BlackBerry Passport declared a success as firm announces BlackBerry leap
Following BlackBerry’s success with the Passport, the company has opted to continue expanding its hardware line with the launch of the BlackBerry Leap.
Announced at Mobile World Congress earlier this month, the leap is BlackBerry’s latest all-touch smartphone.
Aimed at young professionals, the mid-tier device is designed to act as an entry-level business smartphone. Its specs can’t match flagships from the likes of Sony or Samsung, but the attractive, sub-£200 price tag should entice cash-strapped startups.
It also boasts BlackBerry’s seminal OS and native apps such as BlackBerry Hub. Another key selling point is the battery, which the company claims will last 25 hours. If the Leap can deliver, this could well be the killer feature that BlackBerry has been hoping for.
The BlackBerry Passport was been branded a success for the company by CEO John Chen, who said the device has sold much better than it expected. (Click here for our review of the device).
In an interview with Reuters, Chen said: “I’m happy in the receptivity of the design. I’m happy that this product is a successful product, but we did not make that many of them, so it is in limited supply almost everywhere.”
Contemplating what the success of the smartphone could mean for the company long-term, he continued: “We will survive as a company and now I am rather confident.
“We’re managing the supply chain, we are managing inventories, we are managing cash, and we have expenses now at a number that is very manageable. BlackBerry has survived; now we have to start looking at growth.”
The company has also revealed plans to launch a mobile diagnostic tool, developed in associated with NantHealth, for the handset in early 2015, which will allow doctors to access cancer patient data securely
The tool is thought to be part of BlackBerry’s renewed efforts to court enterprise customers back from rival handsets from Apple and Android, offering more mobile security software and developing more services aimed directly at business users.
The BlackBerry Passport is already on general release in the UK. It's available to buy through the firm's website and directly from networks and suppliers (costing around £529 SIM-free).
The much-hyped device was unveiled at the Canadian phone maker's worldwide launch event in Toronto.
During the event, Chen described the device as "iconic", while the Passport's launch was repeatedly billed as marking the big "Canadian comeback" of BlackBerry.
"We're determined to win our home country back. This is one of our first moves to do that," he said.
Chen said the device is "squarely aimed "at the 30 per cent of smartphone users who choose their devices based on the productivity benefits they have to offer.
Blackberry has confirmed that Passport and BlackBerry 10.3 users will have access to software offered by the Amazon App Store, to broaden the range of services at their fingertips.
The company claims this means users should have access to "hundreds of thousands" of additional apps, including consumer offerings such as Minecraft, Pinterest and Cut The Rope 2.
Meanwhile, they'll also be given the chance to download one free, paid-for app from the Amazon App Store every day for free.
This will be in addition to those offered through the BlackBerry World app store.
This article was first published on 08/07/14 and has been updated multiple times (most recently on 27/03/14) to reflect new information that has become available since its original publication.