BlackBerry launched the Passport smartphone on Wednesday squarely aimed at business users in a move that many analysts see as a make-or-break product for the once-dominant technology company.
The BlackBerry Passport has a 4.5 inch square screen with a touch-enabled QWERTY keyboard, harking back to the design that proved popular with consumers, when the Canadian firm dominated the smartphone market. It will retail at $599.
CEO John Chen said in a press release that BlackBerry wanted to build a device that "fundamentally changes the way business professionals get work done on their smartphone", highlighting the company's stake in the business market and turn away from consumers.
The launch comes just two days before BlackBerry announces its second-quarter earnings in a sign that management is becoming increasingly confident about results and reception of the device.
The Passport is the first major device launch since the failed BlackBerry 10 phones in 2013 and will be crucial for the company, analysts said – especially since the Ontario-based firm has struggled with profitability over the past few years.
"It's an absolutely critical moment in BlackBerry's history," Windsor Holden, head of forecasting and consultancy at Juniper Research, told CNBC by phone.