That weird, square BlackBerry Passport is real

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A little while ago we reported on the fact that BlackBerry was working on a new premium smartphone with a rather strange, square, 1 440×1 440 resolution display. And today the company confirmed the existence of the odd-looking phone as the BlackBerry Passport in a blog post that tries to allay the fears that many have already expressed towards the shape of the latest handset from the Canadian company.

With a front dominated by its 4.5 inch, 1:1 aspect ratio display, the Passport is BlackBerry’s answer to the fact that smartphone manufacturers have been “emulating the same, entertainment-driven look” for years. This stems from the fact that almost all modern smartphones, whether they be Apple’s iPhone 5s or Samsung’s Galaxy S5, have displays that use the same 16:9 aspect ratio as your flat screen TV does.

According to the post, the BlackBerry Passport will give as much screen real estate as a 5 inch display but, crucially, will show up to 60 characters horizontally at a time on its screen versus the 40 that a 16:9 display would offer. BlackBerry says that based on academic typology you typically find 66 characters per line which would allow the BlackBerry Passport to show more of the information that you actually need to see at once.

BlackBerry suggests four professional cases that the Passport may eclipse it’s rectangular brethren:

  • For architects and mortgage brokers, imagine being able to look at full designs and schematics on the go, and still being able to handle piles of virtual paperwork with ease.
  • In the healthcare field, picture being able to go through x-rays or medical documentation in the office with a patient, on a device that can maintain the necessary security standards for HIPAA compliance.
  • In the area of finance, how about navigating your Web-based trading platform on your device? With enough screen real estate, you can clearly see the fluctuation in your stock and determine whether it’s time to sell.
  • Writers will truly be unlocked with a navigable keyboard, while the large square screen enables faster content development and delivery. When you are looking to type stories or notes, your virtual keyboard doesn’t cover most of your screen.

Is it the first innovative stroke in smartphone design that the industry has seen in years, or has BlackBerry lost the plot? We’d love to know what you think so let us know below. Especially if you’re an architect who’s spent the last 15 years praying for a giant square phone.

David Greenway

David Greenway

David is a technology enthusiast with an insatiable thirst for information. He tends to get excited over new hardware and will often be the one in the room going "Its got 17 cores, 64GB of RAM and a 5" 4K flexible OLED display, oh it makes phone calls too?" Currently uses: Too many phones. Wants: World peace... and more phones.