LATE last year, Blackberry silently introduced the Blackberry Passport, and what a phone!
The way it is built, no one would be in doubt that the phone maker is seeking a visa to the top table of the smartphone market once again.
Remember that Blackberry pioneered the smartphone genre of mobile phones which has clearly led the mobile ecosystem, but lost it along the line. Ever since, it has introduced some unique innovation in attempt to get back.
Yet it seems some bits are missing in the puzzle. When it launched bold5 some three years ago, not a few saw prospects of a smartphone maker that was about to launch a surprise attack at Apples and Samsungs of this world, to take back its place. The combined touch and QWERTY keyboard features of that device posed threat to most of the leaders who parade touch as the new world feature in a smartphone.
But the likes of Samsung and others came up with the idea of a bold architecture and bigger screens to keep the status quo ante out of threat.
The idea worked, particularly in Nigeria, known to lead the smartphone penetration globally. Users need for a smarter, lighter device to work, watch videos, just as they could on their laptops and tablets may have accounted for this.
However, its introduction of the Z and Q series, in 2012 nearly produced an earthquake in the market order. The Z10 and Q10 series shook the market. Not surprising, going by the fluidity and navigational powers of its BB10 operating system.
However, along the line, something seems not to be clicking right. Whether it’s marketing deficiency or promotional flaws, these devices seem not to have given a good account of the earliest push it threatened to give present market leaders.
The introduction of The Passport clearly seemed to provide the missing link. The device is competitive in basic spec terms with regard to camera and processor functionality. Bold architecture, very large screen made of Gorillaglass and combines touch with Qwerty keyboard. The device takes care of the interest of the old and new device freaks.
Although the BlackBerry Passport is more than 50 percent heavier than the iPhone 6 and a 4.5-inch display, which is also slightly smaller than the 4.7-inch display of iPhone 6, it however, features a higher pixel density of 13 to Iphone6’s eight.
The Passport supports up to 160 GB of storage with 3 GB of RAM, another 32 GB of memory, and supports Micro SD Cards up to 128 GB.
One of the most unique features of the Passport is the Picture Password Unlock option to fingerprint encryption. The user basically needs to drag a selected number from 0-9 over an exact location which he or she must have previously set, on a picture of his or her choice. So, even as people’s fingers can be mischievously dragged over the fingerprint button when asleep, to unlock a phone like iphone or Samsung Galaxy 5, the Passport makes it pretty difficult to happen with the picture password option. Meanwhile when an intruder tries and fails more than 10 times, the Passport wipes itself clean.
This comparison is mainly because both the Passport, iPhone 6, and iPhone 6 Plus were all highly anticipated smartphones that launched in September last year.
However, with all the features which seem to favour the Passport against competitors, in every 10 mobile phone users on the street, particularly in Nigeria, Iphone 6 and Samsung Galaxy seem to share eight. iphone 6
Even at launch, while Apple’s iPhone 6 models were reported to have sold 10 million units during their launch weekend, BlackBerry’s Passport was said to have sold just 200,000 units during its first few days in select markets.
Now if the Passport is going to do differently, Blackberry probably needs to look at its marketing and promotional strategies again, particularly in Africa where mobile growth happens on hourly basis.
To get a visa requires an acceptable Passport