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BlackBerry's Latest Passport: Square Phone

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In its efforts to revive a deteriorating handset business, Canadian handset maker, BlackBerry Limited unveiled a phone this week called “Passport.” Flaunting a square shape, which is a welcome detour from the usual rectangular phones, the device will hit the market in September this year.

The BlackBerry Passport has a 4.5 inch square display with full HD support. Though the device will offer the conventional screen space like other 5-inch models, it will allow improved image viewing owing to a larger screen. Suited for reading e-books and other documents, this smartphone will display 60 characters in a single line instead of the traditional 40 characters.

BlackBerry was once a leader in the smartphone industry. However, over the last few years, the company’s handset business has deteriorated drastically due to stiff competition from Apple Inc.’s (AAPL - Free Report) iPhone and Google Inc.’s Android-based devices. We believe that the uniquely shaped BlackBerry Passport may reinvigorate the company’s smartphone sales, helping the segment to return to profitability.

Recently, the company reported its first-quarter fiscal 2015 financial numbers wherein both the top and the bottom line surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate. Adjusted net loss per share of 11 cents was significantly lower than the Zacks Consensus Estimate of a loss of 27 cents.

Total revenue in the reported quarter stood at $966 million against $3,071 million in the year-ago quarter. However, the top-line comfortably outpaced the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $954 million.

Last month, BlackBerry struck a licensing deal with Inc. (AMZN - Free Report) to bring the Amazon Appstore to its customers on the BlackBerry 10.3 operating system, scheduled to be launched this fall. This deal will open roads for BlackBerry 10 device users to access more than 240,000 Android applications from the Amazon Appstore, including popular ones like Groupon, Netflix, Minecraft, Pinterest and Candy Crush Saga.

BlackBerry currently has a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

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