The images appear to show a revised version of the Passport, which got a lukewarm reception from both tech media and consumers.
The original BlackBerry Passport was a square handset which featured the standard keyboard found on BlackBerry phones. Images leaked to N4BB show a device which will purportedly be known as the BlackBerry Oslo.
Redesigned BlackBerry Passport contains similar hardware to predecessor
Assuming that the images are trustworthy, the new device will be slightly more compact and have softer design features such as rounded edges. The N4BB report goes on to claim that the new device will be made of a combination of steel and silver plastic, as well as having a textured rubberized back.
Technical specifications are said to be very similar to the original Passport, including a 2.2GHz MSM8974 Snapdragon processor, 13 megapixel camera, 3 GB RAM, and 3450 mAh battery, while it is also expected to run the final build of OS 10.3.2.
Although the new design goes some way to improving the look and feel of the handset, BlackBerry has done little to address the concerns of users who complained about features such as the keyboard, which many say cannot be used with just one hand. Analysts have raised concerns that the design update will not lead to stronger sales for the brand.
Driving sales a priority for CEO Chen
BlackBerry CEO John Chen has set ambitious sales targets for the company, but it may need to do more than implement some subtle design changes if it is to turns its fortunes around.
By no means is the Oslo intended to be a Passport 2. Commentators have speculated that the device may instead be aimed at regions where the PassPort is harder to find, including Asia-Pacific. Such a move suggests that BlackBerry believes that there is still a lot of untapped demand for the Passport.
Concerns remain that the company will struggle to regain market share in a highly competitive sector. A redesigned version of an unsuccessful handset seems unlikely to be successful in the battle against Apple and Samsung, but perhaps Chen has more radical plans for the future.