Earlier this week, BlackBerry pulled a surprise rabbit out of its tattered hat: the Passport. It’s a thin, square smartphone with amazing battery life and a physical keyboard that BlackBerry purists swear by. As my colleague Harry McCracken wrote, the Passport is “a productivity-centric machine rather than a would-be iPhone slayer.”
For the first time in years, and since new CEO John Chen took over, it felt like BlackBerry had a real vision for the kind of business it wants to run.
This morning, while announcing its quarterly earnings, BlackBerry noted that preorders for the Passport ($600, unlocked) hit 200,000 in just two days, and the phone is sold out. Chen noted that within 10 hours, the Passport was sold out on both BlackBerry’s website and on Amazon.
While that’s small potatoes compared with Apple and Samsung smartphone sales, it’s a bright spot for a company that was on the brink of selling itself just last year. Analysts might not bother to include BlackBerry in smartphone market share charts anymore. But if the phone maker can muscle its way back into the hands of productive business types, BlackBerry might be able to carve itself out a nice little sustainable business.