Today the BlackBerry Passport was officially made available with its unique design, combining a large square touchscreen with a touch-enabled keyboard. The device is designed with the mobile professionals in mind and promises to keep its users more productive.
The Passport is a premium device with flagship hardware. You get 32GB of internal storage which can be expanded by microSD, a 13MP rear camera with optical image stabilization and a 2.2GHz quad-core Snapdragon 800 processor with 3GB of RAM
One of the things that makes the Passport unique is its 4.5 inch square display, which has a 1440 x 1440 pixel (453ppi) resolution, 1:1 aspect ratio and Corning Gorilla Glass 3 protection. BlackBerry claims that this offering allows the user to get more done than on a regular smartphone.
Touch enabled QWERTY keyboard
Next we have the touch enabled full-size QWERTY keyboard, which includes features like On-Key Scrolling, Flick to Type, Swipe to Delete, and Fine Cursor Control. On-Key scrolling allows you to scroll through on-screen content by brushing your fingers on the keyboard like it was a laptop track-pad. This way, you never obstruct the screen while scrolling. Flick to Type and Swipe to Delete are familiar AutoCorrect experiences in which you flick upwards on the keyboard to use next-word suggestions, or flick left to erase the last word entered. Finally, Fine Cursor Control is a "cursor simulator", in which you control a cursor on-screen using keyboard swipes. This lets you zone in on specific content with great precision.
BlackBerry OS 10.3
The BlackBerry Passport comes with the latest BlackBerry 10.3 pre-installed. With version 10.3 you get new features such as BlackBerry Assistant, BlackBerry Blend and Amazon Appstore. It has a fresh look that incorporates updated icons and an instant action bar so that each user’s most commonly accessed functions are in the center of their screen.
BlackBerry Assistant - The BlackBerry Assistant is BlackBerry’s first digital assistant and can be used with voice and text commands to help users manage work and personal email, contacts, calendar and other native BlackBerry 10 applications. BlackBerry Assistant intelligently determines how to respond to you based on how you interact with it – if you type, it responds silently, if you speak, it speaks back and if you activate over Bluetooth, it speaks back with additional context because it assumes you might not have access to the screen.
BlackBerry Hub with Instant Actions - The BlackBerry Hub found in BB 10.3 gets the new Instant Action feature along with visual enhancements. This lets users delete, file, and manage the entire inbox by simply tapping on specific icons. As always, users can accept or decline meeting invitations, or reply to text and chat messages from social networks and apps without leaving the BlackBerry Hub. The Instant Actions feature is found in the left corner of the Hub.
Android apps through Amazon Appstore - The Amazon Appstore is preloaded on the BlackBerry Passport, giving its users access to a wide array of available Android apps and games. Users can download their native BlackBerry 10 apps through BlackBerry World or venture into the Android app store when they need to find more.
The BlackBerry 10.3 update will also be rolled out to older BlackBerry 10 devices including the BlackBerry Z10, BlackBerry Z30, BlackBerry Q5 and BlackBerry Q10.
Pricing and Availability
You will be able to purchase the Passport starting today, directly through BlackBerry and through various retailers around the world. The BlackBerry Passport (unlocked) is available through ShopBlackBerry.com for customers in Canada, France, Germany, the UK and the U.S. immediately following the launch, at "special introductory prices":
- Canada – $699
- France – €649
- Germany – €649
- UK – £529
- USA – $599
Before the end of the year, the BlackBerry Passport will be available in more than 30 countries, including the U.S., UK, Canada, Saudi Arabia and the other parts of the Middle East, France India, Singapore, Austria, Germany, Nigeria, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, Netherlands, South Africa, Australia, Vietnam, Belgium, Italy, Switzerland, Mexico, Venezuela, Philippines, Russia, Slovakia, Spain, Romania and Colombia.