Supplier says a ‘great comeback’ is on the cards with tomorrow’s device launch.
BlackBerry’s new, square-screened smartphone will go on sale tomorrow in Toronto, London, and Dubai, and it will be the Canadian mobile-maker’s first global release since 2013.
Hoping to reclaim some of its lost ground in the enterprise space, the BlackBerry PassPort is a ‘Canadian passport’ shaped phone with a 4.5-inch square screen and BlackBerry’s synonymous physical QWERTY keyboard.
The phone will be priced at $599 in the US, undercutting Apple’s iPhone 6 by $50 and the iPhone 6 Plus by $150.
BlackBerry CEO John Chen said that the phone’s features will appeal to users who want to be productive on their mobiles, for example, those working in medicine. It will also feature a 3,450mAh batter which BlackBerry says should last up to 36 hours.
The screen shape and size allows for users to view 60 characters on each line, which is higher than more traditionally-shaped phones.
BlackBerry has played on its recent sales performance in a Candian newspaper advertising campaign. Full page ads in national newspapers saw BlackBerry state: "At BlackBerry, we’re proud of our Canadian heritage. It’s what drives us to continuously push security and productivity boundaries, allowing those with unstoppable energy to work smarter, collaborate better and accomplish more. The soon-to-be-released BlackBerry Passport is further proof of our commitment to serious mobility for serious business."
The firm shipped 1.5 million units in Q2 of 2014, compared to 1.3 million in Q1, according to IDC. The slight jump may be down to the Z3 smartphone which was released to the Indonesian market, a BlackBerry stronghold.
However, these figures are tarnished by the fact that BlackBerry’s smartphone sales were down 78% in the second quarter compared to the same period in 2013.
BlackBerry also saw 54% of its revenue come from its services in the second quarter, services such as BBM Messenger. Chen said that he hopes these services will help the company become profitable by 2016.