Indian Press Praise BlackBerry Passport Ahead of Eagerly-Awaited Launch

As the BlackBerry Passport launches around the world, people everywhere are excited about its cutting-edge features, from the 1,440 x 1,440 touchscreen to the innovative, touch-enabled keyboard, huge battery and generous amount of RAM, leading to BlackBerry Passport jumping to the number one position among unlocked phones on Amazon.com in the US, until the initial wave sold out.

One of those regions is India, where BlackBerry devices and services trumped many other brands in terms of functionality over the nation’s emerging wireless infrastructure.

Just a few years ago, 3G was barely emerging, according to The Indian Express, and BBM (then a BlackBerry exclusive) worked great over 2G, catering to messaging fans on a budget in the emerging market. This contrasted strongly with iOS and Android devices at the time. Of course, the phones were well-reviewed as well, so the mix of those two factors endeared many to BlackBerry (and evidently, the “BlackBerry Boys” ad campaigns were a hit as well).

Flash-forward to today, and there’s a real sense of anticipation building as the Indian press unveils early reviews.

Let’s see what they have to say (bolded emphasis is ours):

“The Most Innovative Phone in Recent Times”

In a piece for The Indian Express, reviewer Nandagopal Rajan hailed the complete package of the BlackBerry Passport while examining the market, stating, “If this phone had come from an unknown start-up and sold only on one e-tailer, the world would . . . would have written reviews calling it the most innovative phone in recent times. But the Passport . . . is from BlackBerry…”

Indian Express

Rajan calls BlackBerry Passport “the most unique phone we have seen in recent times . . . [The] keypad [is] more functional than in any other device . . . The keypad is so good you will not need to touch the extra large 4.5-inch square touch display.

“With stainless steel edges and a very strong build, the phone feels premium and robust . . . In fact, this phone offers the best views in town and can let you scan spreadsheets and docs without resorting to pinch or zoom.”

“An Extension of the Office in Your Pocket”

Over at India’s Business Standard, Abhik Sen wrote a pre-review first look: “Blackberry’s new offering is meant for corporate warriors who want an extension of their office in their pocket . . . Once you get over the rather unusual shape of the phone, you find a device which looks and feels premium . . . The phone boots up fast and swiping through the apps was devoid of any lag . . .”

Business Standard

Sen also loves the display: Text appears crisp on the Passport and is easy to read because of its form factor. Pictures and videos also appeared bright indoors . . . The Passport turns the physical keyboard into a giant touchpad, and it’s very easy to scroll through pages . . . It’s is meant for corporate warriors who want an extension of their office in their pocket. To that end it seems to succeed.”

“Purpose-built for Productivity-driven Business Professionals”

Meanwhile, on the Technocrats blog at Telecom Drive:

“Featuring a large square touch screen and new QWERTY touch-enabled keyboard, the BlackBerry Passport is a device purpose-built for productivity-driven business professionals who want a smartphone that empowers them with the mobile tools they need to get things done, without sacrificing style or portability.”

Telecom Drive

 

The blog continues: “[T]he BlackBerry Passport is a device purpose-built for productivity-driven business professionals who want a smartphone that empowers them with the mobile tools they need to get things done, without sacrificing style or portability . . . The large square screen is optimized for viewing and creating content, and will make everyday tasks . . . more comfortable and effortless.”

“The Performance Smooth”

Know Your Mobile India’s Ritij Khurana pulled together a listicle of his top five features:

“BlackBerry has just launched the Passport in India . . . and the smartphone will be going right up against the latest generation of flagship smartphones. The smartphone comes with a lot of expectations and BlackBerry has loaded it up pretty well too . . . [T]he display is as clear as things can get. It may look a bit quirky but the color reproduction and depth is . . . on the better side of things.”

Know Your Mobile

Khurana also calls out the beefy specs, writing, “[As for the processor and RAM], the performance is as smooth as you can expect. The yesteryear flagships from BlackBerry came with specifications equal to a mid-ranger but the Passport matches up with the others in this regard . . . The rear camera is quite the performer and grabs our attention . . . [I]t pretty much leaves nothing to be desired in the memory department.”

On the connectivity and monster battery: “To make things sweeter, it also gets 4G LTE connectivity in addition to the regular 3G, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0 and NFC . . . A 3,450 mAh battery . . . will keep it going easily for over a day. With battery lives going south in today’s world, the Passport is one such flagship device which won’t let you down in the battery department when you are traveling.”

HT Sep 302014 Page-17

Last but not least, you had the Hindustan Times, which welcomed the Passport as a “good fix for business users” and, noting its high-end specs and form factor, asked: “Is this a phone or a computer?”

We’re excited for the India launch of the BlackBerry Passport, too, and look forward to customer reviews to come as those ready to “work wide” get their hands on the productivity powerhouse.

Until then, stay tuned to INSIDE BlackBerry for all your BlackBerry Passport news.


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Amazon Buyers Rate BlackBerry Passport 4.8 out of 5 Stars. Here’s Why.

Spurred on by strong reviews, the BlackBerry Passport became the most popular smartphone on Amazon within hours of its release last week. Though temporarily sold out, it will be soon be available again on Amazon and ShopBlackBerry.com (and check your local carriers, too).

After six days, the BlackBerry Passport has garnered 4.8 out of 5 stars from Amazon buyers:

passport pic

 

A few common themes are emerging:

“It’s very fast,” “The touch keyboard is very innovative,” and “I believe this is the best smartphone out there.”

Here, see for yourself:

Amazon BlackBerry Passport Customer Reviews

Let’s take a look at some of those reviews, which you can read on Amazon. (Bolded emphasis is ours.)

“Get the BlackBerry Passport for Productivity – You Won’t Regret it.”

Amazon customer “Pho6” is returning to BlackBerry:

Amazon Passport comment 1

“I’ve been a former blackberry user with my bold 9900 . . . [then] moved to the iPhone 5 in 2012 and thought I’d never look back. The passport though, is really something different. [I had switched] from BB to iPhone because of the apps and the speed of the phone. However, after using the iPhone for 2 years . . . I realize what really was more important to me – the productivity of my phone . . . I’ve received my blackberry passport and absolutely LOVED it . . . Get the passport for productivity – you won’t regret it.”

New BlackBerry Passport owner “Wyzard” calls it the “best phone on the market”:

Amazon Passport comment 5
“I bought the phone straight from BlackBerry, and received it this morning . . . Once everything was updated, I started installing all my favorite apps and doing a lot of heavy multitasking. The phone doesn’t slow down. It’s very fast.

Pros:
Wide screen makes reading Twitter feeds, Facebook posts, and web browsing a super pleasant experience
– Fast and responsive
Looks great, feels great
– The touch-enabled keyboard worked better than I expected. Especially as a way to move the cursor while editing text.
– The high density screen is gorgeous.
– I didn’t even realize the thing had a battery. The charge meter doesn’t seem to be going lower.
– Panoramic photography is highly intuitive.
Cons
It probably won’t fit in a woman’s skinny jeans. But then again, neither will the iPhone 6.”

For “Victoriano Horcajada,” the BlackBerry Passport replaced his Android phone (and apparently his tablet as well):

Victoriano
“I am really impressed with what BlackBerry has done with this phone. It’s fast, easy to use and different from everything that’s on the market . . . I have always used an Android device [and] I wanted to try something different [from] the Android interface. [Now], I am using my tablet and even my laptop less. The screen is so wide that you can see much more than a regular smartphone. Battery life is very, very good. I have been able to get 2 days of battery life with regular use . . . If what you want is a phone to be productive, excellent battery life and different from what everybody else carries, this is the best on the market.”

Another commenter, “Schorsch,” returned his iPhone 6 for for the BlackBerry Passport:

Amazon Passport comment 3
“This phone blows my mind – it’s fast, accurate and has an amazing battery life! I’ve been using an iphone6 plus for the last weeks and this definitely goes back to apple today. Was a good time testing it but it’s just nothing compared to the new BlackBerry Passport. Some might complain about that it is too heavy but it comes with the best battery you can get out there. I’ve been using it together with the iphone6 plus for the last days and the iPhone 6 never lasted a day. Also the memory . . . 1GB vs 3GB means the iPhone stops all apps when not running and BlackBerry keeps them running all the time. I heard its called headless apps or running in the background – anyway there is no waiting time when getting back to an app. [The] keyboard is amazing! . . . Right now it was time to move back to BlackBerry – a smartphone is a tool; not a toy, and the Passport does exactly that.”

BlackBerry Passport is “big, bold and powerful,” according to “Keith Harrison“:

Amazon Passport comment 2
“This device is not for the faint of heart! The screen is big and beautiful, and the keyboard is wide and awesome! This is the device that I’ve been waiting for . . . It’s incredibly thin and sleek, yet the battery life lasts nearly 2 days!! BlackBerry 10 is a great new OS and has finally put BlackBerry ahead of its competitors. Anyone that uses it will be blown away… as I am.”

“A Next-Gen Mobile Computing Device”

Early adopter “Evolution Media” says the term “smartphone” isn’t good enough:

Amazon Passport comment 7
“Just as BlackBerry changed the game with the Pearl back in the day by putting email and productivity in the palm of your hand, they’re doing it again with the Passport. This thing should not even be in the same product category as the iPhone or Android devices. It is a next-gen mobile computing device of extremely high quality — every detail perfectly engineered — made for smart people who want to be as productive as possible wherever in the world we happen to be. I feel very privileged to be among the first 200,000 people to own this groundbreaking piece of technology.”

Okay, one more (but there are plenty more where we got these), from “choon-wah dang,” who calls the BlackBerry Passport “the best smartphone out there” in a very cohesive review:

Amazon Passport comment 7
“I believe this is the best smartphone out there. The build of the phone is solid and you do not need a rolling pin to unbend your phone like the other brand. Comparing the spec in terms of storage it has 32G and you can go 128GB and beyond with this phone. The audio is the best that you can find right now. And with the BlackBerry Blend you can use it on your tablet and your computer without leaving data and files footprint on them. Forget about the business and professional aspect of it. Angry Birds and Candy Crush never looked so good on the clear and crisp screen, not to mention the sound. And both of these apps you can download from amazon apps store. Forget about looking for a wall outlet to charge your phone. This thing can last more than 24 hours of use. For the price for this caliber of phone, you do not need to enslave yourself to a particular carrier. You’ll get your money’s worth under 2 years. I’m glad I got right out and picked one up from a store instead of waiting for the back order.”

Wow. High praise, from those who matter most: buyers.

These comments are only from the first wave of buyers– as more are released, we look forward to happy “power professionals” sharing their experiences, and we want to know how you like your BlackBerry Passport – tell us below.

If you’re still waiting for the next wave of phones to become available, you can sign up to be notified when the BlackBerry Passport becomes available again. In the meantime you can check out the positive vibes from professional reviewers, or read about the Top 5 Free Resources to Help Android, iOS Users Ease the Switch to BlackBerry Passport, including our free guide, Discover BlackBerry Passport: The Guide to Working Wide.


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BlackBerry to Unveil 1 ‘Unconventional Device’ a Year in Turnaround Drive

Ron Louks said now that the company had pared losses, it could afford to take some risks and look at introducing at least one unconventional device each year.
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BlackBerry Passport With 4.5-Inch Square Display Launched at Rs. 49,990

BlackBerry has announced its square-shaped Passport smartphone for the Indian market.
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BlackBerry Cuts Loss and Sees Rising Sales

On the services front, the company reported a huge number of conversions in its second quarter to its heavily promoted new device management platform.
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Serious Mobility for Serious Business: Work Wide Stories with BlackBerry Passport (Videos)

BB_Passport_PrintAd_EMAIL_1_2

It’s no secret that BlackBerry is focused on keeping mobile professionals productive. With the full unveiling of our latest device, the BlackBerry Passport, a new size and form factor built entirely around being able to work is here. Mobile innovation his been a priority since day one for the company and in two newly released videos, we establish our firm understanding of our customers and the market opportunity for BlackBerry solutions.

In a “more complex, competitive and intense world of business, that spins 24/7 one thing is for certain. Those most driven to achieve and the technology that empowers them will never stand still.”

The concept of Work Wide is all about being able to view and accomplish more on a mobile device. The large square touchscreen on the BlackBerry Passport and touch-enabled keyboard combine to create a device that is a powerhouse for both consumption and output. For those mobile moments when professionals have to take action, this device will empower them, not impede them from being able to do so. While smartphones have provided professionals the ability to conduct business when mobile, many tasks are a challenge on the narrow all touch screens that we’ve become used to.

“You not only need to be able to see the big picture, but understand it at a glance. . . to make a big decision, we must leave behind a narrow vision and Work Wide.”

When actions need to be taken, decisions need to be made, or lives are on the line. BlackBerry Passport shows there is a better, wider way to accomplish more. It is available now starting from $599 US (unlocked) through Amazon.com and ShopBlackBerry.com – get yours today. Read more about the BlackBerry Passport in our FREE 100 page eBook “Discover BlackBerry Passport”.


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BlackBerry Triples EZ Pass Licenses for BES10

arrow growing

BlackBerry continues gaining in the enterprise mobility management (EMM) market. Through our EZ Pass program, we have issued 3.4 million licenses for our mobile security platform, BES10, according to our Q3 2015 press release issued this morning. That’s up 283% from the 1.2 million licenses back in late June. These BES10 licenses have been issued to more than 3,500 enterprises, up 900 from the prior quarter.

The EZ Pass program, active through January 15, 2015, allows BlackBerry customers to upgrade from BES5 or competitors’ Mobile Device Management (MDM) software to BES10 client licenses for free. Though due to strong uptake of EZ Pass, the program may end earlier, said BlackBerry CEO John Chen today during our earnings call with investors.

Even before the launch of BES12 this November, our BES platform is winning customers from the competition. Today, 25% of the licenses issued via EZ Pass – about 850,000 – are trade-ins from competing MDM software. That’s up 850% from the 100,000 licenses we announced last time around.

Here’s an example of one of the companies using EZ Pass to quickly roll out our cross-platform BES10: a global insurance company using a competing MDM product for its Android and iOS devices. But after that software became the target of a security breach involving hundreds of its iOS devices, the insurance firm quickly switched to BES10 through EZ Pass, according to my colleague, Joe McGarvey, who is writing a coming whitepaper on the firm.

The insurance firm was a longtime BlackBerry customer, and had already rolled out BES10 to portions of its user base requiring end-to-end security and strict regulatory conformance. Leveraging BES10’s multi-platform capabilities, the customer transitioned roughly 1,000 employees using iOS devices to the BlackBerry EMM solution within 48 hours after detecting the security breach.

To date, the insurer has migrated more than 2,000 end users to BES10. UK employees were the first to be moved to BES10, but the company has recently initiated migration programs in India and elsewhere.

bes 10 customers

The insurer is also evaluating BlackBerry Secure Work Space (SWS), our work/personal device partitioning technology that extends BlackBerry’s market-leading security, including its VPN-less secure connectivity capabilities, to iOS and Android environments.

According to Glen Farrelly, a BlackBerry enterprise sales leader, BES10’s cross-platform capability enables the insurance company to better match end user roles and responsibilities with device type. “It’s important for field representatives, who have a wide range of responsibilities and security profiles, to be able to choose the devices that best fit their job requirements,” he said.

Besides solving the immediate security gap, replacing the single-purpose management platform with a fully-fledged EMM platform such as BES10 has accelerated the company’s consolidation of its mobility operations, an objective that will lead to cost reductions and performance benefits, said Farrelly.

Best of all, the insurance firm was able to reap the benefits of BES10 at no cost by taking advantage of BlackBerry’s BES10 upgrade promotions, including EZ-Pass.

“The customer was able to make a one-for-one swap of the third-party licenses to BES10 license without impacting its budget in the slightest,” said Farrelly. “That was music to the IT decisionmaker’s ears.”

Read more BlackBerry enterprise case studies at BlackBerry.com/company/success .


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BlackBerry Posts Smaller-Than-Expected Quarterly Loss of $207 Million

Shares rose nearly 5 percent on the announcement, with the Canadian smartphone manufacturer adding it was turning its focus to growth and investments.
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BlackBerry Passport Reviewers: They Like It, They Really Like It!

Passport_Angle3_Black_FrontleanWe knew that BlackBerry Passport, with its striking, high-style design, would turn heads. We expected that our single-minded focus on making mobile professionals productive would confound some consumer-focused reviewers.

So it was gratifying to see how many BlackBerry Passport reviewers did understand how hardware features like the touch-enabled, accuracy-improving keyboard and large, square touchscreen, and software features such as BlackBerry Hub and BlackBerry Assistant, could combine into the ultimate package for enabling you to Work Wide.

(Get pricing and availability details here. And see another round-up of reporters and analysts praising the BlackBerry Passport.)

Here’s a sampling of reviews from the tech media (my emphasis):

“Skeptics of the shape will question how it fits in a pocket, but it slips in about as easily as its namesake, the universally pocketable passport. It will be a snug fit in skinny jeans, but this phone won’t bend in there—unlike the iPhone 6 Plus…The software is likely to surprise people who give it a try. The Passport runs Android 4.4 apps remarkably smoothly, thanks to an emulator.”

“It definitely puts BlackBerry back in the game.”

“The Passport is an original and innovative design to address the demands of enterprises, but it could also seduce the general public.”

“…BlackBerry loyalists are going to love this device.”

Reading websites, e-mails, and documents is, in my experience with a test unit, more pleasant on the BlackBerry than on your standard rectangle-shaped smartphone…The keyboard has some very clever word-recognition functions…There’s a lot of that going on with the Passport.

“With its physical keyboard – a smartphone feature nearly extinct outside of BlackBerryland – and businessy software, it is indeed a productivity-centric machine rather than a would-be iPhone slayer. But it also happens to be inventive in a way that few phones, BlackBerry or otherwise, have been in eons. … BlackBerry finally has a little of its swagger back.”

“I approached this phone with reservations, and came away as something of a fan – it’s really nice!”

“The BlackBerry Passport is just about the most exciting handset BlackBerry has ever produced.”

 “The camera is a beast, a 13-megapixel sensor that competes with the best in the Android ecosystem…Everyone who spotted me with it during the review period – at my desk, on the street – wanted to pick it up, marvel at it and remark on its dimensions.”

“But one colleague, who once worked as a City trader, virtually tore it out of my hands and stared at it with an almost tearful reverence. ‘I so miss my old Blackberry,’ he cried. This fit of nostalgia was set off by one aspect of the device – its keyboard. For that is at the heart of the Passport…”

“Audacious form factor but relevant, smart keyboard, amazing battery life, gifted for image and sound, integrating an OS which is intuitive as ever, even the ecosystem which was criticized is going in the right direction. Even if the distribution will target enterprises and professionals with dedicated packages, this BlackBerry Passport has it all to do a remake of the Bold which seduced the general public in 2008/2009. Recommended for the pros, of course, and above all to those who want something different in their hands.”

“It’s rare now for any smartphone to have a true new iconic form factor, but BlackBerry Passport has just such an iconic innovative design.”

“One thing the company does better than its competitors is multi-tasking, with its BlackBerry Hub feature. It’s not new, but a central spot with all running apps was one of the best things about the company’s OS and remains one of their top selling points.”

“BlackBerry isn’t going to be ripping up the hit parade with this, but it’s seriously put itself back in contention with a powerful and practical phone for grown-ups, and grabs the ‘Think Different’ laurels back from Apple.”

We also saw positive tweets come through from key analysts:

saltzman tweet

  • Marc Saltzman(@marc_saltzman)

saschasagen tweet 

  • Sascha Segan (@saschasegan), PCMag.com

jason calcanis

yawney tweet

  • Mike Yawney (@Gadget_Guy)

reith idc tweet

  • Ryan Reith (@ryanreith), IDC

bob egan tweet

  • Bob Egan (@bobegan), CEO @ The Sepharim Group

If you’d like to learn more, watch the unboxing video or learn how to get started once you have your BlackBerry Passport.


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BlackBerry Passport Jumps to Number One on Amazon.com Within Hours

Image of someone typing on a BlackBerry Passport

Well, that was fast: Following Wednesday’s launch of the BlackBerry Passport, customers flocked online to snap up our new business productivity device.

Passport#1

Customer demand drove the BlackBerry Passport to the number one selling unlocked phone on Amazon.com within hours of launch, which our partner told us is unprecedented. As John Chen mentioned on our recent earnings call, there have been over 200,000 orders for BlackBerry Passport since launch. No small feat for an all-new form factor.

The compelling US$599 price for this unlocked phone attracted a lot of fans (Canadian consumers can also get the BlackBerry Passport for a limited time for just $200 at TELUS).

This segment-creating device is unlike other phones on the market, and is purposely designed this way. Productivity is at its core, with a massive 3450 mAh battery that provides up to 30 hrs of life. A large, square touchscreen with incredible clarity paired with an innovative touch-enabled keyboard are also on board for mobile professionals to complete work without having to turn to a laptop or other computer. Buyers get all of this, in a portable package the size of its namesake – the global symbol of mobility, after all.

One day in, it’s clear that both media and the market agree there’s something special about BlackBerry Passport. It stands out, it gets noticed and it’s forging ahead. Visit Inside BlackBerry blogs to read more than a dozen pieces introducing various features of the BlackBerry Passport, or download our new free 100-page ‘Discover BlackBerry Passport’ to read the features, get productivity tricks and tips for easing the switch from Android or iOS.


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