Analysts quick to praise the BlackBerry Passport

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CCS Insight chief of research says it will appeal to traditional BlackBerry users, while uSwitch says new style keyboard plays to its strengths and could be its route back into the business market

Industry analysts have have reacted positively to the unveiling of the BlackBerry Passport – the manufacturer’s first smartphone release in a year.

The square-shaped device, running the new BB10.3 operating system, was unveiled earlier today at a launch event in London.

CCS Insight chief of research Ben Wood labelled the Passport a “marmite product” based on its design, but one that stands out and will appeal to dedicated BlackBerry customers, adding it will be a crucial milestone in efforts to rebuild the business.

“This is definitely a marmite product – based on our experience so far people either love the design or are a little perplexed by the size and shape. One thing is certain – it’s a distinctive product that will definitely stand out from the monotonous stream of similar looking touchscreen smartphones that currently characterise the market.”

“BlackBerry seems confident the Passport device will appeal to its key customers. Given CEO John Chen has made a point of meeting with scores of customers in the first few months of his tenure its certain that feedback from those discussions will have shaped this device.”

“After 18 months of disruption the strategy that new CEO John Chen has laid out seems to be taking hold. The business has stabilised and the Passport device is a critical milestone in efforts to rebuild the business.”

uSwitch.com mobile analyst Rob Kerr praised BlackBerry for including physical buttons in the form of a full QWERTY keyboard and its move back to the business market.

“This latest handset launch shows that it’s back to business for BlackBerry – and what a smart move that is. Business handsets are where BlackBerry started, and this phone could be its Passport back from the youth messenger market – and all the bad PR that came with their love of BBM.

“After a year away from the UK market, a return to Blighty with a keyboard-based smartphone is a move that plays to BlackBerry’s strengths, and shows it has finally understood what people liked about its early phones.

“Its touchscreen-only handsets were criticised for their lack of physical buttons users had come to expect from the mobile maker. You can’t blame BlackBerry for trying, but abandoning your unique selling point is never wise.

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