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BlackBerry Passport gets off to promising box-office start, and doesn’t bend

Like a phoenix rising from the proverbial ashes, BlackBerry is starting to sense the distinct fresh smell of a comeback, apparently posting record first-days sales for the bizarre-looking but robust and productive Passport.

blackberry-passport

Who knew BlackBerry’s passport out of that hole they dug for themselves and seemed to go down deeper and deeper was going to be an actual “Passport”? Well, not a piece of paper, but a smartphone eerily resembling the documentation used to travel worldwide.

Apparently, the hybrid QWERTY physical keyboard/touchscreen-sporting device took advantage of some merited public backlash against Apple’s new iPhones and Samsung’s lagginess to bring the Galaxy Note 4 to end users, racking up a solid 200,000 pre-orders in around 48 hours.

That’s of course nothing compared to opening weekend iPhone 6/6 Plus numbers, but when pitted against previous BB flagship launches, they look mighty encouraging.

BlackBerry Passport out of stock

And get this, the Passport is currently listed as out of stock on ShopBlackBerry, for prospective buyers in all five countries it rolled out in thus far: US, Canada, UK, Germany and France. Furthermore, BB is gloating over booming customer demand on Amazon too, where the handheld leaped to the top of the unlocked phone ranks in hours.

That’s an “unprecedented” feat, according to the gadget’s manufacturers, although we probably shouldn’t read too much into it. After all, subsidized phones remain the hot stuff stateside, and unlocked gear is generally mucho expensive, so very few people buy that on Amazon.

Besides, we remember both the HTC First and Fire Phone ranking high in the retailer’s popularity charts back in the day, and they turned out rather miserably.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y5fY8YyfJe8

On a semi-unrelated note, I hope you remember the challenge John Chen advanced during BlackBerry Passport’s introduction event. The company’s head honcho dared reviewers and users to try to bend the boxy gizmo, so as to see it’s nowhere near as fragile as “flaccid” iPhones.

It didn’t take long for a Bloomberg journalist to bite, and the result of the impromptu bend test is embedded above in a short 22-second video. Spoiler alert: the Passport survives, but please, don’t try this at home.

Sources: BGR, BlackBerry Blogs, Bloomberg TV Facebook

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