BlackBerry has unveiled its latest smartphone, the BlackBerry Passport, claiming the square-screen, enterprise-focused device will reinstate its position as the world's top business handset manufacturer.
BlackBerry chief operating officer Marty Beard unveiled the Passport at a London event attended by V3, citing it as the only handset made with business professionals in mind.
"We designed the BlackBerry Passport for the mobile professional. We spent a lot of time studying the mobile professional and we know they're productivity and achievement driven. They're people who use their device at least 50 percent of the time for work and represent 30 percent of the smartphone business."
"They're incredibly demanding. They want control and the ability to prepare, to plan, to use their time wisely. They want the ability to be more productive and efficient without sacrificing quality. We know this space better than anybody in the world and that its still underserved today. That's who we designed the BlackBerry Passport for," Beard said.
The firm listed the Passport's 4.5in square display with Gorilla Glass protection and "touch enabled keyboard" as key selling points. BlackBerry claims the 1440x1440, 453ppi screen can display as many as 20 more characters in one line than competing handsets, making it easier to proof and edit documents.
The touch-enabled technology makes it possible for the keyboard to be used as a trackpad, according to the firm, which also claims the keyboard will let professionals type four times more accurately and make 70 percent fewer typing errors.
BlackBerry's Passport also features an automatic call volume setting that adjusts the sound level of incoming calls based on the background noise level.
From a software perspective, Passport will be powered by BlackBerry OS 10.3. This version adds a new BlackBerry Assistant tool, alongside upgrades to BlackBerry's core security and productivity features such as BlackBerry Balance, Messenger and Hub.
The firm claims the Assistant is more advanced than competitors, such as Apple's Siri and Google Now, as it will have access to corporate as well as personal information.
BlackBerry's product manager Michael Clewley explained: "Siri and Google Now can't interact with work data. When a worker comes into an office with an Android or iOS device, the IT department will put the work data in a secure container."
"Siri and Google Now can't access information in a businesses secure container. BlackBerry Assistant can work with both personal and business data," he said.
For consumers, BlackBerry OS 10.3 devices will also have access to the Amazon App Store.
The BlackBerry Passport is based on a 2.2GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon processor backed by 3GB of RAM, and comes with a sizable 3450mAh battery that BlackBerry claims will deliver 30 hours of use from one charge.
The device includes 32GB of internal storage which can be upgraded using a microSD card slot, while on the imaging front, the Passport has a 13MP rear camera with Optical Image Stabilisation and 2MP front camera.
BlackBerry's Beard said he expects the Passport's combination of enterprise-focused services and technologies to help the firm bounce back in the tough smartphone market.
The BlackBerry Passport is available in the UK from the firm's website and Selfridges. It will be available via Carphone Warehouse from Friday, but BlackBerry has yet to disclose pricing for the new device.
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