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We're still not totally convinced by BlackBerry's justification for a square screen

BlackBerry really left us all scratching our heads when it revealed the upcoming 4.5” Passport smartphone with its stubby proportions and square display. Although packing in a relatively dense screen with a 1440x1440 resolution, the Passport flies in the face of conventional wisdom considering that 99.9% of smartphones on the market have a rectangular display.
 
BlackBerry has posted a new blog that tries to explain its reasoning behind going with a square display, and we’re not exactly sold on the merits.
 
BlackBerry’s Matt Young claims that the overwhelming adoption of rectangular displays has resulted in “limiting innovations” in the smartphone space and that the Passport “[opens] new doors of opportunity.” Young goes on to say that despite its unconventional shape, the Passport offers up the same viewing space as a traditional 5” smartphone.

 
He goes on to claim:
 
The optimal number of characters on a line in a book is 66 characters (current rectangular smartphones show approx. 40 characters and BlackBerry will show 60 characters). BlackBerry Passport offers its size and aspect ratio to accommodate these characters, making it the ideal device for reading e-books, viewing documents and browsing the web…
 
Consider how IMAX screens start with a more traditional 16:9 aspect ratio projection for conventional movie trailers and then expand to their true dimensions (and the audience goes, “ooh”). The Passport is like the IMAX of productivity, and you don’t have to sacrifice screen real estate, vertically or horizontally.
 
Given the increasingly media-centric focus of today’s smartphones, it’s hard to grasp the wisdom in BlackBerry heading this direction or how the move will bolster its already bleak outlook. However, the company says that it’s aiming the Passport squarely at business professionals and claims that everyone from architects to mortgage brokers to healthcare workers will benefit from the unique capabilities of the Passport (oh yeah, we almost forgot about that QWERTY keyboard).

Source: BlackBerry



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It makes sense, so we have to kill it
By anothermax2 on 7/8/2014 10:11:33 AM , Rating: 2
If you need a keyboard, you are committed to two handed use. If you are committed to two handed use, why not go wider? Why limit yourself to a ratio designed for 1 handed use? If you buy a big (5") 16:9 phone you complain about how hard it is to use 1 handed anyway!

So commit to two handed use, and you get a screen that is twice as big as a 16:9 ratio 5 incher! And no onscreen keyboard either.

I'll definitely take a look to replace my aging 4.5" (16:9) s2x.




By kamk44 on 7/8/2014 11:20:10 AM , Rating: 2
I you want one of these then what makes sense is to wait a while for the deep discounts. Shouldn't take too long.


RE: It makes sense, so we have to kill it
By Reclaimer77 on 7/8/14, Rating: 0
By acer905 on 7/8/2014 12:07:21 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah, width has always been the killer dimension to me. I laughed at people with the original RAZR because it looked absurdly wide just so they could make it a tiny bit thinner. I'll stick to a taller, even thicker device please. If anything the extra height helps the phone reach from your ear to your mouth...


RE: It makes sense, so we have to kill it
By melgross on 7/8/2014 12:51:57 PM , Rating: 2
The screen doesn't have that much more real estate. But the form of the phone is very clumsy. You can't tell which side is up when it's in your pocket, so when you take it out, you're going to fumble with it for a while.

And it's going to be very hard to hold up to your ear.

Look, BB10 phones have been a total disaster. Even now, with their phone sales falling off the cliff, BB7 sales are still killing their BB10 sales. That's because they're not getting many new users, but rather, the dwindling number of users they have are mainly just upgrading to the same OS so they can keep using the same apps and info in the way they have before.

It's pretty obvious that someone in Blackberry, whether it was Chen, or someone else, said in some gloomy meeting, that (s)he looked at all the phones in the market, and they all had the same look. Then someone else came up with the bright idea of mentioning that no one made a square phone, and wouldn't it be cool if they did, because it would be so different that people would flock to it. Then they all became excited over this and came up with reasons why it would be a great idea. After all, nothing else has helped.

But there's a good reason why phones have always been non square, going back many decades to well before cell phones were ever thought of, and that reason is comfort, something this phone won't offer.

I see this as going nowhere, just like all of their phones the past several years.


By Argon18 on 7/8/2014 4:29:56 PM , Rating: 2
"Look, BB10 phones have been a total disaster. Even now, with their phone sales falling off the cliff, BB7 sales are still killing their BB10 sales. That's because they're not getting many new users, but rather, the dwindling number of users they have are mainly just upgrading to the same OS so they can keep using the same apps and info in the way they have before."

This is very true. My work BB is the older BB7, I tried the BB10 and said "no thanks". So did all my co-workers. The ones who switched now regret it. BB10 is clunky and unrefined and totally breaks the traditional BB workflow.


"Nowadays, security guys break the Mac every single day. Every single day, they come out with a total exploit, your machine can be taken over totally. I dare anybody to do that once a month on the Windows machine." -- Bill Gates














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