Blackberry’s Passport is the new strangely shaped smartphone the company hopes will help restore its diminished presence in the smartphone market.
Passport, launching today, will at the very least grab people’s attention. Its 4.5 square inch HD screen is square in shape and far wider than what seasoned smartphone buyers are used to.
Blackberry claim it’s now hip to be square, and boast that the Passport offers a “better viewing experience” that more closely replicates the experience of reading a book or viewing documents. The company says it will target “the working professional”.
Ian Fogg, head of mobile analysis at IHS Technology, said “BlackBerry's smartphones now have a strongly differentiated design, in a market where every other smartphone maker is struggling to stand out.”
The product launch is taking place at three separate locations around the world today; in London, Dubai and Toronto, and it will be available to buy in a fortnight's time. According to CEO John Chen, the phone will be priced at roughly $599 (£364.99).
Blackberry has stripped down in size and increased efficiency under Chen, who was appointed CEO last November after a disastrous year in which the company made an $84m loss.
However, in June the company announced a surprise $23m profit for the first three months of the year suggesting a turnaround was on its way.
Yet according to analyst Ian Fogg, the new, streamlined Blackberry will no longer be expected to be battling it out with Apple for global market dominance.
Instead, the Passport demonstrates the company’s targeting of professionals and workers.
Fogg told City AM:
Now BlackBerry is now a niche player in the smartphone market and will remain so.BlackBerry's main competition is not Apple, significantly Microsoft threatens to become a major threat because new Microsoft CEO Satja Nadella has set their strategy to focus on productivity workers and consumers, a very similar target to BlackBerry.BlackBerry no longer targets the consumer market, and has been focused on the enterprise since CEO John Chen arrived a year ago. Yet BlackBerry could still appeal and be successful among consumers.