BlackBerry has long held an iconic status, mostly because for the longest time they were the only company making modern day smartphones. Now, with the rise of Apple and Samsung in the handset market, BlackBerry essentially looks like a sleeping lion.
BlackBerry's decline is largely due to its failure to adapt to the rising challenge of iOS and Android. The company's CEO, John Chen, doesn't know whether it can regain that status, though BlackBerry is vocal enough to accept its past mistakes. Even so, BlackBerry faces an uphill battle: iPhones and Android-based phones have already dethroned the Canadian smartphone maker in the U.S and India.
Regardless of all negative hype, BlackBerry is willing to take a risk. The company is betting big on the Passport-its comeback flagship phone. The 4.5-inch (1,440 x 1,440) handset is a huge phone, with strange square shape design and physical keyboard. There isn't any other flagship smartphone for sure. Notably, it's actually the same size of a passport.
Not just the design is different; BlackBerry Passport also boasts powerful hardware under the hood: a 2.2GHz quad-core Snapdragon 801 processor, 3GB of RAM, 32GB of native storage and built-in 4G LTE connectivity among others.
BlackBerry says its latest flagship handset, the Passport, is meant for power users and BlackBerry loyalists. But for everyone else, though, BlackBerry Passport isn't the dream phone.
The BlackBerry Passport is priced at Rs. 49,990, and will be available nationwide starting October 10. We got to see the device at the recently launch event held in Delhi. Here's our first impression.
BlackBerry Passport: Form Factor, Design, Display and Operating System (OS)
BlackBerry says its new flagship phone is meant for "power users" those who spend more than half of their time sending emails or editing worksheets. Hence, the device is targeted at few select users.
One of the biggest talking points of the BlackBerry Passport is its strange design. Yes, the new premium phone looks weird and too strange at times. Basically, the BlackBerry Passport's design is based on the shape of a regular passport. So you can imagine the design of the phone yourself.
The BlackBerry Passport is wider than the Galaxy Note 4 and is thick at 9.3mm. Of course, the phone does feel sturdy and well-built. In fact, you might face a serious challenge of holding this piece of tech with one hand. If you have small palms, then you'll find it hard to use the device.
The BlackBerry Passport has a unibody design, so you are not allowed to remove the back cover. The main volume buttons are on the right-hand side, while the headphone jack and the power button can be found above the display.
The USB charging port is down below. There's a microSD card slot and a nano SIM card slot hidden above the camera sensor in a separate compartment.
BlackBerry is known for its epic QWERTY physical keyboard. The Passport is no different from the company's previous generation phones, but this time we can expect some minor change.
There are three rows of keys instead of four, and you won't see keyboard shortcuts as well. Notably, the keyboard has touch functionality. The keyboard has a nice feel, though, you need to get both hands to use it effectively.
The Passport has an impressive 4.5-inch screen with a resolution of 1,440 x 1,440 pixels (453ppi). It also uses gorilla glass protection. So the BlackBerry Passport is wider than a usual handset. Another notable thing about the screen is that it can fit 60 characters per line. In theory, at least, the BlackBerry Passport's display offers awesome viewing experience.
BlackBerry claims the two speakers on the bottom of the phone are way better compared to the HTC One (M8) and the Samsung Galaxy S5.
While the design of the BlackBerry Passport is surely different, the BlackBerry 10 OS hasn't changed much, though, now it definitely has a flat look and more features than ever. Apart from a minor visual UI tweaks, the gesture-based OS now supports Amazon's AppStore.
This means that you can access thousands of Android compatible apps, other than the ones available on the BlackBerry App World.
BlackBerry Assistant, an answer to Siri, is now a part of BlackBerry 10.3 OS. The BlackBerry Assistant offers a close integration with your work related data.