BlackBerry looks to travel back to profit with new Passport smartphone

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BlackBerry looks to travel back to profit with new Passport smartphone

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BlackBerry is hoping its new unconventional smartphone will be a passport back to profit.

Called the Passport, based on the shape and size, the handset is crucial to the Canadian company’s turnaround.

A larger square touchscreen device, but also with a keyboard, it is BlackBerrys’ first major new phone in nearly two years.

Chief Executive John Chen, after a three-year restructuring process, needs to claw back ground lost to rivals in both the hardware and services.

BlackBerry’s phones had just 0.5 percent of the market based on shipments between April and June this year.

The Android operating system dominates, with 84.7 percent.

Unlike its last offering – the Blackberry 10, which was not a great success – the Passport can download apps previously only available for Android-based phones.

The company also hopes its security features and a new mobile device management system will be selling points.

“BlackBerry is still fighting for survival. They still need to turn around and develop a viable ongoing business model,” said Morningstar analyst Brian Colello.

“Their products are certainly pointing toward that and the new strategy makes sense, but there is still a lot of execution risk at this point in a very competitive market.”

with Reuters