It would be an understatement to say that Blackberry has suffered a fall from grace in recent years. At one point they were a leader in market innovation and sales, with a highly desirable product used by both teenages are aging politicians alike. Now however, since failing to adapt to the rise of the multi-touch smartphone, they have been on a precipitous decline, both in terms of sales, and brand power.
The primary problem the company has faced is a tired form factor. While the inclusion of a physical QWERTY keyboard was a great feature back in 2006, now on-screen virtual touch keyboards offer a comparable typing experience. Continuing to persist with this feature has left the Blackberry phones with much less of the screen space which consumers actually would pay a premium for.
Blackberry is looking more and more like a dead scene.
With this in mind you would think the company would be willing to try something new to save their company. But no, now they are debuting their latest button masher: the Blackberry Passport. With possibly the strangest form factor of any smartphone we have seen in the last few years, the square shaped device has been stretched in way which no phone ever should, to accommodate both a Full-HD screen, and a QWERTY button keyboard.
In a blog post today, the company has attempted to defend its ridiculous design with the claim that the phone’s 4.5 inch screen has the same screen space as that of a 5 inch screen, and also offers a better viewing experience. Why? Because reasons. If Blackberry is to be believed, “academic typology” suggests that the optimum number of characters displayed per line of text is 66, and that their phone, which can display 60 per line, is therefore better. Also spreadsheets look better somehow.
Not convinced to buy the passport yet? Blackberry is a there to provide a list of potentials uses for their device which the average person would never come across throughout a regular day. These include making architects lives easier by (somehow) making drafts easier to display, and helping doctors show their patients X-rays, rather than using a tablet, or you know, the X-ray itself.
Once again, Blackberry has shown itself to be unworthy of the title of ‘tech-innovator’ with such poorly thought out design choices. Except for the niche market of security conscious business and government users, Blackberry is looking more and more like a dead scene. For too long they have tied their brand image to the physical keyboard, rather than trying to compete with other companies in the mainstream smartphone market. Without serious and drastic changes in company philosophy, they company will almost certainly die a slow dead in the coming years.
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