BlackBerry unveils 4.5-inch square display BB10 Passport with physical QWERTY keyboard

By James Geddes, Tech Times | July 7, 10:55 PM

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iPhone, BlackBerry Passport, and Samsung Galaxy S5

BlackBerry posted an article on its upcoming Passport smartphone. The device features a 4.5-inch square display and physical QWERTY keyboard.
(Photo : BlackBerry / Tech Times)

Under new leadership, BlackBerry is back in the smartphone game. The company is taking a risk with its upcoming 4.5-inch square displayed BlackBerry Passport, which also uses the company's iconic QWERTY keyboard.

When Apple launched the first iPhone in 2007, it entered a new market for the company with its first smartphone. At the time, BlackBerry was the king of the smartphone world and were issued by IT departments and carried by soccer moms. BlackBerry long had a reputation for its ultra-secure email and dependability of its network. In recent years the company has watched Apple, Google, and most recently, Microsoft pass it in smartphone market share.

The company's hiring of Thorsten Heins as CEO was expected to bring BlackBerry smartphones and next-generation BlackBerry 10 OS on the same level as Android and iOS. It also launched two flagship BB10-based smartphones with the BlackBerry Z10, which used a software keyboard and resembled devices like Apple's iPhone 5 and Samsung Galaxy S4 at the time and made the mistake of releasing it prior to its BlackBerry Q10, which featured the company's iconic physical QWERTY equipped keyboard.

Sales of both devices were extremely low and the company ousted Thorsten Heins in November 2013 and replaced by John Chen, who promised the company would return to releasing smartphone with the company's classic QWERTY keyboard.

BlackBerry posted an article on its upcoming square displayed Passport smartphone on the company's blog and highlighted why it chose the screen shape. The device is a risky one for the company, due to the smartphone's 4.5-inch square display, instead of the tried and true rectangular ones. The smartphone also manages to add the company's familiar QWERTY keyboard.

BlackBerry made the news official on the company's blog, where it did its best to explain why "It's Hip to be Square" in the form of images and specs. The company claims the 4.5-inch square screen with full HD capabilities offers the same amount of viewing space as a larger 5-inch smartphone.

It also shows how the BlackBerry Passport can display Office documents and spreadsheets in an easier read to format than iPhones or Android smartphones. BlackBerry seems to be marketing this towards corporate and business users as it lays out why the BlackBerry Passport is the best smartphone for architects, writers and healthcare and finance workers, who might benefit by having a square display.

Does the above design seem like a good idea or one that will take off? Let us know what you think in the comments.

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