Blackberry Passport – September 24

The gang up in Waterloo sent out this cryptic invitation yesterday:

event-three-up-1Very secret. Very mysterious. What could it mean?

It means the launch of the Blackberry Passport, that’s what it means. Make no mistake – the Passport appears to be an extremely nice device. If you are well and truly welded to the idea of a physical keyboard, then this is about the absolute best solution for a pocket computer that will still let developers and users offer up a proper touch-screen experience. It might be a tad too large for easy one-handed use, a bit too wide and pointy to be pocketable, but those are quibbles. This is a solid piece of hardware.

Blackberry PassportIn fact, if Blackberry hadn’t been rendered moribund by short-sighted stubbornness at the top (I’m lookin’ at you, Mike) and this phone had been released 4 years ago, there is a very good chance that Blackberry might still be a relevant player in the mobile devices game. Even now, this might have a decent impact … but not if it gets lost in the shuffle of big releases from Samsung and Apple in the first half of the month.

So why the secrecy? You want people thinking about and talking about this device now. You want people interested in trying (and buying!) this device before the new new handsets from the biggest two players in the game hit the stores … it almost seems that Blackberry has given up on anyone who has moved to another platform, and is content to target their existing users.

Memo To The Waterloo Posse: When your pool of existing users is in the shrinking single-digit percentage of the market, that might not be the greatest strategy. You need to make noise about this, and you need to make it now.

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