How much would someone have to pay you before you willingly swapped your phone for a BlackBerry? The Canadian phonemaker is hoping that number is less than $600 for iPhone users, because that is how much they are prepared to give people to trade in their Apple phones for a shiny, square Passport.
From December 1 to February 15, iPhone users in North America can trade in their Apple phones for a BlackBerry Passport and receive a hefty payout. Anyone with an iPhone 4S or higher in working condition will get a base sum ($400 if you have the iPhone 6), plus $150 for people in the U.S. and $200 for Canadians.
Want the deal? Here's how you get it: Buy a BlackBerry Passport on the company's website or Amazon. Then send proof of purchase and your iPhone to BlackBerry, and the company will send you a prepaid Visa card with the money on it within six weeks.
And... then you're stuck with a BlackBerry Passport. Of course, if you're one of the people who gets $600 back, you could always use the money towards another phone off-contract (you have to buy the Passport though, too, so that'll cut into your promo deal).
Offering promotions to get people to switch phones isn't unprecedented, but this is a new, intense, and frankly kind of sad level for the once-mighty purveyor of keyboarded phones. The Passport isn't a bad phone, but it's so undesirable that BlackBerry is dangling cash to get people to use it. I cannot imagine this is a good business model. Then again, as Bobby Dylan once sang, "If you've got nothing, you've got nothing left to lose." BlackBerry is at introspective-yet-confrontational folk rock levels of fuck it right now.
At this point, BlackBerry can't revive itself by making a solid but unfortunately and inescapably square-shaped smartphone and hoping people will like it again. It needs to do something far more drastic. At least the company is aware it needs to do something splashy.
Personally, I'll wait to see if they get up into the $1,200 range. [CBC]