200,000 ‘Passport’ pre-orders reinstate BlackBerry’s profit hopes


BlackBerry has a reason to celebrate all thanks to the satisfactory response for its newly launched square smartphone ‘Passport’.

The Canadian smartphone maker, while reporting its quarterly earnings call on Friday, announced the company has managed to sell as many as 200,000 Passport smartphones since its Wednesday debut.

BlackBerry CEO Jon Chen noted that the passport shaped handset sold out in 6 hours after its announcement on the company’s official website and in 10 hours on Amazon, making up for the bulk of its 200,000 preorders.

While obviously the sale figures aren’t big enough as compared to rival Apple, which recently sold over 10 million iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus handsets in its opening weekend, its surely not bad for a device sold unlocked at £529.

Powered by a quad-core 2.2GHz processor, the new square-shaped smartphone ‘Passport’ features a 4.5-inch square touchscreen, with a resolution of 453 pixels per inch, made from toughened Corning Gorilla Glass and a three-row QWERTY touch-enabled keyboard.

The handset boasts a 13-megapixel rear camera, 3GB of RAM, 32GB of internal memory expandable up to 128GB via a microSD, a quad microphone system and 3,450 mAh battery. BlackBerry claims the smartphone’s battery is the largest among the top selling handsets and phablets offering up to 30 minutes of mixed use and best battery power ever.

The Passport runs the latest update of its operating system BB10 – BlackBerry 10.3. The updated software comes pre-loaded with BlackBerry Blend, which lets users BlackBerry content to other devices including PCs and Android phones, Blackberry Assistant – a facility that recognizes voice commands and speaks back in English, French, German, Spanish and Italian as well as the Amazon Appstore.

The struggling smartphone maker posted a loss for the quarter ending August 31, however the loss was much less than analysts expected. The company reported a loss of $207 million during the quarter, compared to a $950 million loss a year ago. BlackBerry’s $916 million in revenues fell short of analyst’s expectations of $950 million.

BlackBerry also reported its BBM messaging service has surpassed 91 million monthly active user mark, up from 85 million in the prior quarter.