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Pictures: BlackBerry Launches New Smartphone ‘Passport’ In Dubai

Pictures: BlackBerry Launches New Smartphone ‘Passport’ In Dubai

The square-shaped smartphone targets business professionals and will retail for Dhs2,699 in the UAE.

Canadian phone-maker BlackBerry released its latest smartphone,’Passport’ on Wednesday, pining its hopes on the phone’s unique squarish design to stand out in the saturated marketplace.

The phone, launched simultaneously in Toronto, London and Dubai, includes a high-res 4.5-inch square screen, and is exactly the size of a regular passport.

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Priced at Dhs2,699, it will be launched specifically in BlackBerry’s Dubai Mall store on September 25, and will be available across the UAE by the end of this month.

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At the event in Dubai – which was visibly more subdued than the company’s previous Z10 launch –  BlackBerry officials said that phone’s “innovative” design was aimed at business professionals and that all its features were aimed at helping them increase productivity.

The Passport features a new keyboard, a 13MP rear camera – BlackBerry’s best-ever, and a 3450 mAh battery, which the company says provides up to 30 hours of talk-time.

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It runs on a Quad Core 2.2 GHZ Processor and includes 3GB RAM and 32GB memory.

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The Passport also comes with BlackBerry’s new 10.3 OS, which includes new features such as the BlackBerry Assistant – Siri’s competitor, BlackBerry Blend – which lets users sync all their devices, and the Amazon Appstore which showcases the latest Android games and apps, such as Minecraft – Pocket Edition, Candy Crush Saga, Pinterest and Temple Run 2.

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Speaking to Gulf Business, Neelesh Bhatnagar, CEO of Emax, said the phone was good for travelling businessmen and that some of its features were impressive.

“It’s shape and size is something unique, which might attract some people, but I think more than that, some of the features have been fairly good. Connectivity between multiple gadgets was something unique and interesting.”

Ashish Panjabi, COO of Jacky’s Group also said that the BlackBerry Blend was a great value-add. “The BlackBerry Blend is the killer app in the device – the ability to move from device to device is unique.”

Calling it a “squablet”, Panjabi was however not very convinced about the design. “The Passport has never been comfortable in the front pocket, but the phone has been. So it’s going to be interesting how that works out,” he said.

So will the phone perform well in the crowded UAE smartphone sector?

“It’s very difficult to say whether it will pick up in the local market, because there is so much is happening in the space of smartphones. I think we will have to wait and watch,” said Bhatnagar.

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