Blackberry Passport Veers From ‘Traditional’ Design

The Blackberry Passport is perhaps Blackberry’s least conventional device of recent years.

With a 4.5″ square display (1440 x 1440, 453ppi) and physical keyboard, the Passport is a long way from the iPhone 6. It does have a Siri-like assistant, though (Blackberry Assistant), designed for professional use. Unlike rival systems, the Assistant supports text commands as well as voice.

The display is protected by Gorilla Glass, and the keyboard (only letters – numbers and punctuation will appear on-screen) is touch enabled. Users will be able to ‘flick up’ on the keys to mimic the predictive typing on the Blackberry Z10.

Blackberry claims that the phone will run for up to 30 hours on a single charge (according to Crackberry, the phone fell to 15% battery after 16 hours of use – not bad for a smartphone!). It is not replaceable, however.

Call quality is improved through Blackberry Natural Sound Technology. NST is designed to adapt calls made over WiFi or cellular data, depending on phone position and background noise. Another useful phone feature is the Blackberry Hub, providing a single place to manage all conversations – whether they are made through SMS, BBM, email, phone calls or social media.

Using Blackberry Blend, users will have access to their content – such as calendar, messages, notifications and contacts – from the Passport on their PC and tablet. These devices can also be used to respond to BBM and text messages.

BB10 will run on a 2.2GHz quad-core Snapdragon 800 CPU. As well as Blackberry’s app store, users will have access to Android apps from Amazon.

The Blackberry Passport is available in Europe and the USA now, for $600.