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BlackBerry finds silver lining for Passport blues

BlackBerry reveals the Silver Edition Passport -- the same strangely-shaped phone but with a shiner case, a few small tweaks and a higher $549 price tag.

The Silver Edition Passport BlackBerry

Blackberry launched the squared-off Passport back in September 2014, just days before company CEO John Chen announced that the company had received 200,000 orders. Along with the BlackBerry Classic , released a few months later, the company hoped that this was the phone to reinvigorate interest in the world of BlackBerry.

It looks like the excitement might have cooled off a little, with financial services company Morgan Stanley painting a slightly less bullish picture in March of this year. According to Morgan Stanley, just 8,000 Passport and Classic handsets have been sold this quarter, under the estimated 2-to-3 million the company needed to shift in the 2016 financial year.

But BlackBerry isn't about to roll over and show belly. The company has just announced the Silver Edition of the BlackBerry Passport. This is essentially the same phone as the original Passport, but with a retooled style.

Design and specs

Aside from the silver finish, the new edition has rounded corners, a reinforced stainless steel frame and a diamond-patterned back that offers improved grip, according to BlackBerry.

The touch-enabled keyboard has been tweaked to "improve typing," although it's not exactly clear what's different. BlackBerry is also claiming a boost when it comes to power, but it does pack in the same size 3,450mAh battery as the original.

This does make for some ever-so-slight changes to the design. The Silver Edition measures 5.17 by 3.56 by 0.36 inches (131 by 30.5 by 9.25mm). This makes it slight taller and wider than the original, but also 0.05mm thinner. At 7.23oz (205g) it's heavier too, by 0.28oz.

Other than that the internal specifications, screen size and screen resolution remain the same. You will pay a little more, however, with the Silver Edition costing $549 to the originals $499. The phone will then launch into the UK and selected parts of Europe in "the coming weeks". You'll pay £429 for a SIM-free version.

Is a silver version of the fairly well-liked, if under-purchased, Passport likely to be what the doctor ordered for BlackBerry's woes? We guess only time will tell...