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Blackberry Passport: the (old) new entrant for the enterprise

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Picture this.

A large phone, a really large phone. With a wide, physical keyboard. A rather squarish body with nothing else going for it except it only looks weird. Runs Android apps, sans Google apps, Snapchat and Instagram.

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That, is the Blackberry Passport in a nutshell.

It doesn’t hail itself for being your everyday Android or iPhone because Blackberry says it won’t necessary be for you. It’s for the business man, the “Power Pros”. The no nonsense, guy-in-suit who knows nothing else but black suit and spreadsheets, Instagram be damned. So, it’s big and utilitarian because it means business…literally.

This is Blackberry’s fight to stay relevant in a world championed by Android and iPhones. So in this case they plan to focus on their core market, enterprise.

The Blackberry Passport is a mixed bag of weird aesthetics, dreadful stutters and nifty new features that won’t turn a few heads but won’t go unnoticed. I can imagine Blackberry execs sitting on a conference table passing a few stares, then a few nods to something that is the Passport, agreeing that this phone is everything for the business world.

First things first, it looks big. It is reportedly big, bigger than any Blackberry you’ve ever seen. It has a 4.5-inch screen with 1440×1440 resolution. It is more square than anything, which is likely good for reading and bad for watching videos (pretty serious letter-boxing going on).

You can easily see  why they did this. If you’re a business guy then number crunching is everything you’d be doing. Opening spreadsheets, processing Word documents shouldn’t be any problem with a screen this size.

While it’s great for business, it’s bad for anything else. Blackberry tapped the Amazon App Store, not the Google Play Store for apps. The Blackberry App World is still present which makes for two App Stores, but Blackberry says it’s present because it has all the enterprise apps, courtesy of Blackberry.

So this is a bad start for Google aficionados (no YouTube, you’re a business guy remember?). This means the Passport will be running plenty of apps that you won’t be familiar with. But it’s a good thing of you are a business guy, I mean who has time for selfies?

The build quality on the BlackBerry Passport is also reportedly good. It takes a beating but stays rugged which is a good thing for a phone this size. It helps that the phone itself looks sturdy and well built, it is held by a metal frame that keeps it from falling apart, but for all we know it is very much a Blackberry in the build quality department.

You may also want to type with a physical qwerty keyboard because it’s clicky and nostalgic. But make no mistake, you won’t be able to use it with one hand on the Blackberry Passport. The phone is apparently too heavy, heavier than an iPhone 6 Plus or the Galaxy S5.

You’ll have to aid yourself with two hands to get a nice typing experience. Reports do point out that it’s not exactly quicker than using a virtual keyboard, but don’t let that work you up.

An interesting twist added to the keyboard is touch sensitivity. Swipe over the keys and scroll whatever’s on the screen, it sounds great.

Blackberry wasn’t going to skimp on the camera, so they added a 13 MP camera which performs exceptionally well. It shoots video at 1080p resolution at 30 or 60 fps (frames per second). It reportedly takes great photos, but again you can keep them to yourself as far as Instagram or Snapchat is concerned.

It comes with a feature called Blend that allows you to connect with your iPad, Windows PC, or Android tablet via USB, WiFi or cellular network to access stuff like your BBMs, your calendars, emails and other stuff  that can be synchronized.

The processor running on the Blackberry Passport is the highly capable  Snapdragon 801 processor (the same processor on the S5) and it is backed by a whooping 3 GB of RAM. So performance-wise this phone is no slouch.

Lastly, the battery is also said to be good. It’s kind of a no-brainer since the phone is plenty huge. So by that logic the phone should pack a battery with high capacity. It’s huge, but if you want to get the job done on the Blackberry Passport you can easily do it without breaking sweat, you wouldn’t want to imagine your phone dying on your way to the meeting.

I can easily see the Blackberry Passport doing pretty well for its target demographic. Blackberry does have a strong footing in the enterprise because that’s their forte, and if you’re in Zimbabwe and you feel like all you want is a business-centric phone, then look no place else, this could be the phone for you.

Image Credit – CNET


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