Optus Is Now Selling The BlackBerry Passport In Australia

BlackBerry’s unconventional new smartphone — the keyboard-equipped, square-screened Passport — has just launched on the Optus network in Australia. The device is available on a range of 24-month plans and can also be purchased outright. Here’s a look at the pricing and specifications.

While it has been available to pre-order since the beginning of the month, today marks the officially availability of the BlackBerry Passport from Optus stores nationally. The quirky smartphone can be purchased on a range of Optus 24-month mobile phone plans.

You can also buy the device outright for $899. This is a pretty steep markup from the US, where is sells for a standalone price of $US599.

The BlackBerry Passport is a bit of a departure from the company’s previous business phones. Its distinguishing feature is a 4.5-inch square screen that is capable of displaying 60 characters per line for improved productivity and communication. It has a native resolution of 1440×1440 pixels (453 dpi) and is protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 3.

Nestled beneath the square display is a physical QWERTY keyboard that purports to boast faster typing and navigation thanks to the inclusion of touch-enabled gesture controls. According to BlackBerry, the Passport’s keyboard has an error rate 74 per cent lower than BlackBerry 10 virtual keyboards as found on devices like the Z10.

Core specifications include a 2.2GHZ Quad Core CPU, 3GB RAM, a 13-megapixel OIS camera. This is a significant step up from BlackBerry’s current flagships such as the Porsche Design P’9983, which came with a dual-core processor, 2GB of RAM and an eight-megapixel camera.

In terms of battery life, the Passport is packing a massive 3450 mAh battery which should be more than enough for a full day of use. If BlackBerry can be believed, the battery is capable of providing up to 30 hours of “mixed” use between charges.

The Passport runs on the new BlackBerry 10.3 and comes preloaded with BlackBerry Blend, the Siri-style BlackBerry Assistant, the BlackBerry World storefront and the new Amazon Appstore.

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