My Thoughts on Technology and Jamaica: US$599 Blackberry Passport Launched - How Blackberry Blend Remote Access may trump Apple Pay Wallet in the US of A

Friday, September 26, 2014

US$599 Blackberry Passport Launched - How Blackberry Blend Remote Access may trump Apple Pay Wallet in the US of A

The 4.5” Blackberry Passport Launched on Wednesday September 24th 2014 simultaneously in  Toronto, London and Dubai as I’d stated earlier in my blog article entitled “Blackberry Passport to launch Wednesday September 24th 2014 - 5.5-inch Apple iPhone 6 Plus proves Phablets a Trend and Passport a success”.

Up until that point I’d expected a smartphone priced at US$770 with the squarish specs and the swipable physical keyboard as I’d revealed in my blog article entitled “US$720 Blackberry Passport Specs Revealed – Metallic Accent with Big Battery makes this Hip to Be Square Phablet Trend a Winner”.

So it came as a surprise that Blackberry is dropping the price for the unlocked Blackberry Passport from the lofty high of US$770 unlocked to a very competitive US$599 (£366) as reported in the article “BlackBerry Unveils Its Passport Smartphone”, published Sept. 24, 2014 6:40 p.m. ET, by BEN DUMMETT, The Walls Street Journal and “BlackBerry unveils Passport smartphone, available today”, published September 24, 2014 7:00 AM PDT by Roger Cheng, CNET News.

US$500 Blackberry Passport - Lower Price makes it competitive against the Apple iPhone 6

Blackberry is clearly on a recovery path as per the comments by an upbeat Blackberry CEO John Chen during the Launch as reflected in the article “BlackBerry narrows loss, sees turnaround progress”, published Friday, September 26, 2014 2:56 PM, The Jamaica Observer.

Blackberry’s aim is to sell some 10 million units for the year in order to make profit, roughly the same number of Apple iPhone 6's that apple sold on Friday September 19th 2014 and over the weekend from Saturday September 20th 2014 to Sunday September 21st 2014 as stated in the article “Apple sells 10M iPhone 6 and 6 Plus devices in first weekend”, published September 22, 2014 5:33 AM PDT by Shara Tibken, CNET News.

If they manage that, it would be a marked improvement over the 2.6 million the sold in the Fiscal Quarter ending May 2014. They're also a little on the ambitious side, gunning for some 30% of the American market that likes to buy unlocked smartphones.

That is, ever since President Barack Obama signed the “Unlocking Consumer Choice and Wireless Competition Act” (S.517) on Friday August 1st 2014 as stated in my blog article entitled “Unlocking Consumer Choice and Wireless Competition Act makes Cellphone Unlocking Legal again - President Barack Obama upholds DMCA”.

They’ll achieve this by pricing their Blackberry Passport at US$500 unlocked, which is way below the US$649 for the unlocked Apple iPhone 6 and the US$749 unlocked Apple iPhone 6 Plus as stated in my blog article entitled “Apple iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus - No Sapphire Screen but 128GB Storage and NFC-powered Apple Pay in Apple's Biggest iPhone Launch”.

A small victory for Blackberry in the US of A! Not so sure if it’ll make a difference in Britain, where analyst eMarketer has projected that Blackberry smartphone overall will be 3rd place in the British Market as explained in my blog article entitled “Blackberry 3rd in Britain by End of 2014 – Blackberry loses in Apple, Android fight as Blackberry Passport to launch in September 2014”.

Clearly, despite the competition from other popular Google Android smartphones, they have the Apple iPhone in their sights as alluded in the article “BlackBerry Passport Price and Launch Date Revealed: Costs Less than Rival Smartphones”, published September 23, 2014 10:52 BST by Sarmistha Acharya, IBTimes.

Blackberry Passport unique Features – Apple Pay vs Blackberry Blend Remote Access

In the US of A, the lack of a Mobile Wallet payment system equivalent to Apple Pay might hurt its chances at mass adoption, as Apple Pay look to become the defining moment for NFC based Mobile Payments as stated in “Apple takes NFC Mainstream on iPhone 6: Apple Watch with Apple Pay”, published September 9, 2014 11:02 AM PDT, by Marguerite Reardon and Shara Tibken, CNET News.

However, Apple Pay currently works in the US of A only and is restricted to select number of partners who’ve chosen to sign up to their System. Thus for Developing world countries such as Jamaica, features and price count and the too-large-to-fit-in-my-back-pocket Blackberry Passport may soon be launched in Jamaica on either Telecom Provider Digicel or Telecom Provider LIME's Networks.

Features that will make it beloved by the Corporate and Enterprise world would be things like Microsoft Office native to the Passport as argued in my blog article entitled “Blackberry Passport Specs revealed in Hands-on - Why Microsoft Office and BBM Music will make the Passport Hip to Be Square”.
From September 1, 2014
The Blackberry Passport, however, is still a team player. Their most unique Feature, Blackberry Blend, allows you to read emails from the Passport on other devices, including other rival smartphones and Tablets including the Apple iPhone and the Apple iPad as stated in “Blackberry Blend shares data among multiple devices”, published September 24, 2014 7:00 AM PDT by Roger Cheng, CNET News.

This feature also comes with Remote Access form a Laptop or Desktop computer, Apple Macbook Pro or iMac once the Blackberry Passport is connected to Wi-Fi, 4G LTE or USB Cable.

Clever idea, considering that Remote Access to smartphones is usually provided by a third-party software, such as SplashTop’s Mirroring360 and Squirrel’s Reflector for Apple iPhones and Google Chrome Remote Desktop for Google Android smartphones as explained my blog article entitled “SplashTop’s Mirroring360 and Squirrel’s Reflector lets you mirror your Apple iPhone, iPad or iPod Nano to your Desktop or Laptop”.

Apple iPhone in Blackberry’s sights – Apple iPhone 6’s Apple Pay advantage as 30 more countries coming

Availability might be an issues with the competitively priced US$500 Blackberry Passport. They plan to sell it only through AT&T Wireless at an unconfirmed date and pre-orders have already begun via their website and Amazon in the U.S., U.K., Canada, France and Germany. 30 more countries, possibly including Jamaica, may be added to the list of countries that might take some interest in buying this squarish phablet with the swipable keys. 

Possibly and definitely including India and China, Developing Countries they’re already reaping success with the Blackberry Z3 as explained in my blog article entitled “Blackberry blogs positive reviews of Passport as Z3 sells out in India - Blackberry Passport may be their ticket on the Indian Express”.

Hopefully, the Blackberry Classic, which Blackberry CEO John Chen alluded, would be coming in November 2014, will be a lot more popular and a little more affordable! So is Blackberry on the comeback trail? Yes, but just don't expect crowds of people buying this device, despite being hip to be square getting a little more price-competitive!

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