The BlackBerry Passport is one odd device. On the one hand, its hardware is fitting for a 2014-era flagship with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor (3GB RAM), 32GB of internal storage, 802.11ac, Bluetooth 4.1, a 13MP rear camera with OIS, and a massive 3450 mAh battery. On the other hand, the device has an odd 4.5” 1440x1440 square display and squared off edges which doesn’t exactly make it very ergonomic.
While the Passport officially launched back in late September, it is just now arriving on AT&T’s network. And wouldn’t you know it, AT&T is already cutting corners… really. AT&T apparently didn’t take too kindly to the original design of the Passport and ask BlackBerry to go back to the drawing board to make it curvier before it would sign off on carrying the device.
According to CrackBerry, BlackBerry CEO John Chen explained the change, stating, "AT&T wanted rounded corners. Some of us are more square. No other reason than that."
It stands to reason that BlackBerry needs AT&T a whole lot more than AT&T needs BlackBerry at this point, so we aren’t too terribly surprised by the move. Besides, the redesign, which makes the Passport’s corners rounded, looks better to my eyes.
Other than the change in the Passport’s physical appearance, all other hardware remains the same. As for pricing, AT&T says that you can purchase the Passport with a two-year contract for $199.99 or buy it outright for $649.99. You also have the option of using AT&T NEXT 24, 18, or 12, which will set you cost you an additional $21.67, $27.08, or $32.50 respectively per month.
AT&T will also carry the BlackBerry Classic for $49.99 with a new two-year contract or $419.99 with no commitment. Apparently, the Classic’s looks were deemed good enough as it heads to AT&T’s network without any nips or tucks.