BlackBerry Passport Philippines Price Php 35,790, Full Specs, Key Features, In the Flesh!

Contrary to what some of you may be thinking, the legendary Canadian handset company - BlackBerry - remains to be alive and kicking not just in America and Europe but also here in Asia.

Sure, they're currently in the process of implementing major changes not just in management but also in business strategy - and there were even talks about Lenovo's attempt to acquire the company earlier this year - but BlackBerry is still very much active in the mobile market and from the looks of it, it's here to stay.

BlackBerry Passport

In fact, yesterday - November 25, 2014, at the Romulo Cafe in Makati City, BlackBerry's APAC headquarters formally launched the much-awaited BlackBerry Passport flagship release here in the Philippines and sort of reminded everyone in the venue that its ties with Smart Communications - the country's  biggest network - and Globe Telecom remain to be solid and strong.

BlackBerry Passport
With Mr. Cameron Vernest, BlackBerry's Managing Director for the Philippines and Singapore, and the BlackBerry Passport

"We are excited to mark a new milestone for BlackBerry here in the Philippines, with the introduction of the first square screen design and touch-enabled keyboard smartphone – the BlackBerry Passport. Aimed at mobile professionals and equipped with the new BlackBerry 10.3 OS, this groundbreaking device will allow users to elevate their productivity and collaborate more effectively. The BlackBerry Passport will definitely be the talk of the town, breaking through the sea of rectangular-screen, all-touch devices," shared Mr. Vernest.

BlackBerry Passport

Flaunting a large square touch screen and an innovative QWERTY touch-enabled keyboard, the stunning BlackBerry Passport is a device purpose-built for productivity-driven business professionals who want a smartphone that empowers them with the mobile tools they need to get things done, without sacrificing style or portability.

BlackBerry Passport

Thoughtful Design for the Mobile Professional

Quoting BlackBerry, "Inspired by actual passports, the universal symbol of mobility, the size and form factor of BlackBerry Passport is portable enough to easily tuck into pockets and use wherever you go. Utilizing premium, robust materials such as Corning Gorilla Glass 3 for the display and forged stainless steel for added strength, BlackBerry Passport will provide the durability business professionals require in a smartphone."

The BB Passport's large square screen is optimized for viewing and creating content, and will make everyday tasks like reading and writing emails, reviewing and editing documents, web browsing, and map navigation, more comfortable and effortless. The BlackBerry Passport includes the industry’s first touch-enabled keyboard with gestures that make typing, editing and navigating more efficient and accurate. BlackBerry's physical QWERTY keyboards have always made it easier for users to create polished, professional communications with exceptional accuracy. According to a BlackBerry user study, BlackBerry Passport's new QWERTY keyboard is almost four times more accurate than BlackBerry 10 virtual keyboards – the error rate is on average 74% lower – so there are fewer typos to get in the way of what you’re trying to say.

The BlackBerry Passport is the first device to launch on BlackBerry’s latest OS platform, BlackBerry 10.3. The device comes preloaded with new productivity-enhancing features including BlackBerry Blend and BlackBerry Assistant, as well as the BlackBerry World storefront and Amazon Appstore, offering access to the very best apps for work and play.

BlackBerry Passport

BlackBerry Blend

BlackBerry Blend brings messaging and content that is on your BlackBerry smartphone to your computer and tablet. Get instant message notifications, read and respond to your work and personal email, BBM or text messages, and access your documents, calendar, contacts and media in real time on whatever device you are on, powered by your BlackBerry. BlackBerry Blend has launched on the BlackBerry Passport and the Porsche Design P’9983 from BlackBerry, and will work across desktop operating systems, including Mac OS X 10.7 +, iPad tablets running iOS 7+, Windows 7+ and Android tablets running Android 4.4+.

BlackBerry Passport

Highlight features of the BlackBerry Passport include:

  1. Large High-Resolution Square Screen – The BlackBerry Passport includes a 4.5-inch square screen with a 1:1 aspect ratio, 1440 x 1440 pixels (453 dpi) HD display and scratch-resistant Corning Gorilla Glass 3 for added strength.
  2. Innovative BlackBerry Keyboard – The BlackBerry Passport’s revolutionary new keyboard brings innovation to input with a responsive touch surface like a trackpad that lets you perform many touch functions directly on the keyboard. You can scroll web pages, flick to type or slide along the keys to move the cursor, leaving the full screen space for viewing.
  3. BlackBerry 10 OS 10.3 – The BlackBerry Passport comes pre-loaded with the new BlackBerry 10.3 operating system, including new features such as BlackBerry Assistant, BlackBerry Blend and Amazon App Store. It has a fresh look that incorporates updated icons and an instant action bar so that each user’s most commonly accessed functions are in the center of their screen.
  4. Best-in-Class Battery Life – At 3,450 mAh, the BlackBerry Passport battery accounts for up to 30 hours of mixed use.
  5. Dual App Storefronts for a Wealth of Professional and Popular Apps
    1. BlackBerry World – BlackBerry World showcases essential productivity apps for business professionals looking to drive efficient communications and collaboration.
    2. Amazon App Store – Preloaded on BlackBerry Passport, users can access popular consumer apps through the Amazon Appstore, including the latest Android games and apps, such as Minecraft - Pocket Edition, Candy Crush Saga, Pinterest, Temple Run 2 and Cut the Rope 2.
  6. BlackBerry Assistant – The BlackBerry Assistant is BlackBerry’s first digital assistant and can be used with voice and text commands to help users manage work and personal email, contacts, calendar and other native BlackBerry 10 applications. BlackBerry Assistant intelligently determines how to respond to you based on how you interact with it – if you type, it responds silently; if you speak, it speaks back; and if you activate over Bluetooth, it speaks back with additional context because it assumes you might not have access to the screen.
  7. Premium Components – The device is built for the most demanding user using durable materials mixed with top-of-the-line technology, including a Quad Core 2.2 GHz Krait 400 and Adreno 330 based Snapdragon 801 chipset, 3 GB RAM, 32 GB of expandable memory, Full HD 60fps video recorder, 13 MegaPixel autofocus rear camera with Optical Image Stabilization (OIS), and 2 MP front cam for selfies.
  8. BlackBerry Natural Sound – BlackBerry Passport comes with powerful speakers and a quad microphone system that delivers a high-quality listening experience. BlackBerry Natural Sound Technology is built in to adapt Wi-Fi and cellular call sound depending upon phone position and background noise, automatically adjusting volume so you don’t have to.

BlackBerry Passport

The BlackBerry Passport is now available through authorized resellers donning an official suggested retail price of Php 35,790. The company's network carriers and other retail partners are expected to offer the device come December 2014.

BlackBerry Passport

To be honest, I was taken aback when I saw BlackBerry Passport's very expensive local SRP in our media kit during the event. I was expecting the device to land here with price tag in the range of Php 27,000 to Php 30,000 and that's based on how much it costs in other territories including the United States and United Kingdom. But of course, there are a handful of factors beyond the control of BlackBerry - including taxes and subsidies - that contributed to the obvious 'ballooning' of its SRP in the Philippines.

As a tech blogger who roots for BlackBerry, I'm really hoping that BlackBerry Passport's many key strengths and main selling points - like its luxurious and head-turning design and construction and the intuitive BB 10.3 OS - would be enough to convince many Pinoy consumers - especially yuppies and corporate users - to check it out despite its rather hefty price tag. Personally, after spending an hour playing with the phone, I can say that the BB Passport really made me fall in love with BlackBerry all over again and has made me more hopeful about the brand's future in this ever-changing mobile landscape.

TechPinas Smartphone Technical Specs Table (TSTST)
Name BlackBerry Passport
Type Candybar with Full QWERTY Keyboard and Touchscreen
Price Category High End (Flagship Level)
Dimensions128 x 90.3 x 9.3 mm
Weight 196 grams
Available Colors White, Red, Black
Operating System BlackBerry 10.3 OS
Display 4.5 inches (~453 ppi pixel density), 1440 x 1440 pixels, IPS LCD, capacitive touchscreen, 16M colors
Processor Quad Core 2.26 GHz Krait 400 CPU, Adreno 330 GPU, Qualcomm MSM8974AA Snapdragon 801 chipset
Internal Storage 32 GB ROM, expandable via microSD card slot supporting up to 128 GB
Camera Main: 13 MegaPixels, 4128 x 3096 pixels, autofocus, optical image stabilization (OIS), LED flash
Front: 2 MegaPixels
Video Capture Main: Full HD 1080p 60 frames per second
Front: 720p
Audio and Video Playback MP3, WMA, WAV, eAAC+, FlAC, DivX, XviD, MP4, WMV, H.264 player
Ports microUSB v2.0 (Slimport), 3.5 mm audio jack
Connectivity Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, Wi-Fi Direct, DLNA, Wi-Fi hotspot, Bluetooth v4.0 with A2DP, EDR, NFC, 3G HSPA+, LTE
GPS Yes, with GLONASS and A-GPS
Sensors Accelerometer, Digital Compass, Gyroscope, Proximity
Network 2G Network GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900, 3G Network HSDPA 850 / 900 / 1700 / 1900 / 2100, 4G Network LTE 700 / 800 / 850 / 900 / 1700 / 1800 / 1900 / 2100 / 2600 (Bands 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 13, 17, 20)
SIM Card Type nanoSIM
Battery Non-removable Li-Ion 3,450 mAh battery
Uptime According to BB: 30 Hours with Mixed Usage
Value-Added Features Touchscreen and QWERTY Keyboard combo, Amazon App Store for access to Android applications, BlackBerry Blend
Announcement Philippines: November 26, 2014
Availability Philippines: November 26, 2014
Price Official SRP: Php 35,790