BlackBerry unveils redesigned Passport for AT&T, prices Classic

The Passport will cost $200 and the Classic $50 under contract. Still no word on when they will hit stores.

Roger Cheng Former Executive Editor / Head of News
Roger Cheng (he/him/his) was the executive editor in charge of CNET News, managing everything from daily breaking news to in-depth investigative packages. Prior to this, he was on the telecommunications beat and wrote for Dow Jones Newswires and The Wall Street Journal for nearly a decade and got his start writing and laying out pages at a local paper in Southern California. He's a devoted Trojan alum and thinks sleep is the perfect -- if unattainable -- hobby for a parent.
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Roger Cheng
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The AT&T version of the Passport has rounded edges. Roger Cheng/CNET

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.

BlackBerry renews Passport for AT&T (pictures)

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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.

Aside from the edges, the AT&T Passport is the same as the original. Roger Cheng/CNET

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 200,000 orders early on, 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.