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John Chen reveals $599 price tag for Blackberry Passport

Blackberry has finally revealed the price tag to its much-hyped and oddly-shaped new smartphone, the Passport.

In an interview with The Wall Street Journal (opens in new tab), the firm's CEO John Chen revealed that the handset will launch in the US this Wednesday for $599, contract free.

Read more: BlackBerry CEO emphasises growth after slashing 60 per cent of workforce (opens in new tab)

Chen also confirmed that this figure is likely to vary from country to country, depending on sales tax and national tariffs.

The CEO claimed that the smartphone should really retail in the $700 region when compared with other devices, but the firm had opted for the lower figure in order to generate interest. Blackberry will be hoping that the Passport helps the firm to regain lost ground in the smartphone market.

For comparison purposes, Apple's new iPhone 6 is priced at $649 without contract, while Samsung's Galaxy S5 handset went on sale in the US for roughly $650 earlier this year.

During the interview, Chen also praised the Passport's wider screen, particularly suited to users who need to be productive.

"You really are seeing a more entire picture than seeing a sliver [of screen]," he said.

The Passport's square-shaped screen and high resolution enables users to view 60 characters per line, which is significantly more than the standard, rectangular smartphones offered by its competitors.

It was also confirmed that the Passport will be released in various Asian countries within a few weeks, as the firm looks to target emerging markets.

Read more: A passport to success for Blackberry? (opens in new tab)

Blackberry's latest handset will launch simultaneously in Toronto, London and Dubai this Wednesday, although Chen did not revealed UK price details.

Barclay Ballard
Barclay Ballard

Barclay has been writing about technology for a decade, starting out as a freelancer with IT Pro Portal covering everything from London’s start-up scene to comparisons of the best cloud storage services.  After that, he spent some time as the managing editor of an online outlet focusing on cloud computing, furthering his interest in virtualization, Big Data, and the Internet of Things.