CANADIAN PHONE MAKER Blackberry has launched the Blackberry Passport, which it claims outperforms rival smartphones including the iPhone 6 and Galaxy S5.
The Blackberry Passport has been no secret, with the firm flashing the quirky square-shaped smartphone months ahead of its unveiling. It has even had to defend criticism of the smartphone, with punters being quick to slam the odd-looking device even before it was released.
The firm revealed more details about the Blackberry Passport at an event in London on Wednesday, during which it spent most of the presentation making jibes at rival smartphones.
The Blackberry Passport features a 4.5in 1440x1440 resolution Gorilla Glass screen, which the firm claims makes it "much better" for viewing documents than its narrow, normal-shaped competitors, such as the Galaxy S5 and iPhone 6.
This screen comes with a physical QWERTY "touch enabled" keyboard, which the firm claims offers greater precision and accuracy that its previous efforts. This reworked keyboard also enabled users to navigate the handset's screen, by stroking their finger down the physical buttons.
Under the bonnet there's a quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor and 3GB of RAM, while the Passport's specifications also include dual 13MP and 2MP cameras, 32GB of internal storage expandable up to 64GB, 4G LTE support and a 3,450mAh battery, which the firm claims will last for 30 hours, outperforming rival devices.
The Passport arrives running the Blackberry 10.3 mobile operating system (OS). This updated version of the firm's software introduces a reworked user interface, instant actions in Blackberry Hub, support for the Amazon App Store, and Blackberry Assistant.
Blackberry Assistant is a Siri-type service, which the firm boasts is able to access data in a secure container, making it ideal for professional use. Unlike Siri and Cortana, for example, Blackberry Assistant also supports text input. Blackberry tried to prove that its virtual assistant outperforms Siri, but it did so on an iPhone 6 handset that didn't have Siri enabled. We resisted the urge to slow clap.
Blackberry also spoke out about the handset's unusual design, saying it is, unsurprisingly, based on a passport - as opposed to a slice of toast or a postage stamp.
Blackberry CMO, Marty Beard, said, "It's unique, it's innovative, it's disruptive and it's very Blackberry.
"When we set out to design a new device, we realised we needed to break away from the 'sea of sameness'. There's enough rectangular smartphones. Our goal was to build a smartphone with a shape and design that will allow the mobile professional to achieve more."
The Blackberry Passport will be available via Blackberry's website and Selfridges very soon, with launches at Carphone Warehouse and Vodafone to take place later this week. The firm has yet to reveal pricing. µ
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