BlackBerry launches Passport

BlackBerry launches Passport

Canadian smartphone manufacturer BlackBerry has announced that it has released its new Passport handset.

The new phone is thought to be at the centre of the firm's attempts to rebuild, having lost ground on rivals such as Samsung and Apple.

It sees the return of the company's trademark keyboard and a 4.5-inch screen that chief executive John Chen hopes will be able to appeal to a larger number of enterprise users.

As a result, the smartphone is rather larger than some of its competitors, with the bigger screen capable of being able to show 60 characters across, making it potentially ideal for viewing a wide range of corporate material, including spreadsheets and other charts.

The new smartphone's hefty design — the size of a passport, or perhaps a suit pocket — has a screen that will show 60 characters across. That means spreadsheets, medical charts and other enterprise-friendly information will be readable.

Chen has also revealed that a BlackBerry Classic model phone is also set to be released by the end of the year, but has so far declined to give any more information to reporters.

Other innovations to be unveiled by the company include BlackBerry Bend, an app that will allow users to sync data across computers and mobile devices without the need for a virtual private network.

Daniel Bader, a tech expert with MobileSyrup, told CBC News: “It [Blend] brings the BlackBerry out of the phone itself and into the computing ecosystem.

“We can use it on an Android or iOS tablet or a Windows or Mac PC. You still have secure access to all your e-mails or text and the files that you want to share between those two devices without having to manually remove the files and risk losing them.”

Needless to say the company appears hugely upbeat about the future, with Mr Chen telling crowds at the launch in Toronto that the process of restructuring the company is now over and that it could now focus on growth.