BlackBerry believes that square smartphones are the future

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While BlackBerry’s squat Passport smartphone probably won’t win any beauty pageants, BlackBerry is pretty confident you’ll choose it over something from Apple and Samsung. And it has a big reason why. In a post on BlackBerry’s website, the company argues the merits of the Passport’s design, saying “it’s hip to be square.” Don’t shoot the messenger; I’m just passing BlackBerry’s message on to you: the Galaxy S5, iPhone 5s and HTC One users of the world. BlackBerry says the main reason the Passport is so short and stout is because it’s the optimum way to read content. Using discussions around “academic typology,” the company says the Passport is perfect for reading e-books, viewing documents and browsing the Web. “No more worrying about portrait or landscape modes,” BlackBerry’s Matt Young shouts. “The Passport is like the IMAX of productivity, and you don’t have to sacrifice screen real estate, vertically or horizontally.”

Taller than most smartphones and wider than many phablets, BlackBerry has gone out on a limb with the dimensions of its forthcoming Passport device. If you’ve been wondering why you’d need a square device, BlackBerry has the answer: spreadsheets. Some BlackBerry fans are already sold on the concept of a 4.5-inch square display phone, but when news broke last month of BlackBerry’s plan to release the category-defying Passport device, many had trouble fathoming how its unique form factor would appeal to the smartphone buying masses. Blackberry expects to launch its business-class phablet this September at an event in London. The Passport will come with a physical QWERTY keyboard that stretches fully across the bottom of the 1440×1440 resolution display. Little else is known about its specs, but in a blog post yesterday BlackBerry claimed it would offer superior handling of spreadsheets compared with the iPhone 5S and Samsung Galaxy S5. According to BlackBerry, the smartphone world has been enslaved by the rectangle for too long, which may be “limiting innovations”. BlackBerry argues that the Passport’s girth will deliver a better viewing experience, in part because it can display 60 characters per line — much closer to the 66 characters typically seen in a book, compared to the 40 or so on rectangular devices.

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