NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- You have to give BlackBerry (BBRY) credit. The one-time smartphone industry leader's long-term decline at the hands of Apple (AAPL) iPhones and Google (GOOG) Android-based devices would probably have demolished most lesser companies. But, BlackBerry keeps working to get back into the smartphone game by trying new ideas - like the new, very square BlackBerry Passport smartphone.
The Passport is really more square in overall shape than any other handset we've ever seen. It's the touchscreen that's really the square part (4.5 by 4.5 inches for a 1:1 aspect ratio) which makes the phone look and feel more boxy than rectangular. The Passport name comes from the fact that the phone is about the same size as an International travel passport, as it measures 5 x 4 x 0.36 inches.
The screen is square for a reason -- BlackBerry says it's designed to give users a "wider vision that unleashes your capabilities," and is designed for a better experience with web browsing, reading, apps, editing and maps. The idea is to provide more information on the screen that can be read with a minimum of scrolling. Dealing with word processing documents as well as spreadsheets and mobile presentations come to mind as benefiting from such a screen.
That screen looks pretty terrific in real life, measuring 1440 by 1440 pixels for a pixel density of 443 and is capable of displaying full HD video - although because it's square in shape HD videos will be framed blank spaces on top and bottom. The responsive touchscreen is protected by Corning (GLW) Gorilla Glass 3.