BlackBerry Launches Passport, Its New Square Smartphone

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PassportBlackBerry doesn?t care if you call it a square.

In fact, the company is embracing it.

The struggling Canadian company Wednesday launched Passport, its newest smartphone, which has a distinctively square 4.5-inch screen.

?As we set out to design BlackBerry Passport, we were guided by a simple yet challenging idea ? to set aside the limitations of traditional design and to instead simply build a device that fundamentally changes the way business professionals get work done on their smartphone,? Chief Executive John Chen said. ?The BlackBerry Passport was created to drive productivity and to break through the sea of rectangular-screen, all-touch devices.?

Ultimately, consumers will have to decide if a square screen makes any difference or if it?s just a marketing gimmick.

BlackBerry said it had been inspired by actual passports (which aren?t square, but no matter). And perhaps in a subtle dig to the massive iPhone 6 Plus, as well as the whole bendable iPhone controversy, BlackBerry noted that the Passport ?is portable enough to easily tuck into pockets.? It is also made with forged stainless steel ?for added strength.?

Like its previous phones, the Passport is being marketed as a productivity workhorse for the busy, mobile professional and is one of the first devices to launch on BlackBerry?s latest operating system platform, BlackBerry 10.3. The company said the 3450 mAh battery provides up to 30 hours of mixed use.

The Waterloo company said the large square screen is optimized for viewing and creating content, and will purportedly make tasks such as reading and writing emails, reviewing and editing documents, Web browsing and map navigation more comfortable.

Other specs include a 13-megapixel camera, 32GB of internal storage, a 1440 x 1440 resolution and Corning Gorilla Glass 3.

BlackBerry has also upgraded its much-loved QWERTY keyboard. It?s now touch-enabled with gestures that will make typing and editing more efficient and accurate. BlackBerry said the Passport?s new keyboard is nearly four times more accurate than BlackBerry 10 virtual keyboards.

The phone costs $700 but BlackBerry is offering a limited-time offer of $600 for the phone, which is already available at local carriers and online.

Source: MCT Information Services