BlackBerry share price down, releases its new Passport phone to win back business users

BlackBerry officially presented its square-screen Passport phone at events all over the world in a push by Chief Executive Officer Mr. John Chen to attract business users.

The Canadian companys new Passport phone is the first new major product launched worldwide since Mr. Chen took over the position of Chief Executive Officer in November 2013. The new handset is aimed at professional and business users, following the chief executives strategy to shift the companys focus towards attracting corporate and government customers back to its product portfolio.

As reported by Bloomberg, Chief Executive Officer Chen said in an interview right before the presentation of the companys Passport handset: “When you come out of restructuring, when you come out of financial problems, once you stabilize the company, customers and the market will only respond if you’re innovating again.”

The Passport device features a 4.5-inch square-shaped display. It was unveiled at the same time in Toronto, London and Dubai and is primarily oriented towards business clients. The large square screen is said by the company to be ideal for reading and creating content like various documents and e-mails. In addition, the customers favorite tap keyboard is also back on the menu and can function as a touch-sensitive swipe pad. The Passport phone also provides a digital assistant that can help users to organize their business appointments and manage different applications.

BlackBerrys Passport device got a warm welcome and mostly positive reviews, despite some analysts warning that the phone could turn out to be a niche product within the companys target market. One of the analysts at Gartner Inc. – Mr. bob Hfner commented for the Wall Street Journal: “The Passport is clearly unique.”

The release of the companys new smartphone also emphasizes on the chief executives efforts to win back BlackBerrys credibility with customers and investors. The devices performance will be eyed closely as the once smartphone giant now tries to return to growth in a market dominated by Samsung and Apple. According to data by International Data Corp., BlackBerry had a global market share of under 1% in the second quarter.

BlackBerry fell by 0.77% on Wednesday in Toronto to close at CAD11.61 per share, marking a one-year change of +32.23%. The company is valued at CAD6.17 billion. The stock fell by 0.47% to $10.51 on the NASDAQ. According to CNN Money, the 26 analysts offering 12-month price forecasts for BlackBerry have a median target of $9.00, with a high estimate of $12.00 and a low estimate of $5.00. The median estimate represents a -14.37% decrease from the last price of $10.51.

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