So I finally figured out a good analogy for the Blackberry Passport.
So first, I do applaud Blackberry for experimenting in unconventional form factors. Secondly, I applaud Blackberry for returning to its QWERTY roots. But the Passport is a dud. And I couldn't quite put my head to why, I kinda know why - its a bizarre technical solution which actually deliberately avoids a benefit to the user. And finally now I have the analogy to explain it. Landau tops of US cars (in recent years, not around WW2). So what is a Landau top? Its a vinyl top added to a normal steel roof car, with the hardware on the outside that appears to show hinges that will let the vinyl top be opened like a convertible. But they are only decoration, the roof does not open. Obviously it adds also a layer of useless roofing decoration (And cost) A fake convertible. Why on earth would anyone pay to get that? Add the vulnerability of vinyl to a steel roof, and the added wind resistance of the ridiculous decorative 'hinges' on the sides that suggest the top can be rolled down. Plus the vinyl roof now requires specialized care different from the other parts of the car that normally you'd just wax the steel roof with the same wax as the rest of the car...
Designed to NOT do what we want. Bizarre but true, Landau tops were quite popular on many cars in the USA. So that is what I think the 4.5 inch square touch-screen is on the Blackberry Passport. So, you have a 4.5 inch screen. That sounds big. Especially if you consider that the base model IPhone 6 now is 4.7 inches and the older iPhone 5 models were only 4 inches in size.
Ok. Thats the math of the measurements. But screen size is measured (like TVs like PC screens) diagonically, from corner to furthest corner. Because the Passport screen is square, there is no benefit from turning the phone onto its side. It is only 3.2 inches WIDE. And its 3.2 inches TALL. So you never get to see any images or videos wider than 3.2 inches wide. Now compare to the iPhone 6, it is 4 inches wide in landscape mode. FAR bigger pictures and YouTube videos (without the huge black bars on the top and bottom of the screen. In fact, if you go back to the ORIGINAL iPhone from 2007 with a 3.5 inch screen, the movies and photographs in landscape mode are essentially the same size as on this giant Blackberry Passport.
So Blackberry have managed to discover the worst possible screen form-factor for a mobile phone to make it as cumbersome as possible and yet give us the tiniest image conceivable - for pictures and videos. Now, on websites its not that bad but even then, holding an old iPhone 5 side-ways gets you a far wider website page view than on the Passport but the Passport partially compensates that you don't need to scroll down as many times. As the Passport doesn't eliminate scrolling, this is a very modest gain for rather huge pain.
And thats before we talk pain in the pocket. SRSLY? Are you aware that the Blackberry Passport is 3.6 inches (9.2 cm) wide ! the phone! gosh. Its 20% WIDER than the massive iPhone 6 Plus !!! who has pockets this massive? That is only slightly less than the narrowest 7 inch tablets! Yes Viewsonic for example has a 7 inch tablet that is 4.3 inches wide.
So you have to have gargantuan pockets and what do you get for that? A screen who is so nasty, videos and photographs on it are as tiny as looking at a 2007 original iPhone. This is the Landau top, with all the problems of vinyl roof but none of the benefits of a fold-down roof.
A square screen might make sense on some fixed instruments (say in figther jets where you don't want the sceen to behave differently when the airplane is flying upside down) but on a smartphone that we can easily twist orientation on our hand, the square shape is the worst possible shape, giving no conceivable benefit from turning the phone! Sorry Blackberry. I love you guys and you brought one of my heroes, greatest hockey player of all time Wayne Gretzky even to the launch but sorry, the Passport wont' bring the gold back to Canada. We need something else.
PS GIVE US THE REAL CONVERTIBLE
So on that Landau top analogy, how about a real convertible? Not convertible top car, a convertible form-factor smartphone. Blackberry, you know your loyal users demand a phsyical keyboard. Great. But that large screen trumps anything else. So why not give us both. The size we can't live with is width. We can't fit this wide devices in our pockets! Seriously! There have been phones that were less tall than this Blackbery Passport is wide! Taller is also starting to be a problem. But thickness? We can put up with a little bit more of thickness, say 5 mm more for example, if that goes to 'a good cause' like a great camera or a long-lasting battery or.... a hidden real physical QWERTY keyboard.
Blackberry, swallow up your pride, admit that Nokia had a good idea in that slider/folder idea they had. That is how you do the convertible phone. That is how you do a huge touch-screen WHILE fitting also a physical QWERTY keyboard. You make a slider and hide the QWERTY under the screen. And then do as Nokia did with the E7, offer us the tilt to the screen, that when it is on the table, it tilts towards us for watching videos etc. This superphone from 2011:
Yes thats the Nokia E7 the last of the Communciator line (even though Nokia didn't call this device anymore a Communicator). It had a 4 inch touch screen when the contemporary iPhone only had 3.5 inches and it had the best QWERTY keyboard any phone had ever produced. It was a massive hit selling superphone in China when it launched in January 2011 but obviously it died fast in February when Stephen Elop did his Elop Effect nonsense setting his platforms on fire with his idiotic memo etc. This phone factor, Blackberry, this is how you get both the best QWERTY keyboard AND a real wide massive touch screen onto one device. Do this as your next flagship and you can safely sell for 800 dollars today if the top iPhone costs 750. And i promise there will be some people standing in lines even to get that Blacberry.