The BlackBerry Passport is less than two weeks away from being officially announced to the world, and the buzz for this new device is unlike any I’ve ever seen for the company. People are intrigued by this phone and can’t wait to get their hands on it. Even those who aren’t exactly pleased with the design (including yours truly) are eager to try the phone out and get their hands on that touch sensitive physical keyboard.
However, since the event is happening simultaneously in Tornto, Dubai, and London but not anywhere in the US, there’s a lot of speculation that it will not initially be available here when it is launched. In fact, we have heared rumors that we won’t see it until February 2015. However, unlikely, as the Passport should hopefully release somewhere between October – November 2014. Today, I’d like to offer you three reasons why the Passport should release immediately in the US after its initial launch events.
1. America needs to see BlackBerry is still in the fight
There’s a particularly famous morning radio show that I listen to every morning. It’s nationally syndicated and its hosts are somewhat famous in the radio/television/entertainment industry. While listening this morning, they happened to mention the new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus and how they were obviously very excited about it. The conversation happened to turn to BlackBerry, and one of the hosts mentioned that she loved her old Bold device because it was so easy to type on. Obviously. We all know how amazing the BlackBerry keyboard is.
What bummed me out was when the other hosts chimed in and started talking about what made BlackBerry devices frustrating. They mentioned the app gap, of course, but then they talked about the trackball and how easily it messed up. Trackball! The last devices they had used were BlackBerrys with trackballs! I felt like calling in and letting them know how amazing BlackBerry 10 was and how the company has come so very far since the time of the trackball.
America needs to know that BlackBerry 10 exists and is a great operating system. The old BlackBerry is dead and a new beast has been roaming around for nearly two years now. It’s tragic that so much of the population is even aware that BlackBerry has phones that can compete with what’s available today.
If the company decided to release the Passport at launch in the US, it would make headlines. It’s very ballsy to release a phone around the same time as an Apple product, and the Passport is unlike anything else on the market. Media outlets would be forced to report on it and take a good long look at what BlackBerry 10 is and how it stacks up against the competition.
2. The longer they wait, the less successful it may be
Okay guys, I know that BlackBerry has a long term plan in mind that is going to turn in to major profits in about two years or so. I know that the focus on consumers and the US has been placed on the back burner a little bit. I don’t doubt that it’s a very good plan, and I trust BlackBerry CEO John Chen implicitly, however you must admit that no matter what long term plans for success that you may have, selling product will be a good thing.
Should BlackBerry decide to wait until next year, or even the end of this year, to launch the Passport in the US, every day it is not available will be detrimental to sales. I’m no expert in any way, but it makes sense to me that if you have a game-changing product that people are excited to see (more on that in a bit), then you want to get it in their hands as soon as possible.
Here’s how I imagine the conversation going with people when the Passport is launched in other countries but doesn’t hit US shores until next year.
“Yo did you hear about that new BlackBerry Passport? The one that’s shaped like a calculator?”
“Yeah man it’s sick! I like how you can use the physical keyboard like a trackpad. No one’s ever done that before!”
“For real doe! And that screen is a beast! And did you see how great the pictures come out?”
“Nah man, but I heard about it. Say is that phone out already? I might go get it.”
“I think it’s supposed to come out in February or so. But you can probably get an unlocked version overseas…”
“Nah I’m good. Lemme go head and get that new iPhone instead.”
To reiterate, I don’t doubt there’s a plan in mind, and I know that BlackBerry isn’t concerned about only selling devices. However, selling devices is never a bad thing.
3. People are incredibly excited to use it
Earlier today we reported on a poll that The Verge is hosting where they are asking their readers to decide which phone they’re most excited to see released this month. As of me writing this, the Passport has well over 11,000 out of nearly 30,000 votes. That’s unbelievable! I’ve never seen that kind of response for a BlackBerry product, and I’ve been reporting BlackBerry news for years.
Something you should know about The Verge: they are not a BlackBerry news and/or fan site. Chances are if you’re on N4BB, you come here looking for News for BlackBerry (saw what we did there?) because you’re a BlackBerry fan. There are other tech sites out there that cater specifically to BlackBerry fans, many of which I’m sure you’ve heard of and visited. The Verge, on the other hand, is just a plain old tech news site. They report on any and all tech news from all over the globe.
That means they have a wide variety of readers who like all different kinds of phones. Of that wide variety, 40% of them want to see the Passport more than any other phone being released this month. In case you missed it, that’s the same month that Apple is releasing not one, but two new phones.
I’m not sure if the folks over at BlackBerry saw that article or the results of that poll, but I’m certain if they did they would be overjoyed to learn that one of their products was so highly anticipated.
BlackBerry is really pushing the envelope of innovation with the Passport, and they need to do whatever they can to get this phone into as many hands as possible and as quickly as possible. Provided the phone is everything we all hope it will be, and I’m being more convinced every day that it will be, BlackBerry could see their most successful product launch in history. That’s only if they make the decision to release the Passport in the US when it is initially launched.