BlackBerry Adds Amazon Appstore and Reveals ‘Passport’ Phone

Source: Getty Images

Source: Getty Images

Yesterday, BlackBerry (NASDAQ:BBRY) announced its solution to the dearth of apps in the BlackBerry App World: Amazon‘s (NASDAQ:AMZN) Android Appstore will bring thousands of apps to BlackBerry 10 phones this fall. And today, BlackBerry CEO John Chen revealed the Passport, the company’s next smartphone.

GigaOM reports that Chen revealed the Passport during the company’s quarterly earnings call, which showed that 1.6 million handsets were sold, versus 1.3 million in the previous quarter. The company’s adjusted gross margins also rose from 43 percent to 48 percent. The Passport is reportedly the previously-leaked “Windermere” device, aptly named the Passport given its width. The bottom of the device features a keyboard, which has remained a draw for BlackBerry devotees. The phone will officially launch at a London event in September.

BlackBerry’s partnership with Amazon addresses one of consumers’ major objections to the BlackBerry platform — that there aren’t enough apps available for the company’s phones. The partnership gives BlackBerry a fast solution to the problem, and also allows the company to focus its development team on software, security features, and productivity tools that appeal to the corporate and federal market the company focuses on as it tries to regain market share.

“You want apps? We’ve got apps!” states a post on BlackBerry’s blog, announcing that the licensing agreement will bring about 200,000 apps to its platform – The Wall Street Journal puts the number at 240,000 — with the launch of the BlackBerry 10.3 operating system later this year.