BlackBerry Passport one step closer to launch after FCC meet

BlackBerry Passport one step closer to launch after FCC meet
With the BlackBerry Passport, the company has not seen such a pre-release buzz for a new handset, since the BlackBerry Storm 9530 was rumored to be an "iPhone killer" back in 2008. The Storm failed to live up to the hype, especially the Sure-Press typing system, which was supposed to make typing on glass feel as though you were typing on a physical QWERTY.

Ever since the Apple iPhone was unveiled in 2007, BlackBerry has focused on trying to combine a touchscreen with its iconic physical keyboard. The BlackBerry Torch 9810 combined a touchscreen with a vertical sliding keyboard. And the BlackBerry Bold 9900/9930 offered a small touchscreen display with the beloved BlackBerry physical QWERTY. 

BlackBerry is once again tweaking its physical keyboard on the Passport. The three rows of letters lack punctuation keys or numbers. These will appear on virtual keys that are on the touchscreen, just above the top row of the physical keyboard. The keys that appear are contextually based. In other words, if you are browsing the internet, the virtual keys will include a colon (:) and  a back slash (/). While sending an email, the virtual keys should include an "at sign" (@). And as we've seen on video, the Passport's keyboard doubles as a trackpad.

What is getting everyone excited about the device is not only the new keyboard, but also the unique square look, and the high-end specs. The BlackBerry Passport will feature a 4.5 inch screen with a 1440 x 1440 resolution. That will provide a tremendous pixel density for users. A quad-core Snapdragon 800 CPU is under the hood, with 3GB of RAM inside. A 3450mAh battery should provide power for at least one-full day.

The good news is that the BlackBerry Passport recently visited the FCC, taking the phone one step closer to its rumored September launch. While the image in the FCC documentation doesn't exactly look like the dimensions of the Passport, the "split-top" and the centered camera resemble the back of the device perfectly.

With BlackBerry 10.3 installed out of the box, the big question for BlackBerry is whether the Passport can take on the Apple iPhone 6, Samsung Galaxy Note 4, and other high-end models coming out in the third and fourth quarter of the year.

source: FCC via Crackberry



6. Droid_X_Doug

Posts: 5993; Member since: Dec 22, 2010

Honestly, BB/RIM f*cked up with the Torch - it was only available on AT&T. If they had released it on all 4 carriers, it would have sold at least 2x what it sold on AT&T alone. The Torch had some nice things going for it - physical keyboard + full size sliding screen that covered the keyboard. But the AT&T exclusive doomed it in the U.S. Once I saw what a carrier exclusive did for the Torch, every time I saw carrier exclusives, I knew the product would under-perform in sales. Even Apple realized the folly of carrier exclusives and got out from under AT&T early.

9. meanestgenius

Posts: 23173; Member since: May 28, 2014

You are incorrect when you say the Torch was only available on AT&T. It was available on T-Mobile as well. There was even a version available on Sprint, buf it was all touch and no keyboard.

20. Droid_X_Doug

Posts: 5993; Member since: Dec 22, 2010

Re. T-mo availability, I think you are referring to the 9810, which if memory serves, was the second gen Torch (1st gen being the 9800). With the 9810, Rim kinda learned their lesson with the AT&T carrier exclusive, but only as relates to adding T-Mo, who didn't exactly have a large footprint subscriber-wise. I don't recall a version of the Torch for Sprint and I was a Sprint customer at the time (the 9530 was available only on VZW, which was another stupid move, it just didn't matter, as the 9530 was such a fail). I moved over to VZW with the Droid X in 2010 and after one year, said goodbye to Sprint. If there was a Torch available on either Sprint or VZW, I would have purchased one. But no Torch meant that I was checking out the Droid X (not unlike quite a few who checked out the OG Droid when Apple gave AT&T a carrier exclusive on the iPhone). Net-net, not releasing the Torch on VZW or Sprint and a year later on T-Mo, has to rank as one of the stupidest moves by Balsillie and Lazaridis.

21. meanestgenius

Posts: 23173; Member since: May 28, 2014

In your original post, you didn't make it clear which BlackBerry Torch You were referring to: first gen or second gen. The Torch for Sprint was second gen. It was the 9860. AT&T offered a GSM version. Verizon offered a version of the 9860 as well.

22. meanestgenius

Posts: 23173; Member since: May 28, 2014

The all touch version of the Torch for Sprint and Verizon was the 9860, not 9850.

10. Scott93274

Posts: 6044; Member since: Aug 06, 2013

Apple didn't get out in time. I am an avid Android user and I will never go IPhone, but that wouldn't have happened if they were open to all US carriers to begin with. I was desperate for an iPhone when it was first released, but I was unwilling to leave Verizon. Now that I've grown accustomed to Android, I'm not going to switch to another platform. If Apple had been open to the whole US market from the start they would have been the ones with the 85% market share not because they were/are better, but because people would have stuck with their first platform and that would have been the iPhone.

18. 0xFFFF

Posts: 3806; Member since: Apr 16, 2014

Easy to say now. But ATT was the company that let Apple control the phone while Verizon refused. The iPhone story would also have turned out differently if it had been marketed, sold, and filled with crapware like the rest of the carrier phones.

4. petedavison93

Posts: 18; Member since: Mar 28, 2013

An ampersand looks like '&'.. not '@'

3. Scott93274

Posts: 6044; Member since: Aug 06, 2013

I really don't want to sound like a troll, and I am not saying anything about the quality of the their products, but is BlackBerry even relevant any more? I feel like no matter what actions they take, no matter what they do, the world as a whole just doesn't care any more.

5. ablopez

Posts: 235; Member since: Apr 15, 2014

I think you're looking at it from a consumer standpoint. Their focus is on enterprise, so this is where this phone will matter. If BlackBerry successfully markets this to the consumer, you should see some hype.

7. Scott93274

Posts: 6044; Member since: Aug 06, 2013

Yeah, maybe you're right, I guess it's easy to forget when it's market share is included with consumer brands in quarterly reports.

11. cncrim

Posts: 1591; Member since: Aug 15, 2011

Sorry bring thats news to you but ios will fill that gap. Blackberry know she loose the comsumer front the only hope of bread and butter for her is enterprise. However, without enough developer support the backbone of the that front she have accept her faith. On other note, Blackberry playing with fire on Passport, e reware will big if play rite, but I think she will get burn. Time will be prove I'm wrong or rite.

12. meanestgenius

Posts: 23173; Member since: May 28, 2014

Your comment about iOS is laughable. What makes you think iOS will be able to fill any "gap" in enterprise where BlackBerry is concerned when they haven't been able to thus far? Apples tie up will NOT help them gain much traction against BlackBerry in a field which they dominate. IBM has not been able to make great inroads in the enterprise space either. Those two coming together to make apps for enterprise cannot compete with the complete end to end solution that BlackBerry offers in enterprise. NO organization truly concerned about security will open up themselves to an app masquerading as a solution for enterprise. You are clearly buying into the hype that surrounds Apples name. BlackBerry's bread and butter has ALWAYS BEEN ENTERPRISE. Even way back when BlackBerry first burst on to the seen. They are not trying something new. Enterprise is a field that they have been in and have experience in for more than 30 years. They have a market share of over 60% in the enterprise field. The Apple /IBM tie up will do little, if anything at all, to change this. Referring to the Passport: The Passport is a breath of fresh air in terms of design in a sea of "me too" devices that populate the mobile industry today. BlackBerry has a hit in the making on their hands with the Passport, especially in regulated industries. You WILL be proven wrong about the Passport.

8. meanestgenius

Posts: 23173; Member since: May 28, 2014

You really do sound like a troll. Just saying. You're statement, however, is incorrect. While BlackBerry has lost much of its luster in many consumer areas of market, governments and those in the regulated industries still rely on and use BlackBerry's heavily. BlackBerry also has some strongholds left in the consumer market, such as various countries in Asia and Africa, as well as Canada. Also, have you not noticed the amount of consumer interest in the Passport? From media types all over the web to the average consumer, there has been really high interest in the Passport. BlackBerry has also made some really good moves as of late, like the Secusmart acquisition, the investment in Nanthealth, Project Ion and the IoT, cross-platform BBM, QNX, and a number of other things. I can provide links for you, if need be.

13. Scott93274

Posts: 6044; Member since: Aug 06, 2013

Links are not necessary. I'm not all that interested in the company and I don't really go looking for articles on the matter, so I will just have to take your word for it. I'm simply stating my opinion of the company from what I've seen off of Phone Arena. You have the admit that a good number of articles on this site don't have very optimistic headlines dealing with BlackBerry.

15. meanestgenius

Posts: 23173; Member since: May 28, 2014

You are correct. A good deal of articles on this site(and many others)do not offer optimistic views about BlackBerry at all. One has to wonder if sites like PA, Boy Genius, Financial Post and others are nothing more than either paid trolls of BlackBerry or if they just don't bother to find any positive news about BlackBerry, which is definitely o it there. Many web sites and users of those sites are guilty of the exact same thing that you said you don't do, which is look to see if they can find positive articles about BlackBerry. For journalists of any tech site to willingly either not search for factual, relevant news be it positive or negative, or to just "go with the flow" of a very biased Western tech industry, begs the questioning of said tech sites journalistic integrity and standards. It's a shame really, because many users of tech sites don't often frequent more than one or two sites for all of their tech news. If any of those sites only show negative news about a company or OS, than those users believe their is ONLY negative things going on about said company and/or OS. More individuals need to do research OUTSIDE OF their normal "go to" sites when such a thing presents itself.

14. Scott93274

Posts: 6044; Member since: Aug 06, 2013

As for the being a troll thing, I prefer to piss of Apple and Microsoft fanboys, and I'll be especially cruel depending on who my comments are in response to, BlackBerry on the other hand, I'm more curious how John Chen handles the mess he's inherited, and I would like to think that I can have rationally low expectations for a company without sounding too insulting just for the sake of annoying people.

16. meanestgenius

Posts: 23173; Member since: May 28, 2014

Having low expectations is, of course, your choice. However, with the way John Chen is handling himself and BlackBerry itself, I would not bet against him. I don't agree with trolling of ANY company or OS. I would much rather stay clear of articles of companies and/or OS's I do not like, as I prefer to let those that enjoy them do so in peace. I expect the same to be done for me, so I cannot in good conscience do the opposite to others.

17. Scott93274

Posts: 6044; Member since: Aug 06, 2013

Well, you sound a whole lot more mature than me. :P

19. meanestgenius

Posts: 23173; Member since: May 28, 2014


2. Zeeya

Posts: 331; Member since: Mar 17, 2013

Less than 30 days left.. can't wait anymore... :D I'll definitely buy it!

1. meanestgenius

Posts: 23173; Member since: May 28, 2014

This is great news indeed! The BlackBerry Passport is definitely going to be my next handset of choice! Kudos to BlackBerry once again for making what seems to be an incredible device so far!

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