BlackBerry decided to step out of the consumer market in 2013, instead focusing their efforts on BBM and business customers. It has not been a great move for BlackBerry, while they incur lower losses under their new CEO John Chen, BlackBerry has also lost the tiny bit of mobile market share they had under ex-CEO Thorsten Heins.
It looks like the Canadian firm still want to make smartphones, announcing the BlackBerry Passport as their new flagship. It differs from the previous BlackBerry touchscreen phones, with a design that mimics an international passport in size, with a square screen.
The end result looks weird, to say the least. Compare this to the iPhone or any Android phone, it is a lot wider and content doesn’t look right on a square display, even if it is a super sharp 1440 x 1440 resolution display.
Internally the BlackBerry Passport is a beast, running a Snapdragon 801 processor and 3GB of RAM. The phone is running BB 10.3, which brings a few upgrades to the smartphone, along with the Kindle Apps Store. This makes Kindle apps function on the BlackBerry Passport, grabbing access to a larger library. The problem is these Kindle apps do not work extremely well, since they are third party and some are not optimised for the square screen.
The BlackBerry Passport is a bizarre device only BlackBerry could create. The dimensions are foreign to any other smartphone maker and the idea of porting Kindle apps would seem stupid, even to Windows Phone. BlackBerry is still banking on BBM on Android and iOS. It did have a good few months, but we haven’t seen the continued support for the service. The BlackBerry Passport shows a reinvigoration of the smartphone market, but we cannot see many people buying into it.