BlackBerry Passport launch-event overview

The BlackBerry Passport launch event has just ended in Canada, and unlike Apple’s launch event, the whole affair was live-streamed by BlackBerry. We were looking forward to this event because the Passport is a unique device and we were curious what BlackBerry had in mind for the future of the company. The BlackBerry Classic and BlackBerry Passport were supposed to be launched at the event, but we only ended up with one of them as of yet.

The BlackBerry Classic was not launched alongside the BlackBerry Passport, but we did get a good replacement show: the BlackBerry Blend, a platform that connects your devices no matter the OS. The BlackBerry Blend actually seemed to be the highlight of the show, with a beautiful presentation, versatile software and real-world utility, The BlackBerry Passport is still an exciting device, though, with a lot of uses both in business and personal environments. The Passport is available starting today at TELUS and AT&T for $700 in Canada and $600 in the U.S.

The BlackBerry Passport also comes with BlackBerry 10.3 OS which has a BlackBerry Assistant that can help you the way Siri or Google Now do. You can use voice commands and the BB Assistant can perform tasks like scheduling appointments, writing notes and messages and help you navigate. The Passport also features high quality speaker phones louder than those you might find on other flagships like the Galaxy S5, Lumia 1020, Oppo Find 7 and OnePlus One.

The BlackBerry Passport presumably features outstanding battery life. This feature will certainly come in handy in the competition against the iPhone 6, Galaxy Note 4, Moto X and Sony Xperia Z3. The Passport is said to last for 30 hours on a single charge, which is pretty darn impressive. We’ll have to wait and see whether it will live up to that number in real life situations.

The Passport sports a 4.5 inch screen with 1440*140 resolution at 453 ppi pixel density and it can fit 60 characters wide per line. The device incorporates a quad core Snapdragon 801 CPU, Adreno 330 GPU, 3 GB RAM and 32 GB internal storage expandable via microSD card. The BlackBerry Passport has a 13 MP shooter on the rear and 2 MP selfie camera. John Chen seemed to be focusing more on apps than on hardware. One of the cool apps you will be able to use as a medical professional can actually offer 3D renders of X-rays and ultrasounds you can manipulate. There’s also a Bloomberg app, aimed at business users and Amazon app store for anything else you would want. BlackBerry Passport users will get a free app every day from the Amazon app store which is not bad at all.

The BlackBerry Passport boasts with a QWERTY touch enabled keyboard as the company calls it and it’s a combination of a virtual and physical keyboard. It can also act like a touchpad and you can scroll content around by swiping over the keys and use swipes to select suggested words when typing. You will also have another row of virtual keys brought up when you are typing with punctuation marks and numbers. You can even use a cursor and move it around by swiping on the keys.

We also found out that the BlackBerry Classic would be launched by the end of the year. John Chen didn’t mention an exact launch date, but he did (sort of) officially announce that BlackBerry has not given up on the smartphone market by informing us that the company will be launching four more phones in the future. We don’t know whether the new phones will all get launched by the end of the year, but it’s unlikely that BlackBerry would rush into this. Although it would be a nice strategy offering customers cheaper and more business- and productivity oriented alternatives to phones like the iPhone 6, Galaxy Note 4, Sony Xperia Z3 and HTC One M8, it remains to be seen what  future BlackBerry devices will offer.

The BlackBerry Passport is a promising device and taking into account that its design and features are more business oriented than the average smartphone, it is appropriately priced and has the power and quality needed to compete with the likes of the Galaxy S5, Xperia Z3 and iPhone 6. We are curious how many purchases the Passport will get by the end of the year, but we might see numbers beyond the billion mark.