Story 2014-09-25 2SWV Blackberry's new Passport is unlike any other

Blackberry's new Passport is unlike any other

in mobile on (#2SWV)
story imageBlackberry has released a phone that either pushes the boundary of phone design in useful ways, or proposes a new and unusable form factor, according to your personal pre-inclination. The Register reviews it and calls it crazy, but full of great ideas. It's square, for one, a radical departure from the candy-bar form factor so prevalent in modern smartphones. It's also sporting improvements to its QNX-based new OS, a great screen, and reportedly a 30 hour battery life. It runs Android apps natively, with no apparent lag or problem. Lastly, the keyboard doubles as a trackpad - something you'll either love or hate. The Guardian takes a look at it here, and offers some other insights. There are some lovely pictures at The Verge, who conclude, by they way that they don't like it.

[Ed. note: Me, I want one.]
Reply 7 comments

Not square... (Score: 1)

by on 2014-09-25 11:58 (#2SX7)

"The official specs make it 128mm x 90.1mm x 9.3mm"

That puts it at about 13:9, not square.

The corners are pretty square. A big departure from Apple's infamous "rounded edges" they sued Samsung over. And the screen may even be perfectly square, but the phone isn't.

Re: Not square... (Score: 1)

by on 2014-09-25 19:27 (#2SXG)

Yes, square-ish. I fondly remembered my Nokia X5-01, sturdiest symbian phone that I ever had, with nice real buttons/keyboard. Good times.
(OT): Nice, I can has edit button now!

Re: Not square... (Score: 1)

by on 2014-09-25 12:59 (#2SXH)

To sue over rounded edges is ridiculous. There are either curves or edges with varying degrees between. Apple invented none of them. They existed in math and physics prior to Apple's existence.

As Android sliders get harder to find... (Score: 1)

by on 2014-09-25 12:55 (#2SXE)

I've been hoping Blackberry would pull something out of the hat, for a while. There's room for 3 major players in the smart phone market, and I'd sure rather have it be Blackberry than Microsoft. They're unlikely to go away entirely, as QNX powers the computers in many cars.

I've never owned one of their phones, myself, but this one has me considering it. Nice and loud speakers, unlike most phones, would get plenty of use from me. I can definitely see the squarer screen making it a lot easier to read web-pages, PDFs, etc. If Android compatibility really works well enough to run all my many apps, like WiFi Analyzer and VX ConnectBot, the transition would be an easy one. The poor security and lack of updates on Android still remains a problem. And most importantly, it's getting hard just to find a decent Android slider on many carriers, so it wouldn't take much to convince me to try a BB.

Re: As Android sliders get harder to find... (Score: 1)

by on 2014-09-25 13:23 (#2SXJ)

Android sliders are almost guaranteed to be running some ancient version of the OS - gingerbread even, so they're not a great purchase. They probably have an older and slower chip, too. Too bad, because I do prefer the physical keyboard.

I like my Samsung Note 3 quite a bit, but I agree we need more vendors out there and I would not want to see an Android-iOS duopoly any time soon. I don't even care if Microsoft stays in the game, just happy to see the two juggernauts called upon to look over their shoulders and continuing to innovate.

I've got a Blackberry 9900 Bold, and I'm pretty pleased with it, including the hardware. Getting Android apps to run on the Blackberry was a smart move - and helps consolidate my interest in buying one on these interesting devices. I'm also happy to see some interest in checking out alternative form factors. I'd gladly go back to a flip formfactor just because those old flipphones did a better job of protecting their screens without having to buy bulky 3rd party cases etc.

I'm really enjoying the "iphone 6 bends" fiasco at the moment, by the way. Ha ha!

This is a put-on, right? (Score: 0)

by Anonymous Coward on 2014-09-25 21:24 (#2SXY)

You guys are joking about considering it, right? This is some kind of performance art?

This thing looks like the definition of DOA. It's BlackBerry Storm 3.0. It's just awful. LOOK WHERE THE SPACE BAR IS! This is going to be effective to type on?

Why does the whole keyboard have to function as a pointing device, mixing up accepted touchscreen user paradigms? Who wants to run emulated Android on a battery powered handheld?

This is all completely apart from the form factor and appearance.

I'm dumbfounded. Or dumb. I don't know.

Re: This is a put-on, right? (Score: 2, Informative)

by on 2014-09-25 22:19 (#2SY3)

Who wants to run emulated Android on a battery powered handheld?
It isn't emulated, actually. Blackberry has an ARM CPU just like Android, so native apps can be run on the processor without any emulation. BB just has to provide compatible ABI hooks to the OS. This is a reduced version of what WINE does for Windows applications on Linux, but Android being open source means there's no need for reverse engineering, and having far less legacy means it's much easier to develop full compatibility quickly.

"In Wine, the Windows application's compiled x86 code runs at full native speed on the computer's x86 processor, just as it does when running under Windows."

And with the non-native Android applications, it's even easier. They're basically Java applets, interpreted by the Dalvik VM when run on Android. It's not big deal for other OSes to develop their own almost-JRE compatible with Dalvik, and run Android apps as well as Android.