Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : September 30th 2014 Contents A34
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Tuesday, September 30, 2014
In the week of Bendgate, with flocks of pigeons
flocking with diarrhoeal enthusiasm over Apple s
launch of the iPhone 6 Plus, it was hard to imagine
that another technology company might be able to
rival the misfortunes of the Cupertino company and
its allegedly overly-flexible new phone.
But one only needed to look north to Toronto to
find the once erstwhile and market-leading BlackBerry
offering up a new smartphone to skies thick and dark
with corbeaux with their bladders full.
If there s anything
worse than bad press,
it s got to be no press,
or so little of it hardly
matters. Even worse
than that is the
prospect of marginal
market share for not
just a new product, but
one that represents
BlackBerry s last, best
hope for a presence in
the pockets of business
At a cozy event on September 24 in Waterloo,
Ontario, and in the company of famed hockey player
Wayne Gretzky, BlackBerry CEO John Chen introduced
the new Passport device, a squat looking little smart-
phone with a design influence that seems based on
If you re looking for style, seek out the BB Porsche
Design P 9983, a smartphone with far more impressive
design pedigree, but BlackBerry is positioning the
Passport as the device that its dedicated users will
want to migrate to.
It s pretty ham-handed positioning though, the
P 9983 will be available through Harrods at the Porsche
Design in-store shop for £1,400.
The company is playing a careful and deliberate
marketing game here, announcing on its home turf
and claiming Canadian carrier Telus as its first official
partner with accompanying discounts for the first
weeks of sale.
AT&T has been announced as its official US carrier,
with 30 selected territories to come soon (T&T isn t
one), though the phone will apparently be widely
available unlocked at a US price of $599.
That s already proven to be a key factor in the phone s
appeal to its audience.
Within hours of its release, BlackBerry was blogging
about the 200,000 orders for the device on Amazon
that had skyrocketed the Passport to the top spot
among smartphones on the company s US store.
For the average user, the Passport hits some modern
notes as well as some old favourites. The BlackBerry
keyboard is back, for one thing, along with a hefty
3,450 mAh capacity battery that s rated for 30 hours
of average use.
The new keyboard, which is generating mixed feelings
among the BB faithful, also functions as a trackpad
with a swipe across its surface.
As with other recent BlackBerry models, this device
runs some Android software, which users can access
through the preloaded Amazon Appstore app.
The phone s specifications are a distinctly average;
Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 2.2 GHZ quad-core proces-
sor, 3MB RAM, 32GB storage and a 13MP camera.
Earning a place in the pockets and clasps of today s
executives will be a challenge for the hefty phone,
which weighs in at heavyweight class at 5.03 inches
tall, 3.55 inches wide, and 0.37 inches thick. It also
bends the scales at 6.91 ounces.
BlackBerry is putting it to their users that they really
need a square tank to be efficient, and they may be
the only smartphone maker with a business base ded-
icated enough to survive the asking.
With a square screen, this isn t a device for look-
ing at movies or YouTube videos, it s dedicated to
creating an old-school workspace with a distinctly
modern pixel density of 453 pixels per inch on a
4.5 inch screen. Words, spreadsheets and presen-
Passport to where?
tations will be crisp and sharp.
From the perspective of BlackBerry s recent
smartphone history, the Passport is actually a
strong entry in the market, but the market has
also generally moved on to faster, smaller,
sleeker devices with far richer software ecosys-
I ve said it before, and I ll say it again.
Good hardware is the price of entry into this
competition for smartphone customers, soft-
ware is where they are won over and BlackBerry
hasn t done a thing worth noting on that front.
chairman and CEO John Chen
holds up the company's new
Passport phone at
Wednesday's launch event.
PHOTO COURTESY BLACKBERRY
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