New BlackBerry Passport Smartphone Set To Debut

The new smartphone being introduced this week by BlackBerry will be cheaper than both the Apple iPhone 6 and the newest Samsung Galaxy edition. But will anyone notice?

The BlackBerry Passport will sell for $599 without a wireless carrier contract in the U.S. Compared to various models of the iPhone 6 and Samsung's Galaxy S4 currently on sale, thatEUs a price cut of about $50 to $250. Prices outside the United States havenEUt yet been released.

One of the PassportEUs distinctive features is a square screen measuring 4.5 inches and a keyboard that's similar to the keyboards on the best-known BlackBerry models.

The device boasts a resolution of 1440 x 1440, 453-pixel density and Corning Gorilla Glass 3 protection. The handsetEUs hardware includes a Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 quad-core processor running at 2.2 GHz, 3GB of RAM and 32GB of storage memory that can be expanded up to 64GB via microSD.

The Passport also has a QWERTY keyboard, a 16-megapixel primary camera along with a 2-megapixel secondary shooter. It includes a 3,450 mAh battery, offering up to 36 hours of use, and connectivity options that include LTE, Wi-Fi 802.11ac, GPS, Bluetooth, HSPA+ and NFC. Its operating system is BlackBerry OS 10.3.

Unique Enough?

We reached out to Patrick Moorhead, Founder, Moor Insights & Strategy, who told us PassportEUs unusual form factor might be a turnoff for some buyers.

"Unfortunately for BlackBerry, the smartphone wars are won and lost based on ecosystems, not on devices, and BlackBerry is a distant fourth in the ecosystem race," Moorhead said. "On a device level, the Passport is unique, but that doesn't necessarily mean better. Typing with one hand will be next to impossible given the width, but I can see some benefits to seeing content in a wider mode."

The official product debut is planned for Wednesday, September 24, during a...

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