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BlackBerry Passport smartphone is coming this week, CEO says it’ll cost $600

Read our full BlackBerry Passport review.

BlackBerry will release the Passport smartphone this week, and it’ll cost $600 without a contract. This isn’t speculation either, the news comes from BlackBerry CEO Joh Chen, speaking to the Wall Street Journal. When will the Passport arrive? Well, BlackBerry is holding a global event on September 24, which is almost certain to mark the device’s official debut, so we can expect it soon afterwards.

The Passport has already been pre-announced, spotted on video, and its spec sheet almost entirely dissected, but there’s a chance the event will still hold a few surprises. Otherwise, what we’ll be getting is a device with a striking design – it’s almost square, with a three line, extra-wide QWERTY keyboard. The phone’s party trick is its touch sensitive keyboard, which could prove to be a neat timesaving control system.

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We also know the screen will measure 4.5-inches and have a 1440 x 1440 pixel resolution, while a quad-core Snapdragon 800 processor will provide the power to the BlackBerry 10 operating system. Photographic duties will be taken care of by a rear-mounted 13-megapixel camera, and a basic 2-megapixel front cam. The battery is expected to be a 3450mAh monster.

BlackBerry needs a hit (because cool though it is, the new P’9983 isn’t going to be a huge seller), so how does the price of the Passport stack up against the competition. It’s cheaper than an unconnected iPhone 6 or Galaxy S5, but only by $50, which may not be enough for many to consider defecting. However, when all phones manage to look so similar, the unusual Passport may win a few new fans, which will be good news for BlackBerry.

Related: Remember when phones actually looked different from each other?

If the Passport is revealed on September 24, then we should also hear where the phone will be sold, and whether it has been picked up by any networks – which may end up being key to its success in America.