Leaders don’t do different things; they do things differently! That’s exactly what happened when Blackberry Passport was launched in October 2014. It provided a bold move in every possible aspect of design, concept, production, and marketing. Honestly, I had the previous year’s flagship by Lenovo (Vibe X3) and had been eager to buy Blackberry Passport ever since Silver edition was launched. I always felt that the price was on the higher side, so I avoided it until I found a major price drop this year and thus purchased a BB Passport. Upon the writing of this blog, I had been using it for over a month and I wanted to share my experience and review of the Blackberry Passport Silver Edition
Why Blackberry Passport in the first Place
I never understood the iPhone; I always respected the design (I know all the hardware guys copy something or other from iPh-one), but most of the time I have seen people buying this be-cause of its features and premium feel. I don’t know if it’s inten-tionally priced higher than other phones, too. Over the last few years, Apple has made the entire mobile world “vertical.” An-droid also followed similar steps and ensured that all screens were made vertical and flat. Every leading brand today is in the same race as they try to be more vertical and heavier on specs. Thanks to our friends in China, people who use ordinary 1 GB RAM for actual utilization are now running behind 4 GBs, 5 GBs, and more.
Blackberry Passport had the courage to do something totally dif-ferent. They brought back the square screens to see the world differently (referring to my quote at the start of this blog). The launch of the Passport Silver edition in August 2015, backed by the power of their flagship trackpads into the whole new physi-cal qwerty keyboard, which was combined with the best possi-ble R&D to bring out best of Blackberry in Passport, made it even bigger.
What Blackberry Passport Can Do For You
It can do everything that an iOS or Android OS can do as well. The latest OS build on Blackberry Passport is BB 10.3 OS and 10.3.3.1435 specifically. Of course, it comes with the latest hardware specs. Read more
You see the world differently
For a wider world, try using a standard vertical smartphone and then this device for a week. You will feel the difference.
You need to scroll less (right and left).
No more endless scrolling.
To all you businesspeople out there, it’s almost like carrying a laptop in your pocket, as you can edit your documents on the go.
Longer Battery Life
Touch-enabled Physical Keyboard
The keyboard is the touch screen itself, so it is only here that you scroll up or down without touching the screen. Delete text by swiping left on your keyboard, which will delete multiple words or sentences in one go—something iPhones can’t do.
The front is merely 2 MP but gets the job done. The back cam-era is not that great in low light, but in the light this 13 MP cam-era performs better than 21 MP of Lenovo. Also, don’t forget, it takes square images, meaning for your DPs on WhatsApp (round ones), profiles on Twitter, and Facebook profile pics (square boxed ones), it will do the greatest job without any cropping
Source: Find out more about Blackberry features
Apps that run on Blackberry Passport in 2017
In this section, I would like to share how to make all the im-portant apps work on your BB Passport in 2017.
Cobalt is the well-known guy who has made most of the cracks possible; Blackberry OS supports installing Android apps and apps from Google Play Store. It is fundamental to have Black-berry World, Amazon App Store, and Google Play Store in-stalled on your device. The first two are pre-installed by default. While the third one needs a crack, please find the detailed guide about installing Google Play Store by Cobalt here.
Once you are all set with Google Play Store, a lot of apps will require Google Play Services. Find out more about steps to in-stall Google Play Services here and Cobalt’s official file share here.
Once you have Google Play Services enabled, you should find the “Google Plus Whitelist” on your smartphone. Each time you try installing a new app from Google Play Store, click on the whitelist and add in Google Plus whitelist. This will allow the app to run smoothly on your BB device. If this doesn’t work, you will need to remove the Google Play Services requirement itself us-ing the awesome patcher provider by Cobalt. This is the last file in the screenshot below:
Step 1: Download the desired app from Google Play Store. This is required on your laptop or desktop, so search for your app, copy the URL, then go to evozi. Paste the URL in the address box, click “click to download….. now.” That’s all you have to do to get your APK file directly from Google Play Store.
Step 2: Go to the Patcher app on your system, downloaded from Cobalt file share link shared above. Locate the app APK you downloaded in step 1 above and “Analyze APK” followed by “Patch”. Basically, it removes any need for Google play services in the backend. You can find your new APK files in PS_Patcher folder>Output
Alternatively, here are some relevant videos in case you face any further difficulties:
Coming back to the important apps that run smoothly on BB10 or Blackberry Passport “Silver Edition”
1) WhatsApp on BB 10 Devices
Avoid downloading the Blackberry world’s version, as you will receive annoying messages stating that “Support ends in June 2017.” WhatsApp believes they will move on to its latest devic-es, which I disagree with. All you need to do is download APK file for WhatsApp from Google Play Store as given in the steps above. Install WAA Fixer as per the steps in this video here by Ole.
2) Twitter & LinkedIn
Just download directly from Play Store. It works smoothly for me, but if problems persist, please patch using the PS_Patcher by Cobalt and you will be all set.
Any Facebook lite version from Play Store will work. The latest Android version won’t work at all. I already tried patching and all alternative methods. F10 available on Blackberry world is not that great, as you can’t “check in” and there are multiple such limitations with this app by Nemory. I would recommend using this APK file and avoid any update notifications.
4) Google Maps
This should work fine once you perform “Google Plus Whitelist,” as mentioned above. The good news is that Blackberry World has the readymade substitute of Google Maps (map by Mathieu). Download here.
Patching works sometimes but not always. “Video for YouTube” by Freeman Apps on Amazon App Store worked best for me. Download here
6) Google Drive
Works smoothly with patching.
I just haven’t been able to do it. I am using “Blue mail” from Play Store, which gets the job done. Paytm on Blackberry Device – For users in India, download from Play Store and patch with Cobalt’s version given above; it works like a charm.
Color notes from Play Store work best for me while moving from Android to BB. Simply log in using Gmail ID and password, and it will back up everything.
The Battery drain Issues with Blackberry Passport
This is going to be the major issue when you update your device to 10.3 OS for the first time. In fact, the first few days were frus-trating, as the battery hardly lasted for 3 to 4 hours on full charge. Charging itself took 4 to 5 hours to reach 100%. Basi-cally, once you update blackberry OS, all the files and folders start aligning in your root drive. This initially happened for about 4 to 5 days for me. It’s all working fine now. A lot of people do complain about this, but these problems just vanish with some time, so sit back and relax. Your decision to buy this device is not wrong.
It’s a wonderful out-of-the-box phone, probably too futuristic and secure for this time period. Blackberry has made a bold move doing this, as everyone is busy running behind megapixels and battery sizes and whatnot. I also know they were trying to come up with a complete Android version of Blackberry Passport, which was eventually dropped last year. People who have this device are happy, including me. If you need productivity, like a laptop device in your pocket, that is low on SAR value, radia-tion-safe, and has a different, wider experience (minus some compromises on ease of app installation and painful turna-rounds), Blackberry Passport is for you!
For those of you who still hate Blackberry Passport, here is an interesting video I loved:
And the above video is incomplete without the following:
What do you think? let me know in comments section below.
Note: Sad but true, Blackberry smartphones are dead.