Belfast Telegraph

Can BlackBerry ring the changes with its latest smartphone the Passport?

By Margaret Canning

Embattled telecommunications firm Research in Motion (RIM) has launched a new smartphone as it tries for a comeback.

The company has been trailing behind the success of iPhone, Samsung and other smartphones, in a classic case of the innovator becoming the also-ran.

Chief executive John Chen unveiled a large-screen, square-sized phone called the Passport to a Toronto audience.

With a 4.5in screen, it's aimed at the corporate customer and is – you have guessed it – about the size of a passport. London and Dubai also hosted launch events, which attempted to generate the same excitement, buzz and pageantry that surrounds Apple launches.

But unlike Apple's recent big day and subsequent free iTunes release of a U2 album, there was no ageing Irish rock band to lend star quality to the event.

Indeed, former BlackBerry global creative director, the singer Alicia Keys, ended her relationship with the business at the beginning of this year.

Like many consumers, she kept falling in and out of love with BlackBerry.

The business lost relevance as a dominant smartphone company following the launch of Apple's iPhone and the introduction of a raft of Google-powered Android devices.

Mr Chen said he expected to release a more popular phone called the Classic later this year.

But whether RIM can ever restore its pre-eminence in the world of smartphones remains to be seen. Getting back on top will require huge reserves of creativity, innovation and money.

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