Last week, BlackBerry showed off two of their upcoming smartphones to the public at a shareholders meeting in Waterloo. BlackBerry CEO John Chen was even pictured flashing both the Classic, and Passport to a few members of the press that were there. The Passport, being the first of the two that we’ll see and possibly the one that looks the most different from the others, has gotten the bulk of the attention from the media and fans in general. If you do a quick search of ‘BlackBerry Passport’ you’ll see exactly how polarizing this device is going to be. You’re either going to love it, or you’re going to hate it. And that’s okay. The Register, for example, dubbed it “the weirdest mobe of 2014,” and that’s exactly why I love that BlackBerry is bringing it out to the forefront now.
Even though we know they have pushed the envelope on hardware, and design, most people in the general public still think of physical QWERTY keyboards when they hear the name ‘BlackBerry.’ It comes with the territory. Naturally, a company that’s known for keyboards should be leading the charge on innovation in this aspect as well. Not just making keyboards that type well, and feel good, but keyboards that do more. That’s the Passport in a nutshell.
When you use the Passport, the device is going to stand out. It may not be aesthetically pleasing, but you won’t ever confuse a Passport with a Bold 9900 or a Curve like you could with the Classic. It has that “Wow” factor that BlackBerry needs to get people’s attention again. The fact that the keyboard will be gesture friendly, with virtual keys popping up on the screen, will make people think, “Hmm maybe I should look into that device.”
The screen is also huge. No seriously, it is, and that’s fantastic. The biggest problem I had using a Q10 was the fact that it felt like I was missing half of the experience I got on a Z10, or Z30 because of its screen size. The Passport’s screen is so big, and has such a sharp resolution (1440×1440) that that big issue with physically QWERTY devices and their corresponding screen size is pretty much done away with. To be frank, anyone that’s known me for a while knows I’d take a BlackBerry 10 slider over anything, but I get the feeling the Passport will give me the closest experience to that while being a standard BlackBerry 10 physical keyboard device.
I’m also excited to try out the new keyboard. I’m not sure how long it’ll take to adjust to not having that fourth row of keys, and having the space bar be between the V and the B, but I’m dying to find out. I’m excited to see what it will be like to flick up words to the screen, and swipe left to delete them on a physical keyboard. Will it be weird? Will it feel natural? It’ll have a learning curve, of course, but I love trying out new things, and the Passport’s keyboard is my next big challenge.
Now, not everyone may think this way. The BlackBerry 10 virtual keyboard is getting better and better, and the Passport will be a pretty giant, square-looking device to carry, so many may not want to get it, and again that’s okay. Heck, even our own Chris Esparza isn’t as excited about the look of the device even though he’s probably one of the biggest BlackBerry fans around. But that’s what makes this time so exciting. Whether you’re a touchscreen-only fan, a QWERTY keyboard lover that needs a trackpad, or one that doesn’t, BlackBerry will have a device for you.
In our Classic vs Passport poll last week, over 64% of the close to 1,900 votes tallied thought the Passport was a better choice than the Classic going forward based on what we’ve seen alone. Obviously, this can change once both devices are out, and we can play with them in person, but it’s still interesting to see. To be honest, I’m probably going to get both because the Classic looks insanely cool as well.
For now, it’s a waiting game unfortunately. Good things take time to arrive, and the BlackBerry Passport is no different. It’ll be pinned up against some heavy hitters in the smartphone world when it debuts, but I have a feeling it’ll do just fine. I’m psyched to get my hands on one, and I think you should too. I’ll probably be standing in line to do so when it becomes available out here in the US.
Will you be getting a BlackBerry Passport, why or why not? Let us know below!