More reports on: Telecom

BlackBerry not giving up handset business, even after shift to software and services

30 September 2014

Even as BlackBerry shifts focus more on software and services, the company that gained fame for its smartphones is not giving up on its handset business, according to two senior executives, Business Today reported.

After netting a gross profit from its weakened handset operation and with around 50 million people globally still using its older-generation BlackBerry phones, the executives still saw potential in that business.

The remarks come at a time when BlackBerry posted a much smaller-than-expected loss and launched its square-screened Passport device.

According to Ron Louks, who heads BlackBerry's devices arm, the company had cut losses, it could afford to take some risks and consider launching at least one unconventional device each year.

According to Louks, when it came to design and being a little bit disruptive, the company wanted that 'wow' factor. He added, not all the products would have it, but there definitely were opportunities.

BlackBerry already had another unconventional device in the works, he said, which had received some positive feedback from carriers on it.

Passport reviews had been mixed and even as the device had won praise for its battery life, wide screen and touch-sensitive keyboard, it had been criticised for being difficult to operate with one hand.

Meanwhile, following the official unveiling of the BlackBerry Passport at simultaneous events held across the globe last week, the new smartphone aimed at professionals had now reached Indian shores, Tech 2 reported.

Priced at Rs49,990, India would be among the first countries where the smartphone would be made available. It would be available for pre-order till 10 October, exclusively via Amazon India.

BlackBerry Passport is the first phone to sport an unconventional 4.5-inch square shaped touchscreen along with a dedicated QWERTY keypad.

The BlackBerry Passport features a 1440 x 1440 pixel resolution spread across a 4.5-inch screen giving a pixel density of 453 dots per inch, an is covered by Gorilla Glass 3.

Below the touch sensitive display, the device sports a dedicated QWERTY keyboard that also doubles up as a touch-sensitive swipe pad. The device is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 SoC which would come with a quad-core processor clocked at 2.2GHz along with 3GB of RAM and 32GB of expandable memory.

The device, with its square display would be pitched at working professionals, as opposed to the regular consumers whose phones had a rectangular shape, which according to BlackBerry was more geared towards consuming multimedia content rather than working.

According to product manager Michael Clewly, while the iPhone 6 displayed 33 characters per line, and the Samsung Galaxy S5 even less, the BlackBerry Passport displayed around 60 characters, which gave professionals more horizontal area to work with specially with things such as Excel sheets.

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