In a time when smartphone design is considered dead, stuck in world where the rectangular device is king, BlackBerry breaks the mold by coming up with the Passport.
With a 4.5 inch display with full-on HD capabilities, the Passport sits in a sweet spot that has the potential to attract both smartphone and phablet users. Poised to help BlackBerry stage a comeback, it definitely holds a lot of promise, but one question may get in the way of the Passport's success: why is it so square?
"Based on academic typology, the optimal number of characters on a line in a book is 66 characters (current rectangular smartphones show approx. 40 characters and BlackBerry will show 60 characters). BlackBerry Passport offers its size and aspect ratio to accommodate these characters, making it the ideal device for reading e-books, viewing documents and browsing the web," BlackBerry explained on its official blog.
So that's why. That's how BlackBerry is planning to offer a better viewing experience than what a 5-incher is capable of despite just having a 4.5-inch screen. With a display optimized for viewing documents and reading e-books, the Passport is clearly targeting professionals aiming to do as much as they can on a device. Hardly a surprising move given that BlackBerry has always catered to individuals who put a premium on productivity, but it is always a good thing to have a well-defined objective.
Some of the situations BlackBerry sees as potential shining moments for the Passport include: architects looking at full schematics and designs while on the go; healthcare professionals going through medical documentation with a patient; finance executives navigating web-based trading platforms with ease; and writers developing and delivering content seamlessly.
The Passport still has ways to go before it can prove that BlackBerry's design philosophies are effective, but it's doing a good job generating attention. It is interesting to see how a square screen would fare. Hopefully it doeesn't go the way of other uniquely designed smartphones, such as the LG Vu and the Pantech Pocket. Revolutionary, yes, but both failed to capture the smartphone market.
Expected to launch in September, the BlackBerry Passport features a quad-core Snapdragon processor coupled with 3GB RAM, a 3450 mAh battery, a 13MP rear camera and a 2MP front-facing camera. A touch-enabled keyboard is included to complement the Passport's square screen.