Blackberry Passport Launched To Battle Samsung And Apple But Does Anyone Even Care?

On one hand, we have to give credit to BlackBerry for attempting to think outside the box as it struggles to find relevance in a crowded mobile market. However, we're not sure the Canadian handset maker's new Passport device with its large square screen and touch-sensitive tactile keyboard is the answer to the company's problems.

BlackBerry certainly thinks fondly of the Passport. The company dedicated a blog post complete with sketches, rough schematics, and a video to the Passport's design. And in case you're wondering, the answer is yes, the device was inspired by (and named after) actual passports.

BlackBerry Passport

"Inspired by actual passports, the universal symbol of mobility, the size and form factor of BlackBerry Passport is portable enough to easily tuck into pockets and use where you go," BlackBerry explains. "Utilizing premium, robust materials such as Corning Gorilla Glass 3 for the display and forged stainless steel for added strength, BlackBerry Passport will provide the durability business professionals require in a smartphone."

BlackBerry has been known for its keyboards, and on the Passport, the company claims its QWERTY keyboard is nearly four times more accurate than BlackBerry 10 virtual keyboards with an error rate that's on average 74 percent lower. It's a physical plank that's sensitive to touch input as well, so you get both a touch and tactile experience without obstructing the view of the 4.5-inch display (1440x1440, 453 dots per inch).

Other specs include a Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 quad-core processor clocked at 2.2GHz, Adreno 330 graphics, 3GB of RAM, 32GB of internal storage, microSD card slot, 13MP rear-facing camera with optical image stabilization, 802.11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, NFC support, and various other goodies. As for battery life, BlackBerry claims up to 32 hours of mixed use.

The BlackBerry Passport is available to pre-order today for $599.99 outright; it will be released tomorrow, September 25.