening.

Ask yourself this, as iPhonians will tell you, the iPhone 6 sold 10 million units in the first week.

The Passport sold 200,000 in 10 hours.

But which feels like the success story??

The carrier backed, fully subsidised, massively promoted device that is available worldwide?

Or the one that the PEOPLE want? The one that is selling out at full price wherever it can be found? With a waiting list as long as your arm?

A straight fight would have been interesting.

Inthe meantime, there’s only ONE thing that’s shifting these BlackBerry Passport’s.

People power


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.

  • G-bone

    Brother Biggly…you nailed it.
    This is the phone THEY didn’t want you to like.
    But you do.
    As a fart in an elevator.
    (in a GOOD way)
    Chen- 1
    A**holes- 0
    Power to the people.
    The Crack is back!
    (just not where you’d expect)
    The decline begins for some.
    The ascension begins for one.
    Call it, “BlackBerry: The Return to Sanity”.
    Or, call it…


  • Tracmila

    My two cents. BlackBerry need to release a all touch candy bar, form factor, piece of Z50 (top spec, not thin) heaven, ASAP. Not because it is the right form factor, but to win over the misguided brainwashed sheep. And then market and advertise. The time is right.

    • G-bone

      I’m thinking next fall – the way is being paved…


  • jrohland

    Nailed it again Brother Biggly! I hope the Passaporta breaks the carrier mindset once and for all. Buy the best phone from the best source and choose the carrier for service and price. The carriers have dictated what phone the masses get for too long.

  • jojo beaconsfield

    Got mine !!! It took 2 weeks for my order to arrive,not bad at all, I love this Phone.

  • ital1

    I couldn’t agree with you more Biggs!; awesome post.

  • Vorkosigan

    Excellent write up.

    There’s only one thing I would say that I don’t even disagree with, but I’m just not sure about. I feel like the Passport was the subject of the most subtle, ingenious, advertising I’ve ever seen.

    I watched as Chen first showed it off, but by then the form factor had already been leaked. And the form was leaked long long before any confirmation of the phones specs or capabilities. Think about that. It gave the fans time to get used to it, so that we were ready to explore the features when they were revealed. If form and function had been leaked together then I feel like most people wouldn’t have gotten past the shape.

    Then, it wasn’t official you couldn’t pin it down, but it was spotted everywhere. But, and this is important, there were still things you weren’t allowed to be shown or really told about. Hyping suspense on one hand and yet getting people familiar enough with the phone that when it was finally released they already knew that yes, the phone is big, but they were curious enough to see what else it had. Which turns out to be quite a lot.

    Or of course it may have just been serendipity and the desire for change in a sea of slabs.

    I also find it telling that at my work I haven’t heard boo about the iphone6, but lots of talk about the passport. People are curious about this phone, and it’s an amazing phone that doesn’t disappoint.