BlackBerry Passport aims to be a miniature laptop with a keyboard that doubles as a mouse

Daniel Bader

July 19, 2014 7:41pm

Talking about the BlackBerry Passport — positively or otherwise — is all the rage these days, and for good reason. Think what you will about the device’s massive square screen real estate, its divisive shape is certainly garnering attention. BlackBerry has even consolidated some of that positive consumer sentiment in blog posts.

John Chen thinks that the Passport will be exactly what business users want from a smartphone, and he may have a secret weapon to reinforce his message: a keyboard that doubles as a trackpad, similar to a laptop’s.

For a long time, BlackBerrys employed trackpads out of necessity; even when devices like the Bold 9900 were released, the legacy BBOS was not optimized for touch. Now, BlackBerry 10 is touch-friendly, but the Passport looks to take advantage of its new slim keyboard to double as both a faculty for alternate keys and shortcuts, as well as a trackpad/mouse for scrolling and controls. A high-resolution trackpad offers more movement precise control than a touchscreen alone, so the prospect of such a wide surface area, especially one with multitouch capabilities, is compelling.

While it’s unclear whether BlackBerry 10.3 will take full advantage of the keys’ haptic abilities beyond merely reproducing actions one could accomplish by tapping the screen, freeing up the display when necessary — for gaming, document editing, gestures, etc. — it may be the killer app Passport needs.


  • Abdi Mohamed

    Woah . nice feature BB for the passport

    • bobberbee

      another fail in the making.

  • Super_Deluxe

    Lol a miniature laptop? I highly doubt people will replace their laptops with this small odd looking phone.

    • William CC

      I use the Z30, and since having it I’ve opened my laptop… at best once a week. With Remote Access from anywhere in the world to all the files on my laptop, there’s just no need anymore.

    • dannyR

      I don’t know a single prof in my university that uses a phone instead of a laptop during lectures. Unless he or she wants to interrupt the class with an incoming phone call. Very few of these, and they get a certain reputation.

    • William CC

      I think old people aren’t a great indicator of trend setting. Haha. I have professors who still use slide projectors.

      I, on the other hand, use my Z30 to take notes in class, edit my thesis, and give slide show presentations that I made using Express.

    • Columbo

      Yeah it’s smaller obviously but it’s very similar and in many ways it’s better. Can your laptop send texts and make phone calls? Does it get internet connection even if you don’t have wifi? Can you put it in your pocket and take it everywhere you go?

    • dannyR

      No, but I don’t need to wear a coat with big pockets in the summer either.

    • Chuck

      Your laptop gets Internet even when there’s no wifi? Tethering doesn’t count. And I can pretty much guarantee that your laptop doesn’t handle calls and other messaging as well as a BlackBerry. Since getting my Z30, my MacBook Pro is basically just a file server, a private cloud; the Z30 does almost everything better.

  • Stephen B Morris

    Blackberry is definitely not trying to target me for this monstrosity. But the trackpad thing looks very useful.

    • Sixtyseven

      There are billions of people with with their own needs. So what is your need?

    • Stephen B Morris

      To be honest, my Nexus 4 is pretty much covering my “needs” although the Q10 would have probably been my BlackBerry of choice. A more natural progression from that would have been more ideal. I missed the whole “BlackBerry craze” thing. My wants however, is another matter entirely.

    • J-Ro

      They don’t target, they aren’t predators like Captain Koodo.

    • Stephen B Morris

      Ha, Ha, Ha!!! Predator is right!

  • xBURK

    Just wait until someone demonstrates this with a few BB10 hours behind them. Love the video, but people have to realize this is obviously the persons first go around on the operating system. Also, it looks as though he has a slow wifi connection. That would explain the scroll lag while on unloaded pages. At Any rate, this is an amazing product. Hands down the most exciting device to come out in 2014.

    • It’s Me

      Might also still be a dev unit with debugging enabled. That would slow things down considerably.

      It’s not for me, burin really hope it’s a huge success.

    • StevieY

      Or perhaps the device knows it’s a BlackBerry and lags because of it

    • xBURK

      Come up with that yourself? Hope not.

    • MikeOxlong

      Most likely, but be careful. The bb fanbois are out for blood…

    • Chuck

      Ever used a BlackBerry? Thought not.

    • Alejandro Díaz

      It’s really smart to judge a device running on pre-production software.

    • Scazza

      Hurr, real comedian this one. Anyone who has used even the aging Z10 knows BB10 runs like butter even with a bunch of apps running.

    • Effilya De

      ya but ya see these clowns don’t know BB10, have never used it and wouldn’t know what to do without a home button and a dozen fart apps to choose from.

  • Columbo

    Every time new info comes out about this phone I “understand” it more and more.

    • MikeOxlong

      You must be reeaaalllllll slow then. Its the same crap repeated over and over for click bait. Lol.

    • Columbo

      I’ve never seen the keyboard used as a cursor before this story. So for me it’s new, and pretty awesome.

      If you’ve already seen it that’s hilarious, it means you (as a hater) spend more time scouring the internet for BlackBerry stories than me (a fan). You’re mobile syrup’s BB expert. Sadomasochist much?

    • MikeOxlong

      You clearly live the life of a sad, dazed and confused Lil laddy. Its OK.

    • thisiscjay

      Lmao @ the irony of your hypocritical banter.

  • cs098

    Okay this is no pique my interest.

  • Brad

    I’m very much looking forward to this device. The trackpad functionality will allow for great Remote Desktop capabilities that pure touch screen can’t compete with. As an IT Pro, this means I can support systems remotely all the much easier. Y’all can have the rectangles, I’m going with this square!

    • Tim3Tripp3r

      They should hire Huey Lewis & The News to do a promo video, they already have the right song – Hip To Be Square :)

    • MikeOxlong

      The funny thing is this device will attract the same crowd that would actually like to see that band again.

    • Chuck

      Jealous much? Guys like you used to call me a nerd. Now I OWN guys like you. Have fun with your kiddie toy phone as you wait for the next customer at the Taco Bell drive through!

    • MikeOxlong

      I think its your mom that works for taco bell, and youre still living off the tit in her basement as a man. Time for you to wake up and see the real world for once.

  • Dapper

    All the features of this device look amazing. For me in the oil and gas commissioning industry. I can’t wait for this device for opening and viewing schematics! This will be an Engineers dream phone. I understand the medical industry is also anticipating the #Passport
    Go BlackBerry!

  • howitzerr

    idd still take the Classic over this
    but i wont

  • StevieY

    Bargain bin bound

  • StevieY

    Zzzz more garbage

  • Roger

    Haters gonna hate… cause their manufacturer of choice didn’t come up with something so innovative. say what you want, this is not a company following others!

    • xBURK

      Good point, Best quality of BlackBerry for sure.

  • Zainab

    Guess what I’m buying in September?
    Lol its an amazing device…can’t wait until I can get one!

  • ToniCipriani

    Still have to wait and see. One thing I noticed the reason why I like the physical keyboard is I don’t want any of the “smart” features to “assist” me in typing, I find those assist actually slows me down because it always ends up correcting things into stuff I do not want, no matter how much I get it to learn. This keyboard solves the tactile part, but need to see it actually works without all the SYM and Shift keys, e.g. typing alphanumeric passwords, and how pleasant it is to turn off all auto-correct and caps.

    • Kem

      The first thing I did when I bought the Z10 was to turn off the auto-correct option. However, the suggestions and swiping words feature BlackBerry talks about is independent of the auto-correction and is actually super handy, super smart and typing speed booster. The suggestions are not intrusive and are actually that, just suggestions and fully optional. The Passport will have this, as the keyboard is touch-sensitive, and I’m dying to see a demo of it. I’ll definitely buy one!

    • ToniCipriani

      Yes I’m aware of the swiping, basically their version of Swype.

    • tskyyc

      Obviously you aren’t aware of the swiping because it has absolutely nothing in common with swype

  • sicsicpuppy

    square in the new rectangular .Hip to be square

  • Plazmic Flame

    The capacitive keyboard is definitely a great innovation…. The square screen seems like a waste of space.

  • cookipuss

    Everyone will mock this and then release square screens with keyboards.

    • Dimitri

      That is how it works. The trolls will mock this & complain how the device is to square & a square keyboard BUT if Samsung, Apple, HTC or even Sony make one, they will say how its a smart idea.

      People forgot the real of thumb ” Test the device & use it before judging it via pictures or videos”.

    • MikeOxlong

      No one will reproduce this in any shape or form whatsoever. Not in a million years.

    • igs terious

      “7inch tablets are dead on arrival” – Steve Jobs
      Oh wait, then they released the 7inch iPad mini, right?

    • MikeOxlong

      Don’t be so retarded. This is bb were mocking, not apple.

    • igs terious

      I am not mocking anyone, just stating raw facts. The only wannabe-mocker here is you and as you might have noticed, you are alone.

    • Ericp2011

      Just like they did with the Playbook, they laughed at the size, mocked the device, trolled and killed it like they are trying now. They then made their 7inch devices as if they never existed before. Guess what, I still own my Playbook and still use it daily.

    • Effilya De

      me too, and it’s still the best tablet out there.

    • Adderbox76

      No they won’t. In fact I’m pretty sure there was a meeting between all of the heads of all of the leading smartphone manufacturers. It’s only purpose was to get together, high five each other, and laugh at the idea that “It’s hip to be square”.

      It’s the dad-joke of marketing.

  • Naegi

    haters….believe it or not , blackberry is coming back and hard ….,stay tuned babes…..

    • dannyR

      “haters” always imparts that certain quality of credibility to a comment. Use it often, it’s very convincing.

    • Naegi

      WOW so fast a hater appeared ….stay tuned babe :)

    • dannyR


    • Superion

      BlackBerry will survive. They will thrive in new verticals they were not involved in prior to buying QNX like automotive, healthcare, and IoT

      But if you are expecting a consumer comeback in handsets anytime soon, you will be sorely disappointed. BlackBerry is done with consumers. They are focused exclusively on regulated markets and enterprise.

      They’ve killed Music, videos, and social gaming (scoreloop), and have no intentions of releasing in house or baked in consumer services from this point on. So there will be no incentive to buy a BlackBerry if you don’t plan to use it for work.

      You will be stuck with using Amazon and a bunch of Android apps for any and all consumer services. This will not draw in consumers as this is a second rate solution.

    • Naegi

      Unfortunately fanboys -droid boys cant understand that blackberry lovers ….dont want blackberry to be the first company (it will never happen …)everyone knows this ….
      We want blackberry just to sell (as CEO) said only10 million devices a year , so it becomes PROFITABLE….nothing else

      We dont want everyone to have a blackberry BELIEVE IT (keep your iphone’s -samsung’s )and stop hating blackberry .
      Blackberry lovers just only need one device a year from the company with its absolutely best in my opinion secure and safe OS inside it …..
      Bye Bye

    • Dimitri

      The problem with that is the trolls & haters of Blackberry do not care. They think that other OS’s are the best just like we think Blackberry 10 OS is the best ( Which it is in my opinion & this is coming from someone that has owned & used all the Galaxy series phones in Canada, all iPhones from the iPhone 2G until the 5S & all the HTC devices released in Canada. Same goes for the Nokia, Sony & Moto devices).

      Blackberry will do amazing selling phones to the business sector. Just like it did before they went to the consumer side. All they want is to sell a set goal of phones & they will be fine. With the PassPort & Classic i am sure they can do it. Do remember that many businesses still use Blackberries & are waiting for the new ones. ( I know BMO, Scotiabank & a few others in Toronto are waiting for them as i do work in the BMO tower and see the conference emails. )

      Haters will be haters but non the less we shouldn’t be paying attention to them as all they do is hate & troll others via a screen & keyboard. Nothing else they can do. I am sure those haters can not even make a phone or a Os & have a company behind them & make thousands if not millions of the devices. They are all talk but nothing else really.

    • MikeOxlong

      Lol you delusional crackers. Make me lol.

    • Dimitri

      For someone that comes on all the Blackberry threads & trolls users & the company you shouldn’t be calling others names.

      Its really funny how someone like you that i guess has nothing better to do with their life comes on MS & spams any Blackberry post that users makes calling them names, bullying them & trolling. Shame that we have people like you on here & it really does suck that the MS team doesn’t realize or do any actions on this. Other sites would have banned you. Guess MS admins like you trolling & name calling others.

    • Benny X

      he used to work for Blackberry and got canned due to his incompetence. it’s the only thing that could possibly explain his obsessive hatred for the company. that and he has absolutely no life to speak of, thus has all the time in the world to mock those of us who use products from the company he hates, whose products make us more productive. Perhaps he’s just jealous we have jobs. Perhaps he still lives in his mom’s basement and his mom threw a Blackberry at his head for being such a loser. These are only a few plausible explanations for his behavior, but i’m sure one of them isn’t too far off the mark.

    • MikeOxlong

      Pay attention wanker. What you described would be you, not me. Also, as mentioned by everyone in the last thread you vsrfed in, seek help.

    • ToniCipriani

      Well considering trolling brings traffic, which turns into ad traffic for MS.

      Sad reality.

    • Effilya De

      you little iToy boys and your yesterday’s technology phones are the ones that crack us up. You obviously know absoluteldy nothing about Blackberrys and BB10 yet like to pass your dimwitted opinions off as expert.

      Go download another fart app and have a chuckle. It’s about your speed, if that.

    • MikeOxlong

      So clueless. Such wanker.

    • Effilya De

      brilliant retort

    • MikeOxlong

      Wankers don’t deserve any effort.

    • Effilya De

      another gem. Really sounds like you have a fixation with masturbation.

      Try not to hurt yourself

  • dannyR

    I’m not sure what you mean by ‘haptic’ means, here. “Haptic” means there is feedback to the touch that emulates the feel of the (virtual) object being manipulated. It is not the same as the lesser capability “tactile”.

  • Manuel Orellana

    I for one I’m happy that they’re trying something different. A lot of people thought that the Note was too big yet here we are. Sometimes it’s good to be an innovator. The keyboard with a built-in mouse is genius. The guys at Apple, Samsung and Google must wish they could have come up with something like that. Having said all that, a game changer? Not too sure about that, a good start, definitely. There’s a lot of good buzz about this device, I won’t be grabbing one but I can see how it can be useful for some. I’ve been saying it for years, even mentioned it to someone at RIM once. Wouldn’t it be nice if you created a bridge type app for the PC imagine you’re in a hotel and you simply hook up to a laptop and there’s all your e-mail, calendar, contacts, bbm and access to all your apps in a secure environment. Business users would be all over that no longer would they need vpn or a dedicated laptop to do other tasks, just a thought.

  • bobberbee

    BB10 is an utter failure. period.

    • Ryan

      Who cares, it’s an awesome OS and the Z30 is a Top end phone with great quality and features. Do you honestly bases your phone purchases on market share? I guess you could use the ecosystem argument, but that’s really not much of a argument anymore with the Android Runtime. It’s not perfect but runs 90% of my apps fine, and is just going to get better with 10.3 :)

    • igs terious

      Exactly. One does not eat McDonald´s every day just because they sell a million BigMacs every day.

  • tedstriker3

    Even though Blackberry has pretty much failed at everything they’ve done recently, I predict this will be a huge success!

  • Damien

    Looks awesome.

  • Ericp2011

    I am an older user, and will definitely add this to my toys collection, why? Because I can!

  • evuan

    With the new BlackBerry coming out I better sell my old BlackBerry before the value of it drops. I usually search 8-13 different sites to find the best offer, but I just found this company that compares all the buyback companies in one spot, it’s called RecomHub.

    It’s like Kayak but for electronic devices that show you all the offers in one spot.

  • Adderbox76

    Every new phone from Blackberry there is an army of “fans” saying how they use their current one and it’s sooo much better than the competition. And expounding about how cool some of the new features look.

    Some are great at making their comments seem like they are genuine. Others can’t be bothered to go off-script and sound exactly like it was written out for them by the Blackberry marketing department.

    But every new phone that comes out, doesn’t sell. It fails. Blackberry sinks lower.

    How can it have so many people supposedly “loving” their new Blackberries everytime a new comes out, and yet, to date…I have not sold a single Z30, less than a dozen Z10s, and maybe a dozen Q10s? And I’m one of only two cellular dealers in a city of 17,000 people. The very definition of “captive audience”.

    It’s the same song and dance every single time. Lots of defenders leading up a release, and then those defenders don’t actually go and buy it. Put your money where you mouth is please.

    • igs terious

      Prolly coz of the media-hate-bandwagon shouting “BlackBerry is dead” wherever they could. Also, BB is in position where they can not put “indecent sums of money into advertising” (quote from Apple´s internal docs leaked).

  • Raj Singh

    It’d be cool if the keyboard can be used to swipe input text…

    • igs terious

      Flick to text is there, much like as with the BB10 virtual keyboard :) = awesome

    • Raj Singh

      I do like the flick to text on BB10 but I’m not talking about the flick. I’m talking about how I can swipe my finger from ‘w’ over to the ‘h’ over to the ‘e’ over to the ‘r’ back over to the ‘e’ and it automatically spells out the word ‘where’… like Swype. It’s been on Android for a few years now. I find that feature really, really convenient.

  • Raj Singh

    I want.

  • espresso_cig

    I predict the BB Passport will receive negative reviews and rating, sluggish sales, BB fanboys and BB paid shills will cry foul at why so few BB hand-sets are being displayed in the carriers’ stores, if carried at all. Pretty obvious predictions don’t you agree? We’re all expecting an all new Apple iPhone 6 and Samsung Note 4 will be launched around same time – will BB make a dent to either company’s sales with the Passport or the Classic? I doubt it. The Passport and Classic will be laughed at, and will be set aside to rot by majority of the consumers just like all of the BB hardware have been ever since the Playbook.

    • Effilya De

      recent revelations about the designed in and undocumented capability to access ALL your data, encrypted or not, by Apple and the US Government should be enough to give anyone some serious thought about using any iOS device, if you have any brains at all.

      Blackberry as a Canadian company has no motivation or incentive to cooperate with the US government / NSA so, once again, Blackberry security trumps anything Apple in a very serious and significant way.

      so if you don’t care about Apple and the NSA having free and easy access to ALL your data, anytime they want it, go ahead, buy another iToy, and good luck.

      Apple has clearly demonstrated that they don’t care about their customer’s privacy, and never have.

      BB10 smartphones offer better performance, functionality and of course another dimension to security than anything Apple.

      It remains to be seen if the old quotation is true, “there is no underestimating the intelligence of the american consumer”. i suspect it is and they are the ones that will be, and are being, laughed at.

      It appears the only way to truly secure an iPhone is to run the battery down and leave it that way.

    • espresso_cig

      You shill, stop spreading lies. The consumers have spoken with their wallets, take a look at Apple’s quarterly vs. BB’s quarterly.

    • Effilya De

      keep your head in the sand, you’ll be ok,

    • Effilya De

      you would do well to have a read before calling others liers