Thoughts :: Blackberry Passport

Blackberry 9900

Blackberry 9900


Once Blackberry was harbringer of mobile devices. What happened now?

Many people will agree with the fact that Blackberry was once a phone which many people wanted to get. I can remember that many of my friends back in high school had Blackberries and many of them talked about how BBM was revolutionary.

However as soon as iPhone rolled out, the situation changed drastically. If you ask people, in fact anyone whether they still have a Blackberry, most of them will probably will respond in such manner: 'Does that thing still exists?'

Does that thing still exists?

Blackberry went through a hard time. As soon as iPhone rolled out, iPhone became the phone where everyone used and discussed about - basically everyone's attention was on iPhone. And one amazing thing that Apple did was they positioned themselves into consumers' heart, so permanently, that the first thing that comes up to people's mind is an iPhone when people talk about mobile devices.

On October 2014, Blackberry released a Blackberry Passport - a smartphone to compete with Apple's flagship phone, the iPhone. And as I first saw the Blackberry Passport, one thing came up to my mind straight away: 'Something big might be up'.

But it wasn't.

The Concept

The concept that Blackberry decided to integrate is it's name, 'Passport'. And that was a great move. The concept of passport instantly alarms the user the main functionality of Blackberry. At the very first glance I knew how this device should be used - a personal passport.

Blackberry Passport

Blackberry Passport


I was expecting the phone to act as my alternative to all my business related task where you could rely on Blackberry for taking notes, make memos, reminders, calendars, etc because when you think of passport, it reminds of yourself of doing professional work (mainly business related) as you have to travel alot by airplane. The kind of things that you expect to do as a business man. Taking its name literally, I also hoped that this phone might work as an actual subsitutue for a passport so that I don't have to carry the physical passport with me. Becoming the most intimate device to use for professional work. But that was not the case and I was still fine with it.

However as I explored deeper into the Blackberry Passport, things turned up not as I expected. Frankly, It was just ordinary phone, looking bit uncomfortable to use. To be brutal, I would just buy an iPhone as a consumer.

Now, what have Blackberry done wrong?

Well, I guess not 'wrong' but 'ineffective' and I personally think the problem was marketing.


What I wished Blackberry have done is to bring their marketing strategy back to its core. They made a phone with named 'Passport'. As soon as I heard that name, as a consumer, I saw the relationship of the Blackberry as a business-specialized phone. I actually think if Blackberry decides to specialize themselves to make phones for business-specialized (or even flight related etc), I think that will actually make them a big hit. A HUGE hit actually. Blackberry Passport could be something big.

The reasons for that is by doing so, it focuses the product into one thing, Business: For work, for utility, for productivity, for effectiveness. It allows the product to have a specific purpose for consumers to link the relationship of the product to Business. So when people want to find a deivce to help their office work, they can think of Blackberry straight away.

Apple has done superbly on Marketing regarding about branding - Apple implanted this concept which illustrates that Apple's product are products which are used by people who are game changers, revolutionary thinkers, innovators, people who change the world. It is considered a tool that helps people who changes the world. This brings this concept of when you use the device, it makes you feel special, as if you are one of the characters who changes the world.


I think Blackberry Passport has huge potential. But what I feel unfortunate is that they are not communicating with the consumers properly - making consumers unsure of when and how to use this device will definitely draw their attention away from purchases. I hope Blackberry starts to focus on it's core, including their philosophy of making phones. 'Why are they making phones? What are their reasons for their business?' And when Blackberry starts to tell their story to the world that whatever they are focusing on, whether it is a business related or not, is something that only they are good at. Then I think the consumers will at least have a chance to consider whether this phone is worth spending for.