How much would someone have to pay you before you willingly swapped your phone for a BlackBerry? The Canadian handset maker is hoping the number in your head is less than £380 because that's what it's prepared to hand over for the privilege.
There are a couple of catches, though: first, you have to be North American; second, you have to buy a BlackBerry Passport.
Once a Passport is ordered on the company's website or Amazon, the purchaser has to send proof of purchase (and their iPhone to BlackBerry) and the company will send out a prepaid Visa card with $600 on it within six weeks.
Offering promotions to get people to switch phones isn't unprecedented, but this is a new, intense and frankly kind of sad level for the once-mighty purveyor of keyboarded phones. The Passport isn't a bad phone, but it's so undesirable that BlackBerry is dangling cash to get people to use it. I cannot imagine this is a good business model.
Then again, as Bobby Dylan once sang, "If you've got nothing, you've got nothing left to lose." BlackBerry is at introspective-yet-confrontational folk rock levels of "fuck it" right now.
At this point, BlackBerry can't revive itself by making a solid but unfortunately and inescapably square-shaped smartphone and hoping people will like it again. It needs to do something far more drastic. At least the company is aware it needs to do something splashy. [CBC]