As BlackBerry Passport made its official debut on Wednesday, the device that enables mobile professionals to Work Wide generated a huge reaction among the digirati: tech journalists and bloggers, analysts and other influencers. Besides dominating the front page of tech news aggregator Techmeme, it also was a top Twitter trend in the United States and Canada.
So, what are people saying?
Analysts Praise Keyboard, Productivity Potential
CNBC tech reporter Jon Fortt liked many aspects of the device, starting with the oversized screen.
“BlackBerry’s explanation for the design makes sense: The display shows 60 characters of text at a readable size and shows enough depth in a document to get context, making it the best I’ve seen for reviewing and annotating documents,” he wrote. Fortt also thought that Android apps “ran smoothly” on the BlackBerry and that its size was a non-issue.//
“Skeptics of the shape will question how it fits in a pocket, but it slips in about as easily as its namesake, the universally pocketable passport,” Fortt said. “It will be a snug fit in skinny jeans, but this phone won’t bend in there—unlike the iPhone 6 Plus.”
In a piece for Computerworld magazine, reporter Matt Hamblen quoted several analysts, including Rob Enderle of Enderle Group, Maribel Lopez, an analyst at Lopez Research, and Jack Gold, an analyst at J. Gold Associates.
Rob Enderle lauded the keyboard. “The advantage of a physical keyboard is that you can blind type, which means you can keep your eyes where they are supposed to be and with quick glances can still get that email or text sent out . . . The Passport will be a great tool for those that are still wedded to a keyboard and want a more cutting-edge phone.”
“QWERTY keyboards are highly underrated,” echoed Maribel Lopez. “While they seem old school, they’re very useful. Millennials might like the device because it could be perceived as retro cool.”
Meanwhile, Jack Gold recognized the appeal for business professionals, saying, “Passport is aimed squarely at enterprise users . . . Its unique form factor is optimized for document creation and editing, so BlackBerry is targeting really heavy Office-type users and its core messaging users. Passport . . . could give BlackBerry a boost in its enterprise installed base.”
Jack Gold separately noted that some commentators criticizing the BlackBerry Passport didn’t understand its intended business professional audience:
Principal Analyst at Reticle Research, Ross Rubin, likes the BlackBerry Passport’s “horsepower”: