Blackberry unveils square-shaped phone

While many smartphone manufacturers have shrouded their newest products in secrecy, BlackBerry, with a more uncertain future, is making the most of any spotlight shined in its direction. On July 7, the company offered an early look at its latest product, the Passport. The planned introduction was for a September 2014 event in London, but during BlackBerry’s June 19 earnings call, CEO John Chen good-naturedly acknowledged there were few secrets left. “Most of the information has been leaked… so you guys should go and check that out.”

Beyond any leaked-secret appeal, the Passport continues the Blackberry legacy of being designed for business users. The Passport is notable for its unique shape, which is more square than rectangular, making the device’s size similar to an actual passport. The display is a full HD and 4.5 inches square, (1440 x 1440 pixels) offering the same screen space as a 5-inch smartphone, but a better viewing experience. “No more worrying about portrait or landscape modes, and no; you aren’t missing anything,” BlackBerry added.

An improved Quad-core Snapdragon 800 chipset will drive the BlackBerry 10.1 OS with 3GB of RAM and 32GB of on-board memory. And a long-life, non-removable Li-Ion 3450 mAh battery will keep the Passport powered.

Chen said he plans to rebuild BlackBerry by staying competitive in the Smartphone game and making its smartphone division profitable again. In April, following a report that said BlackBerry was considering a sale of its hardware division, Chen made clear that he believes he can again make smartphones a profitable component of the company, and he intends to do so. Chen and other executives state that the earlier comment was taken out of context, so Chen fired back. “… the only news is that we’re committed to the handset business, and we’re going to make it work.”