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The Blackberry Passport. Blackberry

Blackberry is back, and it's hoping this phone will turn its fortunes around

The Blackberry Passport is aimed towards professionals, and is hoping that going back to the basics will make it a hit.

WHEN YOU THINK of smartphones, the likes of Apple, Samsung, Nokia, HTC, and Sony come to mind, but few would initially think of Blackberry.

The company was incredibly popular a few years back as it allowed you to work while on the go, but competition against the iPhone and other smartphones and a few slipups meant it fell behind.

Fast-forward to today and while the release of the Z10 smartphone didn’t go exactly to plan, it’s making a comeback with the launch of the Blackberry Passport.

For one, it’s a premium smartphone that is very square. The company says the reason behind this design choice is because the traditional rectangular style used by modern smartphones is “perhaps limiting innovation.”

The Passport offers a 4.5-inch screen, a touch-sensitive keyboard and bills itself as the ideal device for “power professionals” like architects, doctors, investment bankers and writers among others.

BlackBerry / YouTube

But what do the critics think of it? Well, despite some decent ideas, the response hasn’t been entirely positive.

The Wall Street Journal says while the device has some “neat tricks and longer battery life” compared to rivals, it’s “living in the past.”

Modern-day smartphones allow us to not only be power professionals but also power parents, spouses, fitness nuts and more. They enable us to communicate far beyond the inbox, while also letting us stop and smell the roses—or at least take a picture of them to post on Instagram.

The Verge mentions how it doesn’t exactly live up to its promise of being a productivity hub, saying that it “got in the way of getting work done more than it helped.”

That’s the struggle that BlackBerry is facing — no matter how much it tries to put the emphasis back on “doing work,” people do work with apps on their phones. Awkward dimensions and confusing interfaces aside, the Passport’s biggest failure is that it just doesn’t have what I need to get my job done. And it certainly can’t replace all of the other things I do with my smartphone, like play games and watch video.

Gizmodo called it the “best phone Blackberry has ever made… but that doesn’t mean you’ll be buying one.” While reading on it is easy and Blackberry Hub help keeps track of everything that’s happening, the feel and awkward shape of the device creates a “constant feeling of a gravity-related disaster every time you pull it out of your pocket.”

And Re/Code said that the possibility of it appealing to those not using Blackberry is “slim” and that “there was no reason to switch” if you were already invested in other platforms.

In short, if the Passport makes its way over here, chances are you will need to be a Blackberry fan to get the most out of it.

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