In mid-June BlackBerry confirmed the strange existence of the BlackBerry Passport. This atypical smartphone raised eyebrows because of its near-square design and devotion to a physical keyboard. Today, the company's CEO John Chen revealed the Passport would cost $600 sans subsidies.

In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Chen says that "the passport should cost $700" but hopes chopping the price—or hyping it as being a steal in a national newspaper— will make it more enticing. It's a particularly bad time to be launching such a high-priced handset, though; Apple's iPhone 6 starts at $650, and sold over 10 million units just over the weekend.

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However, Chen is betting would-be buyers will see benefit in the Passport's 4.5-inch square display, saying to WSJ that their new BlackBerry's screen size and resolution will let people be more productive on their smartphones. We'll know more about the Passport, and the credence behind Chen's claims, when the devices officially launches this Wednesday. [Wall Street Journal]

Image by Crackberry