back to article Good grief! Have you seen BlackBerry's square smartphone?

Unveiled on Wednesday and already shipping, BlackBerry’s square-shaped Passport is a Marmite device – people will either love it or hate it. It’s quite uncompromisingly the most unusual smartphone in modern times. BlackBerry may as well have called it the “WTF”. BlackBerry Passport Trackpad-cum-keyboard on square phone – …

  1. JDX Gold badge

    "keyboard doubles as a capacitive multitouch trackpad"

    I am struggling to understand this... is the keyboard then just a touch-screen with letters glued behind it, like turning the onscreen keyboard on permanently on an iPhone? Or is it somehow a tactile keyboard with buttons, which is also a touch-pad (seems unlikely)?

    1. JeeBee

      Re: "keyboard doubles as a capacitive multitouch trackpad"

      It's the latter, a tactile keyboard with added touch-pad functionality integrated.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      as useful

      As useful as a square wheel

      1. JeffyPoooh Silver badge
        Pint

        Very Brief Design Brief

        Avoid Rounded Corners.

      2. Levente Szileszky

        Re: as useful

        Huh? Having a proper touchpad AND a proper keyboard is probably the most useful innovation on a mobile device in years...

        ...I know, I know, a stupid clueless AC is a just a stupid clueless AC, no need to reply, I know.

    3. RRoker

      Re: "keyboard doubles as a capacitive multitouch trackpad"

      It's a normal keyboard (in the fashion of past Blackberry devices) but with a capacitive layer on it meaning that you can use it like an oversized track pad (think the little optical pad in earlier devices but huge). I've seen a few demos of it and it looks really, really good.

    4. bazza Silver badge

      Re: "keyboard doubles as a capacitive multitouch trackpad"

      It's a real physical keyboard, with proper shaped, physical keys that move just as they should when you press them. Just like BlackBerry are famed for.

      It also a touch pad. And for a mobile device it's large. I'm assuming the screen is also touch enabled just like their other devices.

      That's probably counts as being clever, or possibly cunning. It's also an improvement on the little track button that old blackberries used to have.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "keyboard doubles as a capacitive multitouch trackpad"

      Yup, tactile plus touch pad - http://blogs.blackberry.com/2014/09/blackberry-passport-keyboard/

      I can picture it as one of those things you really don't appreciate until you get to try it, ie scrolling webpages, documents, emails, pdfs etc while also having great screen estate, editing functions look great as well.

    6. Shades
      Trollface

      Re: "keyboard doubles as a capacitive multitouch trackpad"

      If only the article was accompanied by photos where you could see for yourself. One with the device in someones hand at a slight angle would have been especially useful. Sadly I guess we'll never know.

      1. Frank Marsh

        Re: "keyboard doubles as a capacitive multitouch trackpad"

        Best Reg comment of the week. As I was thinking "Read the bl--dy article before commenting, you... " the satire hit me. Brilliant! Thanks for the laugh.

    7. Anonymous Coward
      Holmes

      Re: "keyboard doubles as a capacitive multitouch trackpad"

      Now that I've spent the past 2-3 years getting good at swype, not sure I really want to go back to double-thumb-punching a Blackberry again. That would slow me down quite a bit.

      1. Dr. Mouse Silver badge

        Re: "keyboard doubles as a capacitive multitouch trackpad"

        "getting good at swype, not sure I really want to go back to double-thumb-punching"

        With the touchpad layer, I could see swype-style functionality being added. This would have the advantage that you could feel the keys as you swipe over them, and could be incredible.

    8. W.O.Frobozz

      Re: "keyboard doubles as a capacitive multitouch trackpad"

      The add-on keypad for my PS3 controller had this as well. Just pretend the keypad is a touchpad...you drag your fingers over it and it moves a mouse pointer.

      1. JDX Gold badge

        Re: "keyboard doubles as a capacitive multitouch trackpad"

        I find it hard to imagine swiping my fingers over a bumpy surface but maybe it's one of those things you just have to experience to understand.

        1. DropBear Silver badge

          Re: "keyboard doubles as a capacitive multitouch trackpad"

          It's not a bumpy surface at all as far as I can tell from the evidence presented so far - just a dedicated but flat touch sensitive area, much like the "physical" buttons of some smartphones: lit and touch-sensitive, but NOT actually MOVING discrete pieces of plastic. I may well be wrong of course, but then please [citation needed] of a video or review that actually shows those touch-sensitive keys DEPRESSED AND PHYSICALLY MOVING.

          1. AMBxx Silver badge

            Re: "keyboard doubles as a capacitive multitouch trackpad"

            It's a proper keyboard, not just a touch sensitive screen.

            The symbol key and numbers have gone - they appear in the screen above when needed.

            Also allows autocomplete by swiping up on the keys.

            Brilliant design. Not sure it will work for me, but nice to have something interesting around.

          2. Michael Hutchinson

            Re: "keyboard doubles as a capacitive multitouch trackpad"

            Look at the picture in the article. You can clearly see the reflections from the edges of the raised buttons. They look like they're a single sheet, but each button is raised slightly so they'll be able to be pressed and give tactile feedback.

            I had a Samsung NV10 point & shoot digital camera years ago that allowed you to navigate the menus by swiping across the capacitive physical buttons on the back. It worked very nicely. This is (shock!) genuine innovation in the mobile phone sector.

          3. Cryo

            Re: "keyboard doubles as a capacitive multitouch trackpad"

            They are physical, moving keys. You should be able to tell they're not flat just by seeing how the light reflects off them in the photos here. Of course, this is a phone keyboard, so the key's aren't raised all that much, so they shouldn't get in the way of swiping. You can do a quick search on your favorite popular video sharing site if you want a video.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: "keyboard doubles as a capacitive multitouch trackpad"

          If you find it hard to swipe your fingers over a bumpy surface, I have to assume you're

          a) single

          b) not very creative

          I'll get my coat now, Mine's the one with a copy of a dirty mag in the pocket.

  2. goldcd

    That looks pretty damn good.

    Look at your market and give them something actually innovative.

    I've no idea if it'll save the company - but at least if they do bite the dust, they can walk away with their heads held high.

  3. Yugguy
    Happy

    Well I WANT ONE

    It has a proper tactile keyboard and it runs Android apps. It has decent battery power and gets a decent signal.

    Ticks every one of my boxes.

    1. Dr_N Silver badge

      Re: Well I WANT ONE

      Only thing it's missing for me is dual SIM...

      1. Gordon 10 Silver badge

        Re: Well I WANT ONE

        if it was a tiny bit more price competitive (say within 10-15% of a Nexus) I'd be seriously tempted.

      2. only me

        Re: Well I WANT ONE

        Not sure if it will do exactly what you want, but you know BlackBerry just bought this company? - http://www.movirtu.com/

      3. SupraTico

        Re: Well I WANT ONE

        BlackBerry acquired the company Movirtu last month which developed software for a virtual dual sim technology. In other words, it's a virtual second (or theoretically third, fourth or fifth sims) sim card that will allow you to have two phone numbers on the same phone functioning simultaneously.

        Check it out, it's pretty neat :)

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Well I WANT ONE

      I think the only thing that would put me off is having to deal with the endless sniggers and "wozzat?!" questions from the Sammy-Apple sheep!

    3. JeffyPoooh Silver badge
      Pint

      Re: Well I WANT ONE

      "...it runs Android apps..."

      Does it run Android apps any better than the BlackBerry Playbook's pathetic implementation of same?

      1. bazza Silver badge

        Re: Well I WANT ONE

        Yes, it does. The article states as much.

  4. AbelSoul

    Can't quite put my finger on why...

    ... but I think I like the look of that beastie.

    1. albaleo

      Re: Can't quite put my finger on why...

      It reminds me of something, but I can't remember what exactly.

      1. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        Re: Can't quite put my finger on why...

        They got the idea from the "After Eight" mint design. Slightly bigger of course, wonder if it comes with a similar case.

        I can see me upgrading my contract when the time comes.

    2. Martin-73 Silver badge

      Re: Can't quite put my finger on why...

      I'll try a few.

      It doesn't have silly curved corners, but they're not dangerously 'shuriken' sharp.

      The display is reasonable sized and a decent aspect ratio (not widescreen/narrowscreen, depending which way you hold it like every bl**dy thing else)

      It's from a well known company but not one with huge numbers of fanbois and/or haters

      The keyboard/touchpad looks like it will be easy to use, even for someone with largish fingers

    3. skeptical i
      Coat

      Re: Can't quite put my finger on why...

      Looks of similar dimensions to a whiskey (or whisky) flask to me, should fit nicely into a jacket stash pocket (see illustration -->). Sounds like a decent piece of kit, looking forward to further reviews when it's been put through its proper paces.

  5. JDX Gold badge

    I wonder if MS ever considered buying BB/RIM as well as Nokia, to try and sew up the business market.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "I wonder if MS ever considered buying BB/RIM as well as Nokia, to try and sew up the business market."

      Windows Phone already massively outsells Blackberry - and has about 25% of the UK business market. Blackberry wouldn't add much to the product suite.

  6. Down not across Silver badge

    They're onto something

    I think they maybe onto something. Oddly enough I am quite intrigued by it. Probably rather odd sensation holding something like that to your ear, however for uses other than phone the display format is quite appealing.

    I'm looking forward to how this one turns out.

    1. Spearchucker Jones

      Re: They're onto something

      Ditto. Might try one when my Lumia comes up for renewal. Never expected BB to come up with something that lies me from Windows Phone.

      Dead keen to have a play work one...

  7. David Dawson

    Never had a blackberry before, but I'm going to get one of these.

  8. Steve Knox
    Coat

    "Oh and it comes in black and white."

    Really? Rather retro, don't you think?

    Are there people out there who don't want a colour screen?

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: "Oh and it comes in black and white."

      There will be a special blinged "Ealing comedy" edition for the UK market

  9. Mage Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Pity they didn't get this out last year.

    This is probably their last chance. If it fits a standard inside pocket in a suit, a shirt pock and jeans, then the shape is OK. Less likely to get bent?

    A real keyboard that is a touch pad sounds good if properly done.

    Now if there was a Flip version same exact size (but a little fatter) with lid as 2nd screen able to fold underneath ...

    1. Darryl

      Re: Pity they didn't get this out last year.

      "Less likely to get bent?"

      Funny you should mention that:

      http://www.cnet.com/news/even-blackberry-is-making-fun-of-the-bendable-iphone-6/

  10. Richard42

    Innovative

    I do like this.

    I suspect it is a real keyboard that has capacitive sensing on each key, so the keyboard as a whole can act as a very low res, crude touchpad. Which for the purposes described should work just fine.

    1. Roger B

      Re: Innovative

      New screen format, actual keyboard and 30 hour battery? Proper innovation, its been a long time coming, hopefully it breathes some life into the "look how thin we can make our phone market" I'm guessing it doesn't bend to easily either? Win win all round!

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    tempted

    But need to see a few more hands on reviews and videos. Saw one review claim that every android app he tried crashes or didn't work and that you get a warning every time you install from Amazon app store and that one android app didn't work crashed constantly so he tried installing it from bbworld only for that to fail to install until he removed the android one... Looking at this review android apps should be fairly painless.. Hmm?

    The price is a bit of a bummer too bit more expensive than I was hoping. Definitely gives me food for thought when renewing the contract soon though

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: tempted

      I have been evaluating this device for a while. I have installed apps from BB World, Amazon Store and also from Google Play (via the sideloaded Snap application). The only app which I have experienced an issues with is Instagram which i downloaded from Google Play. Otherwise Google Maps, Banking Apps, Roku app, etc work absolutely fine.

      Once you get used to the UI and how it works it really becomes indispensable. I have lot count of the number of times i have absentmindedly used the swipe gestures on my iOS device - only to think "FFS sake Apple you need to pull your finger out". The iPhone has been relegated to a test device...

    2. Ralph Beales

      Re: tempted

      Odd that it's £367 in the USofA but £529 in Blighty.What's the extra £162 for?

  12. Nathan 6
    FAIL

    DOA

    This phone is DOA. One has to wonder why if this is such a good idea, why none of the other phone makers thought about it before? Maybe because, the vast majority of usability studies show that most people like a phone they can pocket, or they can easily slip into their pocket book. I guess once you get rid of over 60% of your staff, whatever is left isn't the most talented, or forward thinking bunch.

    The best think BB could have done, was to continue their BB7 line, while BB10 catches on. By now BB7 devices would have cost $50 bucks, and would have help them retain a lot of customers who are now in the Apple and Android world and would never go back to BB.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: DOA

      This phone is DOA. One has to wonder why if this is such a good idea, why none of the other phone makers thought about it before?

      All the current phone manufacturers see Apple making billions from producing the same old shaped slab with the screen on the front and a little button and decide to do the same thing and look how that is working out. It is a race to the bottom. The Samsung S5 was a failure (S4 owner here btw) and the Note 4 doesn't seem to offer anything than the Note 3 didn't. HTC and other firms are barely making profit on these things. At least if Blackberry are gonna go under they will go down fighting.

      Maybe because, the vast majority of usability studies show that most people like a phone they can pocket, or they can easily slip into their pocket book.

      There is a video on youtube where someone has helpfully compared it in size to other phones it might be considered with and it fits into pockets no problem. Maybe not skinny jeans, but that's not the target market here.

      The best think BB could have done, was to continue their BB7 line, while BB10 catches on. By now BB7 devices would have cost $50 bucks, and would have help them retain a lot of customers who are now in the Apple and Android world and would never go back to BB.

      I think Nokia have got the whole bottom of the market can't give them away market covered. BB7 is dead, but they should've done a QNX version of the bold design

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: DOA

        Sadly, your comment that the Note 4 isn't really an improvement over the Note 3 is part of the problem. Because I can buy a new Note 3 32G for £330. As a second device for use in the "office" environment, am I going to buy an interesting but untested design with some clever features for £530, or an interesting and tested design with some clever features for £330? Or get the latest technology in a OnePlus for around that £330 mark?

        This is about BB pricing. $600 US should be around £440 including VAT. £530 is sending the wrong signals, and if in a month's time it is £400 the word won't get round. They should have used the clever Oneplus marketing technique - get an invitation - and sold the first ones cheap to existing BB10 owners (or even offered a favourable trade in) to get mugs eyeballs on them.

    2. Lars Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: DOA

      Perhaps or perhaps not. But not long ago it was (can you remenber) brands like Motorola, Ericsson, Nokia. Things change, imagine if every car manufacturer gave up because of Toyota and VW. It would be better if no company had a market share above 10%. Many companies are far too big to day.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hope it gets an honest chance

    Not sure how I feel about it, but I love that it's a departure from the standard form. Nobody can accuse them of copying Apple or Samsung!

    Either way, I do hope this device gets an honest chance. Most of the mobile devs I work with would get an arrogant smirk on their face if you suggested a BlackBerry, and they'd make some snide comment about bringing out your dead.

    That said, hopefully actual consumers will give it a chance, being less likely to be pre-biased against BB. I for one welcome all the competition that the big two can get. Oh, and I guess there's a distant afterthought of a third - Windows Phone ;)

    1. cambsukguy

      Re: Hope it gets an honest chance

      > Most of the mobile devs I work with would get an arrogant smirk on their face if you suggested a BlackBerry

      > distant afterthought of a third - Windows Phone

      Kinda smirking there yourself aren't you?

    2. le.zap

      Re: Hope it gets an honest chance

      Seriously, why don't they come up with a device that uses the same type of keyboard that their old phones used to have. Many of the BB fanatics liked the tactile feedback *and the rounded shape* of their old keyboards... and then, even when they added a keyboard to BB10 devices, they went for a "straight" alignment of the keys which didn't make it as pleasant to use as the old scheme.

      Sigh! When they dropped BB5, they also stopped completely making devices available that had the physical characteristics that people were comfortable with. They might have been surprised at how many people would have bought a device with "a blackberry keyboard" underneath a taller screen.

      Oh well, I have now been typing on a silly glass keyboard for a few years (Android, IOS...), but still don't like it... and I am left to wonder at BB's strategy !?!?!

      1. BB

        Re: Hope it gets an honest chance

        They are releasing that one in November - called the "Classic".

  14. James 51 Silver badge

    Does it have a removable battery? Not the deal breaker it use to be but a micro sd slot is. And here's hoping that Amazon have gotten the video streaming working (not working on my 10.2 Q10).

    1. James 51 Silver badge

      Reread the article and spotted the word sealed. That's okay. Guess by the time that becomes a problem something will have broken first.

      1. Cryo

        It might not have a user-serviceable battery, but the large capacity should give it more room to degrade before that becomes an issue. Years down the line, when other smartphones only last half a day before needing a charge, this one should still be able to make it through the entire day with no problem.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Does it have a removable battery?

      No removable battery, but the one in there is big enough

    3. Irony Deficient

      Does it have a removable battery?

      James 51, I took a terrific battery, sealed 3450mAh as meaning that it was non-(readily-)removable.

      1. Fluffy Bunny

        Re: Does it have a removable battery?

        I took sealed to mean it didn't vent gasses to the air. Clarification would be nice.

    4. wdmot

      And, although the article didn't mention this (unless I missed it), the Passport does have a microSD slot, supporting up to 128GB. It also comes with 32GB Flash.

  15. Daniel Bower

    want one

    Have no need or use for one but that is one cool phone.

    Innovative, has truly original ideas in a market place where true innovation is as rare as rocking horse shit and looks like as functional smart phone as you'll see.

    1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      Re: want one

      +1.

      If this shows up in the UK for Xmas the daughter may get my old Xperia Arc as a hand me down and I may switch to this.

      If Sygic, Kindle and a few other Android apps I use run on it, they will definitely have me as a customer. It has the perfect size screen for a SatNav too (no, I am not out of my mind - my phone holder is mounted on my A-pillar which as in most modern car is thick enough to accommodate a 7 in tablet without obstructing the driver's view any more than it already is).

  16. aynranddeathmask

    This thing seems to sort of be a pocket laptop. I have one of the z10s as an extra phone and I've found it runs Android apps pretty well even with the 10.2 operating system. So if the the 10.3 update improves performance I could see going back to a Blackberry device full time. The browser is fantastic BTW. The passport does look weird, though. Don't think I'd ever use one myself but I can see how a segment of the business market might.

  17. etabeta
    Thumb Up

    Maybe this will save them from folding. I personally HATE on-screen keyboards. Interesting, and different from anything else on the market.

  18. Big_Ted

    For the money this or an iPhone 6 ?

    This every time, wish my phone was older so I could go for one....

    Just wish they had done it last year

  19. VinceH Silver badge

    Judging by the general feel of the comments above, I'll probably get downvoted for this - but I think it's fugly.

    1. Geoff Johnson

      I agree

      But it looks like it would be bloody good to use. To me, function wins over form in a phone.

      1. VinceH Silver badge

        Re: I agree

        "But it looks like it would be bloody good to use"

        And uncomfortable to hold, with the bottom corner pressing into the heel of your thumb. Rounded corners - as we usually get - are very beneficial there.

        1. Keyboard warrior
          Thumb Up

          Re: I agree

          Actually the square corners work very well. If you hold one in the traditional style of what used to be called the BlackBerry Prayer..the square corners help as you have more of you palm in contact with the edge. Make no mistake this is a two handed device where you use your thumb for typing rather than poking at the screen with one finger like a chimp examining its poop

  20. Bunty Collocks

    I miss the days when Nokia and others would bring out a different phone design every month. Clamshell, slide, spring loaded case, twist, square phones, tiny phones, strobing light phones, second screens on the case, novel keyboards etc etc

    Now it just seams to be minor variations on glass brick.

    Well done Blackberry.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I think i'd take one of these over a new iphone. Im getting sick of buying fandangly phones where i need to disable nearly everything in order to get a useful battery life.

  22. CaliWayne

    Keyboard layout?

    It is not the standard QWERTY. This will be a problem on the left side of the pond.

    1. JohnNE12

      Re: Keyboard layout?

      Confusing. The pic at the top of the article shows standard QWERTY layout - all the other pics show 'y' swapped with 'z'. Are the labels software programmable and not hardware?

      1. Hans 1 Silver badge

        Re: Keyboard layout?

        > all the other pics show 'y' swapped with 'z'.

        Deutsche Tastatur, Dummkopf!

    2. mrmond

      Re: Keyboard layout?

      Pretty sure the layout will be for whatever country it's being sold in. Qwerty for UK and everywhere that uses it, Qwertz for France etc.

      1. Chairo
        Happy

        Re: Keyboard layout?

        @mrmond:

        ...Qwerty for UK and everywhere that uses it, Qwertz for France etc.

        Only if the French would speak German. "qwertz" would be the German version. French keyboards use "azerty" layout. That said, I wonder if there will be a Japanese version and what kind of layout it will have. (Probably US standard?)

      2. Hans 1 Silver badge

        Re: Keyboard layout?

        AERTY = France

        QWERTZ = Deutschland

        They will be guillotined if they attempt to sell a QWERT{Z|Y} in France .... keyboard layouts, heard of them ?

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Looks good and interesting, but I wish they'd made it foldable like the IPhone 6 plus.

  24. Zack Mollusc

    Hmmmm...

    It will have to be good to overcome the crushing disappointment of the blackberry thing I was lumbered with in 2008.

    It supported bugger all video codecs/audio codecs/image filetypes/document types.

    The bastard thing formatted my uSD card when I put it in.

    The new blackberry has nice screen resolution, I hope it incorporates some way of displaying stuff on it.

  25. THECADMAN

    I like it ...

    "want to see more"

    Nice little video about it on the CNET website

  26. aurizon

    I deal in mining agreements and associated maps etc. The larger screen with sharper text will allow me to read agreements, and edit some, so I like that. It is a pain in the butt to try to read documents on smaller screen or rotated screens, so for that alone I like it.

    Bigger tabvlets seemed a little too large, but my nexus seven tablets are guite good

    The maps will be better viewed and zoomed on 4.5 inches square than with smart phone, but nothing beats a 32" monitor for maps or a 54" paper plotter. This is passport width = fits all suit pockets, and a few of me wider shirt pockets, but I can bespoke a few pockets.

    With the updated OS 10,3, I will buy one, wtf, my billing rate is $600/hour, so I will buy it and see. If it is flawed, there are juniors in the office lined up for my old phones and gadgets, I seem to buy something every few weeks.

    1. wolfetone Silver badge

      "my billing rate is $600/hour"

      Can I have your job?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "Can I have your job?"

        Being involved with mining, it could potentially be something dangerous that you might not actually want to do. Like being dropped into a pit of sweaty, sex-starved miners for one hour a month.

  27. Bad Beaver
    Thumb Up

    Pretty tight …

    … for something that wide. This is the first interesting device I've seen since the Jolla Phone came out. Bold, seems very well thought out, with an eye for the real-world needs of the target. Big thumbs up.

  28. wolfetone Silver badge

    Shut up and take my money!!!!

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    i know what it reminds me of....

    a ZX81.

    ...with a slightly more ergonomic keyboard.

    love it.

  30. therebel

    Good phone or bad phone they will never sell many at £529. You'd have to be mad to pay that. A few months after launch these will be less than £200 just like the other recent ones Z10 and Q5. The Z30 seems yet to be reduced but I think thats because many distributors didn't stock it as they got burnt with the Z10.

    Its a shame as the Z10 is a great phone.

    1. Timbo 1

      RE : Good phone or bad phone they will never sell many at £529

      Better specification than the dear iPhone and sold for less. And with a 801 SoC in it.

      Selling in the Netherlands (not really the cheapest of places for any electronics) soon for 575 EUR without a contract, so imagine you'd be able to get it in the uk soon enough for about 450 GBP.

      Not too shabby really.

  31. maxfl1

    Too funny...

    Great article, Andrew. Too funny. I was rolling on the floor, laughing, especially about needing some smelling salts to do the in-depth review. Oh man! iPhone failures, Google tracking everything I do and say. I've been going to estate sales recently looking for one of those ol' Western Electric hard metal, black, wall hanging phones with the 30 foot cords and ringer settings that only give you the choice of 2 or 4 rings. Those days of no choice were so much less stressful. WTF, why don't they just call it "square pants smart phone?"

  32. Fluffy Bunny

    Compatability

    Compatability is always important in an established market. The fact that you can run Andriod apps straight from the shop is probably it's greatest feature.

  33. Otto is a bear.

    Two handed Device?

    Sorry, but aren't all mobile device two handed, one to hold, one to tap, now a three handed device would be something special, in every meaning of the word.

  34. Mexflyboy
    FAIL

    Fugly as all hell

    This phone is fugly as hell, and I'm annoyed by the BlackBerry fanboys downvoting any valid criticism of this piece-of-poo-looking phone.

    1. Greg D

      Re: Fugly as all hell

      I think you are missing the point. You only think its fugly because you have a limited capability to imagine a phone as anything other than a long, thin glass slab. This is aimed at business professionals, and brings a lot of innovative features to the market.

      Who cares what it looks like when it does its job better than anything else available?

      I for one would seriously consider one for work.

      Good to see BB actually returning to their roots with this. I could never understand why they headed down the path of churning out el-cheapo consumer grade crap, along with their overpriced and over-complicated enterprise software.

    2. wolfetone Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: Fugly as all hell

      I'd happily use a phone shaped as a turd if it did what I wanted it to do.

      Typical bloody Apple fanboy, can't understand that there's more to functionality than just a shiny screen and a fruit logo on the back of it.

      1. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge
        Joke

        Re: Fugly as all hell

        Fruit logo?

        Do you think a banana would be appropriate for the new Iphone?

        1. wolfetone Silver badge

          Re: Fugly as all hell

          "Do you think a banana would be appropriate for the new Iphone?"

          A recycling centre would be more appropriate for the new iPhone.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Fugly as all hell

      could not find any constructive criticism -> so you get a downvote from me too

    4. Yugguy

      Re: Fugly as all hell

      You're annoyed. Lol. OH NO!!! Someone on the Internet disagrees with you.

      You must immediately spend the next 6 months finding any and all posts from these people and downvoting them.

  35. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Will they make a more compact version...

    ...for those of us who choose not to wear oversized trousers?

    I could be interested.

    1. kphair
      Happy

      Re: Will they make a more compact version...

      It is actually pocket sized. To double-check, I folded up some cardboard to the same dimensions and it fits comfortably in a shirt pocket. It looks like some joined-up thinking has been going on in Blackberry. I wouldn't mind being given this phone as a corporate mobile.

  36. DerpMcGert

    keyboard

    anyone else notice the Z and Y buttons were in the wrong place? More of a qwertz keyboard than a qwerty

  37. dominio público

    Trackpad cum?

    Who would want a trackpad-cum keyboard? Is that actually what it's called or a typo?

    1. JudeKay (Written by Reg staff)

      Re: Trackpad cum?

      It's a Latin preposition used between two nouns to show that an object has a dual nature, viz: kitchen-cum-living-room.

      1. larokus

        Re: Trackpad cum?

        Normally I wouldn't have such a burning desire to upvote stupidity

  38. Unicornpiss Silver badge
    Alert

    No number keys?

    The keyboard might be pretty useful, though as others have said, I'm pretty used to Swype. But why no number keys? (at least I don't see them) I'm assuming that the bottom of the touch screen displays number keys depending on the context, but if this is marketed as a business device, well, businesses use numbers. A lot. And so do users with their personal devices. A lot. Even texting someone something you're going kind of need them. "Hey Bob, I'll meet you at.... oh crap, where's the 8 key..."

    Maybe it's brilliantly implemented and I'm just missing something here...

    1. Big_Ted
      Facepalm

      Re: No number keys?

      Sigh....

      Google is your friend

      http://online.wsj.com/articles/blackberry-passport-review-a-smartphone-aimed-squarely-at-professionals-1411567271

      The keys appear at the bottom of the screen with other function keys etc......

  39. Salamander

    Some random thoughts

    I am intrigued by the Passport. The thing that struck me about it is that it is a device that no longer tries to pretend that it is a phone that also has some computer functions. It is a pocketable computer that can be a phone if you want it to.

    I have an Android phone but it rarely gets used as a phone. Most of the phone calls that I receive on it are PPI lawyers, ambulance chasers who insist that I have been involved in a no fault car accident in the last couple of years and calls from Three who try and sell me another 24 month contract.

    All the communication that I do these days is e-mail, social networking and messaging.

    One last thought. Whilst Android and iPhone are FIPS 140-2 compliant (A US government security standard), they are not compliant to the same level as Blackberry, which is compliant to the highest level (4). So if your employer insists that you must use a Blackberry, then they are trusting you with the most sensitive and confidential information possible.

    Under such circumstances, the Blackberry becomes a status symbol. You have arrived at the top. You have made it. However, you might need a body guard to go with the Blackberry.

  40. Chris Hunt

    "Apple has a clumsy workaround in iOS 8 for its giant iPhone 6 Plus that allows you to pull top of the display nearer your thumbs."

    The "clumsy workaround" being that you can bend it in two.

    1. Salamander

      You mean like a clam-shell mobile phone?

  41. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It looks fantastic. Will it bridge with my Playbook?

  42. jca111

    Tiles

    Well if I crack a tile in my bathroom, I can replace it with one of these.

  43. sinfocomar

    BlackBerry Passport - Black (UK) Out Of Stock

    Already sold out. Nice...

    1. zebthecat

      Re: BlackBerry Passport - Black (UK) Out Of Stock

      Blimey! That didn't take long.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: BlackBerry Passport - Black (UK) Out Of Stock

      Wow, they sold all seven of them?

  44. Glostermeteor

    Ewwwwww......someone actually designed that thing?

    It looks horrible. Blackberry is screwed....

  45. Dhevron

    The author is square

    Square? Where do they get these uneducated "journalists" from nowadays? It is a rectangle.

  46. Dogsauce
    Thumb Up

    Ode to Sir Clive?

    They've so clearly based the shape/layout of this phone on the stylings of the Sinclair ZX81, haven't they? Are they trying to appeal to a certain generation?

  47. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So clearly square phone

    Except its not, its clearly a RECTANGULAR phone, with a square screen.

    Looks pretty inovative to me, just because no one else had done it doesn't make it wrong.

    1. davemcwish

      Re: So clearly square phone

      Yup, I've got a vernier caliper if the El reg subs want to check.

  48. ATeal

    Keyboard problem?

    Hey why are the Z and Y the wrong way around? Is the keyboard virtual or is ... No how is that Qwerty?

    Alec

    1. ATeal

      Re: Keyboard problem?

      No seriously don't downvote, look at the pictures, it goes QWERTZ and where Z should be is where Y is!

      1. Drewc (Written by Reg staff) Gold badge

        Re: Re: Keyboard problem?

        Qwertz keyboards are used in Germany.

  49. -Puck-

    Few points...

    Just to reiterate, since some are still confused, the keyboard is in fact a "real" tactile keyboard. It also happens to have a capacitive layer, allowing laptop-like trackpad manipulation to scroll pages or flick up text suggestions. The flick up text prediction on BB10 is amazing, can't wait to try it with an actual physical keyboard.

    As for apps, I have been running a 10.3 leaked Passport OS on my Z10 for ages and never had an experience like some reviewers are claiming. I wonder if some of them even have the phone at all, and are just going by here-say or old OS Z10 reviews. I have installed apps from BB World, Amazon App Store, and Google Play store via Snap and I can only think of 2 issues - a free game that I don't even remember crashes to desktop at launch, and the Target App gives a Services Warning but can be ignored and it works perfect. I'm sure the poor app reviews were from people using 10.2 on older devices with its Gingerbread runtime and not 10.3 like the Passport ships with using the much newer 4.2 ICS. I currently have many andoid apps running flawlessly on my old dual core Z10 that should FLY on the Passport - Pebble app, Target App, Cartwheel, my brokerage app for stocks, Hungry Shark, MX Player, Google Maps, Speedtest, WinRar for Android, Starbucks app, and Vaulty. Heck, even Ghost Commander utility works to access system files, delete read only files/bloatware, and change permissions, notifications, and services. All are droid apps, and all work just fine.

    None of that is even taking into account the high end specs. 2.2ghz Quadcore Snapdragon 801 (800 that was tweaked for BB), 3GB Ram, Powerful Adreno 330 GPU, 32GB internal Memory, SD card up to 128GB, High res 1440x1440 screen, Over 450ppi....with the efficient and small footprint of the QNX based OS (which uses MUCH less resources then Android) this phone is going to fly. I have zero transition lag and apps open and close instantly on my 1.5ghz dual core with 2GB ram. Same OS on a 2.2ghz quad with 3gb will be crazy.

    For those that want the "traditional" BB experience, they are releasing a Bold based BB10 phone called the Classic, with a similar form factor and keyboard of the legendary Bold series of phones but with the speed and android support of BB10 OS.

    Blackberry really have turned themselves around the last couple years, and are finally back on the radar of a lot of people. I have a Passport on the way, since it is different enough to be a "see for yourself" type of phone. Can't just read about something like this and know how it will be to use.

    I will say, a large majority of reviews are being very positive on the device, especially "regular" people who get their hands on it in public...except for one or two "fanboy" reviews online that you can tell either dont even have the device or are just straight wrong (like the guy who claimed no droid apps work. I can show them working on the same OS), response has been positive.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Few points...

      Look, it's either "here-stay" (from one's owner, holding the end of one's leash) or "hear-say" (from someone who wasn't really there). It can't be both.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Few points...

        Wow! From one AC to another, you really took him apart with that rebuttal.

  50. drone2903 in Kanuckistant

    What pi$$ me off, why is it cheaper in the U$A than here, AGAIN.

    (yes taking the exchange rate in consideration thankyouverymuch)

    Really gets on my tits, everytime a Kanuckistany cie does that.

  51. Oldfogey
    Pint

    Almost....

    Now if only it folded in half, it could have a bigger keyboard (numbers etc.) and the same size screen - use it as a dumb phone without opening it.

    They could call it .. oh... maybe.. the Blackberry Psion?

  52. Doctor Evil

    But will it ...

    Will it bend? Hardly.

    But will it Blend™? Yes indeed!

  53. Fihart

    Price is a problem.

    BB could (judging by the sheer quantity of comments here) have a hit on their hands. But the price has to be closer to £400 to compete with the likes of the HTC One.

    Though I would never spend even that kind of money, have to say it ticks the right boxes -- a big screen and a physical keyboard.

  54. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The 1970s called, they want their calculator design guru back.

    A really, really horrid looking design. An eternal shame Blackberry have so comprehensively lost the lot.

  55. Phil Koenig

    Some clarifications

    No, it doesn't bridge with the Playbook (device was end-of-lifed last year) but it does BLEND with either an Android or iOS tablet, as well as Windows or OS-X desktops. (I've personally been waiting for Blend for a long while as among other things I really want to have a desktop client for BBM, which I believe it will provide)

    And to the person who claimed OS 10.3 is running "ICS" - no actually, it runs 4.3, which is a version of Jellybean, and has one feature that even newer Android builds like KitKat do not: "App Ops", which allows selective revoking of Android app permissions - one of my longtime serious gripes about Android. (It's a 'hidden" feature but various tools exist in the form of free Android apps to enable this functionality)

  56. Frankee Llonnygog

    Vertical markets

    Parcel delivery, healthcare, etc - could be a good fit

  57. sorry, what?
    Stop

    Real or virtual?

    I can't tell from the pictures (looks a bit virtual) and the article didn't say whether the keyboard is real keys, with real travel, or virtual ones like all the other devices...

  58. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    'Trackpad cum keypad'

    Yeah, no.

    Nobody is going to cum over that phone.

  59. Azzy

    Man, that's sexy. If I were a suit, I'd totally want one... I almost want one now

    I honestly don't think I've seen a phone that combines that level of polish with so many original features since 2007. The level of thought that is evident in the design is incredible. I'd really like to get to hold and use one - the trackpad sounds like a really good idea. One of the biggest frustrations I have when using my mobile devices is that selecting text really really sucks. I think the shortcuts also have a lot of potential (though it should be an obvious move for phones with a keyboard, the few current phones that have keyboards don't seem to do that).

    It's definitely got potential - if the software, and those upcoming buisiness-friendly features work in practice, this could return Blackberry to relevance.

  60. Breen Whitman

    I like it. Looks like a man's phone.

    "Apple is just too mainstream".

    Screen looks great. Portrait is only useful for ebooks on my Samsung. And landscape is too short.

  61. 0laf Silver badge

    Don't know it it's enough even if it turns out to be brilliant

    It's....odd. I suspect you can only really judge this one by using it for a while and a 5 minute fondle in a shop won't do that.

    I'm also not very sure this will work. Sometimes how well a product works just doesn't matter. If your board members think that they will get sniggered at by their peers when they whip a BB Passport out then they won't take it, they'll stick with the shiny.

    The productive people in the middle that might benefit from the productivity features and probably don't care as much about what device they use may not get the option.

    Also there is still a big question over the costs of running the BB12 back end to manage these. devices. It's a big ask to overhaul everything to stick with a company that may or may not be around in 2yr. Might be easier to overhaul everything and go device agnostic allowing all mobile device types to be used.

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