BlackBerry Passport Sells Out

Over 200,000 pre-orders have been placed for BlackBerry’s new square phone

Troubled handset manufacturer BlackBerry has announced that pre-orders of its new Passport smartphone have surpassed expectations, selling out in some markets.

Since the announcement of the device at events in Toronto, London and Dubai last week, over 200,000 of the devices have been ordered via Amazon and BlackBerry’s official shop.

On a call announcing the company’s Q2 2015 earnings, BlackBerry CEO John Chen said that the device, set to cost around £529 SIM-free in the UK, had sold out within 6 hours on Blackberry’s website and within 10 hours on Amazon, where it had moved to the number one spot on the retailer’s unlocked device list.

The device is set to start shipping across the world on October 6.

john chen blackberry leadSquare

The square-shaped Passport raised eyebrows upon its announcement due to its unconventional square design and dual keyboard capabilities, allowing touchscreen typing alongside BlackBerry’s trademark physical QWERTY interface.

However it does pack some impressive hardware, being powered by a quad-core 2.2GHz Snapdragon 801 processor and 3GB of RAM and featuring a full HD 1440 x 1440 resolution 4.5in screen. The Passport also includes  a 13MP rear camera and the latest version of BlackBerry’s operating system, BB10.3.

On the call, Chen announced encouraging results for the Canadian manufacturer, which had been dogged by several recent periods of uncertainty.

The company reported a much smaller loss for the last quarter than anticipated, losing $207m in the previous quarter compared with a $950m loss year-on-year. However the company’s sales were lower than expected, recording just $916m in revenues, short of the $950m predicted by analysts.

Last month, a memo from Chen announced that the company had finally finished restructuring after three years of employee layoffs, and was now set to relaunch with special focus on its management, messaging and security services, QNX-embedded systems and high-end smartphones for businesses.

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