Soon after officially unveiling the BlackBerry Passport at simultaneous events held across the globe last week, the new smartphone aimed at professionals now comes to the Indian shores. Priced at Rs 49,990, India will be among the first countries wherein the smartphone will be made available. It will be available for pre-order from today till October 10, exclusively via Amazon India.
BlackBerry Passport is the first phone which will be sporting an unconventional 4.5-inch square shaped touchscreen along with a dedicated QWERTY keypad.
The BlackBerry Passport sports a 1440 x 1440 pixel resolution spread across a 4.5-inch screen giving a pixel density of 453 dots per inch, covered by Gorilla Glass 3. Beneath the touch sensitive display, you have a dedicated QWERTY keyboard that also doubles up as a touch-sensitive swipe pad. The Passport is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 SoC which will come with a quad-core processor clocked at 2.2GHz along with 3GB of RAM and 32GB of expandable memory.
With the square display, BlackBerry is targetting working professionals as opposed to the regular consumers whose phones have a rectangular shape – which according to BlackBerry is more geared towards consuming multimedia content rather than working. According to product manager Michael Clewly, while the iPhone 6 displays 33 characters per line, and the Samsung Galaxy S5 even less, the BlackBerry Passport shows around 60 characters. This gives professionals more horizontal area to work with specially with things such as Excel sheets, without compromising on the vertical height (in case people use the phone in the landscape mode on regular phones).
The physical keyboard is touch-enabled. You can navigate using the touch-enabled keyboard. As you type, suggestions appear on keyboard, and you can simply swipe up to choose words and you can simply swipe left to delete.
BlackBerry OS 10.3
BlackBerry OS 10.3 was the other major announcement, which is geared towards productivity. The BlackBerry Assistant is BlackBerry’s first digital assistant and can be used with voice and text commands to help users manage work and personal email, contacts, calendar and other native BlackBerry 10 applications. BlackBerry Assistant intelligently determines how to respond to you based on how you interact with it – if you type, it responds silently, if you speak, it speaks back and if you activate over Bluetooth, it speaks back with additional context because it assumes you might not have access to the screen. It allows you to interact with personal as well as professional data, which may be behind secure servers. BlackBerry claims that its Assistant can do more tasks than Siri or Google Now.
BlackBerry Natural Sound
BlackBerry Natural Sound technology has been around since the Z30, but the speaker on the Passport is 18 per cent louder than HTC One M8 and 35 per cent louder than Samsung Galaxy S5. It also adapts the volume levels of calls based on your environment with the new microphone in the earpiece.
BlackBerry Passport will sport a 3450mAh battery which will BlackBerry claims will give you a 30 hours usage time. As for the app store, BlackBerry has ensured that users get the best of both worlds. So the Amazon App Store will have apps under the entertainment, games, music categories whereas the BlackBerry World App store will have work-related productivity apps. As a first, BlackBerry has also announced the Bloomberg Professional app for professionals working in the finance sector.
BlackBerry Blend was the final announcement. It brings messaging and content that is on your BlackBerry smartphone to your computer and tablet. You can get instant message notifications, read and respond to your work and personal email, BBM or text messages, and access your documents, calendar, contacts and media in real time on whatever device you are on, powered by your BlackBerry. BlackBerry Blend is being introduced on the BlackBerry Passport and will work across desktop operating systems, including Mac OS X 10.7 +, Windows 7+ and Android tablets running Android 4.4+ via cellular, USB or Wi-Fi connections. BlackBerry is also working to bring the Blend experience on other tablets soon.