The BlackBerry Passport Phone Is As Square As American Cheese, And Strangely Brilliant
The evolution of the smartphone has been a brutal showcase of survival of the fittest — who's fastest, thinnest, and has the best apps. One brand that's become the dodo of smartphones is BlackBerry, whose refusal to adapt allowed the innovations of Apple and Android to rise and take over. But the once dominant alpha phone used by CEOs, presidents, and Ari Gold-like hotshot agents could now be making a comeback. Freshly launched on Wednesday, BlackBerry's Passport phone is strangely brilliant.
Keeping in line with the company's insistence on doing things their way — as opposed to aggressively imitating other phone models, a popular strategy in today's market — BlackBerry's latest model is astoundingly unique. If you were to line it up with the rest of today's popular smartphones, it'd be a classic case of "one of these things is not like the others." First of all, it's square-shaped, including the screen. Secondly, it has a physical keyboard (remember those?). And what's more, it's thick and clunky, whereas other smartphones are striving to become thinner and thinner.
As weird as it sounds, early sales of the Passport show success and could signal a major comeback for the lagging brand. Since its launch on Wednesday, the Passport has filled 200,000 orders, selling out on both BlackBerry's site and on Amazon. You might be thinking, "200,000? Pshh. The iPhone 6 sold 10 million in its first weekend." But here's where BlackBerry differs once again from other smartphone-makers.
Under the leadership of its new CEO, John Chen, who took over last November, BlackBerry has redirected its focus away from the consumer market and onto the more narrow enterprise market, made up of corporate leaders and other "power professionals." BlackBerry, long known for its super-secure phones, will continue to target industries that require secure communications, such as government and military.
Without further ado, meet the BlackBerry Passport and all of its weirdly impressive (or impressively weird?) features.
That Square Screen
As its name suggests, the BlackBerry Passport is about the size of a passport, with a square screen — unheard of in the world of smartphones. However, the square screen is perfect for execs who prefer to work on the larger screen of a computer. The wider scope also makes viewing maps and calendars easier. And since it's square, rotating the phone won't throw off content sizing and format.
The Physical Keyboard
Instead of following other companies in obliterating the keyboard, BlackBerry is actually making it even more pronounced. The keys are bigger than ever. And the best part? The keyboard is also the phone's track pad, allowing you to move things on the screen by lightly swiping the keys. When you turn the phone 90 degrees, the vertical keyboard becomes a scroll bar.
One area where BlackBerry definitely excels over Apple and Android is its battery life. While your iPhone battery can drain within a matter of hours, the Passport's can last days without charging. By the way, its long-lasting battery is the reason the phone is so thick.
Besides the old standbys — camera, Bluetooth, removable memory card — the Passport features two app stores, one of which has 200,000 Amazon Android apps. Wonder what Instagramming with this thing would be like?
Images: The Verge/Twitter