LAS VEGAS -- BlackBerry's unique Passport smartphone gets a minor facelift for AT&T.
BlackBerry and AT&T on Wednesday confirmed the pricing for the BlackBerry Passport, which gets rounded edges, and the Bold-like BlackBerry Classic. The announcement was made at a BlackBerry-hosted event at the Consumer Electronics Show here.
The BlackBerry Passport, an AT&T exclusive, will sell for $200 under a two-year contract, $21.67 under its "Next 24" monthly payment program, $27.03 under its Next 18 plan or $32.50 under its Next 12 plan. The smartphone costs $650 without a contract.
The more traditional Classic will cost $50 with a two-year contract, $14 a month under Next 24, $17.50 under Next 18 or $21 under Next 12. Without a contract, the phone costs $420.
The two smartphones are critical to keeping embattled BlackBerry in the mobile game. Though the company, which has fallen from its perch atop the market over the past five years, has gradually shifted its focus toward business-class software and service, it still needs the smartphones to serve as the lynchpin and driver of those new sources of revenue.
The Passport was redesigned with more rounded edges exclusively for AT&T. Aside from that cosmetic change, the device is essentially the same. With its shorter row of keys and larger, wider display, it may be too much of a leap for customers, and serves more as an example that BlackBerry can still try different things. The phone was unveiled in September and drew, but the company went quiet over the last few months.
Old BlackBerry fans will likely gravitate toward the Classic, which has a familiar design and shape, but with BlackBerry's latest operating system.
AT&T said it would announce the availability of the Passport in the coming weeks and said the Classic would come in the "near future." Verizon Wireless has also said it would carry the Classic, but it hasn't provided any detail.