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Blackberry's John Chen explains why the Passport may not be for you

News by Luke Jones on Friday October 03, 2014.

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Blackberry's newest smartphone, the Passport, has been doing well for the company. It has been well received by critics as it is a very good device, while consumers have warmed to it too with the handset selling out (200,000 units) within hours of its release.

I said even before the Passport was launched that the device was catering to Blackberry fans and not necessarily trying to appeal to every consumer like Samsung and Apple smartphones. Since getting to know the Passport better I have called it a love letter to Blackberry fans, a device that ensures those who stuck with the company will remain and those who want to return will. This is for the professional or the enterprise company, a productivity minded machine not a cover all bases smartphone (although it actually is one of them too, albeit an odd looking one).

The company's CEO wrote an editorial for CNBC and confirmed that the Passport is very much for people who understand Blackberry and that the device is not even aimed at being a crowd pleaser.

From those who get what we do - and there are many - the feedback so far has been excellent. Our core audience is excited to see a smartphone geared not just to their desires, but to their needs. For those who don't get BlackBerry Passport or blithely write it off as "weird," we'll give them some time to come around. We know that different isn't always easy, but we do know it's the only way to stand out.

And, in that sense, BlackBerry Passport sets the tone for what we do and how we do it. We don't expect to sell a handset to everyone and don't expect to take down the consumers who love to play games on their iPhones. But we do want to provide an experience that caters to the mobile professional - anyone who relies on their device to do their jobs. As I like to say, most smartphones are better designed for helping users kill time than making the most of it.

So when a BlackBerry Passport user does finally get to her desk, she can pull up the spreadsheet she's been crunching on her handset and easily switch to her desktop screen and send it to her colleagues.

Those may not inspire the masses to line up at midnight but, for users who burn the midnight oil, those features are essential to achieving the results they desire every day. These are the people for whom BlackBerry Passport is designed - and those are the people BlackBerry is staking our future on.

While Chen is completely right about the smartphone, he seems to be quite dismissive of "regular" smartphone users and almost passes that kind of consumer off as easy to please and pointless. That may be true, but I find Chen's language quite alienating here. So, what about the normal consumer who just wants to text their friends and play games? Well, perhaps that will be Blackberry's next point of focus in 2015... for us non-business smartphone simpletons it would be welcome.

source: CNBC

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About the author

Luke Jones
Luke Jones is the Managing Editor at MobileBurn.com and is the person you need to speak to about the content on the site. Luke studied creative writing at degree level before carving out a reputation as a freelance tech writer. He settled here at MobileBurn, where he reviews devices and contributes to the news, as well as overseeing the site's content and direction.

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