BlackBerry Launches New Passport, Amid iPhone 8.0.1 iOS Withdrawl and New iPhone 6 Bending Problems

BlackBerry has officially launched its Passport phone. After being unveiled at an event in June, chief executive John Chen has been teasing the square phone’s features ever since. And at a launch event earlier today, BlackBerry revealed that the 4.5-inch device is now available in the UK, US, France, Germany, and Canada – and will run Android apps from the Amazon Appstore.

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The BlackBerry Passport will also be available through Amazon.com, and the retailer will be announcing its pricing ‘soon’.  As we set out to design BlackBerry Passport, we were guided by a simple yet challenging idea – to set aside the limitations of traditional design and to instead simply build a device that fundamentally changes the way business professionals get work done on their smartphone,’ said Mr Chen. The BlackBerry Passport was created to drive productivity and to break through the sea of rectangular-screen, all-touch devices.’

In addition to the large, 1440×1440 pixel square screen, the device has a 3450 mAH battery which BlackBerry claims will last up to 30 hours.  It has a quad-core 2.2 GHZ Processor, 3GB RAM as well as a 13MP rear camera, and 32GB memory. The touchscreen is accompanied by a physical keyboard, and the Passport runs BlackBerry 10 OS 10.3.  This software features BlackBerry Blend, which lets users BlackBerry content to other devices including PCs and Android phones, as well as the Amazon Appstore. This means that Android apps will run on the device, but only those available from the Amazon store, installed on the BlackBerry device.

The device will be available in more than 30 countries around the world, including the Middle East, France, India, Singapore, Austria, Germany, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Netherlands, South Africa, Australia, Vietnam, Belgium, Italy, Switzerland, Mexico, Venezuela, Philippines, Russia, Slovakia, Spain, Romania, and Colombia.

While Ben Wood, Chief of Research, CCS Insight added: ‘This is definitely a marmite product – based on our experience so far people either love the design or are a little perplexed by the size and shape. ‘One thing is certain – it’s a distinctive product that will definitely stand out from the monotonous stream of similar looking touchscreen smartphones that currently characterize the market. ‘After 18 months of disruption the strategy that new CEO John Chen has laid out seems to be taking hold. The business has stabilised and the Passport device is a critical milestone in efforts to rebuild the business.’

Apple Issues – iOS 8.0.1

Apple pulled its iOS 8.0.1 update shortly after releasing it following reports that it affected users’ cellular service and access to the Touch ID fingerprint scanner. On Wednesday, Apple introduced the update as a remedy for a snag with HealthKit apps and other maladies that afflicted the first version of the company’s new mobile operating system software for iPhones and iPads.

But reports have surfaced that the update introduced other problems. On Twitter some of the folks who’ve installed the update say that they lost cellular service or that the Touch ID fingerprint scanner was no longer working.

“We are actively investigating these reports and will provide information as quickly as we can,” said Apple in a statement. “In the meantime, we have pulled back the iOS 8.0.1 update.”

Apple Issues – Bending Phones

It’s been on shelves for a matter of days, but some iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus users are complaining of a major design flaw that sees the smartphone body bend under pressure.

Photos have begun appearing online showing distinctly bent aluminium devices, with complaints that the new iterations of the iPhone, which feature a thinner and larger aluminium body, are unable to stand up to the wear and tear of staying in a pocket.

Apple users have taken to the MacRumors forum to complain about the design flaw, which seems to affect the device at the top end near the volume buttons. One user posted an image of a bent iPhone 6 Plus, complaining that the device warped after roughly 18 hours in his pocket.

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