BlackBerry Passport prepares to touch down

November 11, 2014 : TECHFacebooktwittergoogle_plusredditlinkedinmail

BlackBerry Passport prepares to touch down

Struggling phone maker BlackBerry is set to launch its latest attempt to revitalise its flagging sales this week with the introduction of a new enterprise-focused smartphone, the BlackBerry Passport.

It's an unconventional name for an unconventional phone, with one of the first things you'll notice being its perfectly-square 4.5-inch screen. While users who've become used to the widescreen displays on many Android devices might find it a little odd, TechRadar has noted the early signs suggest that Android apps at least don't look as strange on the drive as you might expect.

And it's no slouch underneath either, with the publication reporting it boasts a quad-core 2.2GHz Snapdragon 800 processor, along with 3GB of RAM and 32GB of onboard storage –  expandable to 64GB with an SD card.

Speaking to the Wall Street Journal ahead of the launch – which is taking place simultaneously in Toronto, London and Dubai – chief executive of BlackBerry John Chen explained why the firm has sought to get back to its enterprise roots.

"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."

Mr Chen also thinks the Passport will be a great option for business users put off by the premium price of the latest iPhones. He told the Journal that in the US, the device will cost $599 (£365) without subsidies for signing up to a long-term contract.

This isn't exactly bargain-basement, but compared to the iPhone 6, which starts at $649 without a contract, it could be a very tempting option for business users looking for an affordable, yet powerful device from which to manage their professional lives.

Mr Chen also claimed the Passport's unusual shape will be a benefit, as it allows them to view up to 60 characters on a line – significantly more than a standard rectangular phone. Given that business users may need to frequently check emails and other documents on the move, this could be a big advantage.

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