New BlackBerry to offer 4.5″ screen, physical keyboard

BlackBerry is looking to regain lost ground in the global market with the launch of its new Passport smartphone, which will have a 4.5-inch square screen. Company chief executive John Chen told the Wall Street Journal that the new phone, which will go on sale on Wednesday in the United States, will cost $599 without subsidies, vs. $649 for the iPhone 6 and $749 for the iPhone 6 Plus.

Chen told the Journal that the phone's large screen and high resolution will enable the phone to display of 60 characters per line and be particularly useful to those working in the medical field. (My Galaxy S5, with a 5.1-inch display, seems to get about that when held horizontally, but not vertically, and of course the S5 lacks a physical keyboard.)

The Journal reports that BlackBerry will introduce new device management software in November and a smartphone called Classic in December.

Chen told the Journal the company focuses on the enterprise because of its expertise in security and productivity.

One skeptic is Daniel Pang, a researcher with IDC Malaysia, who told the Journal that the Passport is a “good phone, but it will never really hit the mainstream as a premium offering. Most consumers are too invested in other platforms”—such as Android or iOS.

You can read the Journal article here (subscription required).


More in Communications