Can BlackBerry's 'most innovative' new smartphone save it?

Blackberry: Hip to be Square?
Blackberry: Hip to be Square?


    Blackberry: Hip to be Square?


Blackberry: Hip to be Square? 02:22

Story highlights

  • BlackBerry will release its second-quarter results Friday
  • The Canadian company has struggled to compete in the smartphone market
  • It has unveiled its Passport smartphone in its attempt to woo back customers
BlackBerry is pitching its new Passport smartphone as one of the "most innovative" devices it has created, as it seeks to woo back business customers.
The smartphone was released prior to the company's latest results, which showed sales slumped 40% in its most recent quarter. However, losses were less than Wall Street expected and shares rose slightly.
Marty Beard, BlackBerry's chief operating officer, told CNN the smartphone's 4.5-inch square screen was "optimal for reading complex documents, looking at images, looking at, for example, a PowerPoint." He added, "it's a beautiful screen that allows you, again, to be very productive."
Blackberry's share price slumped around 95% between 2008 and 2012 and has remained relatively flat since then. The Passport, key to turnaround plans, will cost $599 and targets BlackBerry's core business customers.
According to Beard, BlackBerry can compete with high-fliers like Apple through its focus on users that need to be "highly productive and very effective and are concerned about security and just getting a lot done securely."
Beard also points to the smartphone's keyboard, a feature BlackBerry has long used to differentiate itself from the competition.
The Passport has a physical and virtual keyboard, which he said "combined the best of both worlds and created this incredible keyboard which allows you to move very quickly, be very productive and get around content really easily."
However, Michael Garwood of Mobile News said the device would take "a little bit of getting used to ... it is a very, very square screen."