BlackBerry Responds to Apple’s ‘Bendgate’ Problems

Canadian mobile phone maker launches Passport

BlackBerry fired the latest shot in the mobile phone wars, hoping to prove that its office-in-a-pocket is sturdier than arch rival Apple's iPhone 6.

The Canadian phone maker launched its Passport—a square phone with a screen the size of a slice of American cheese—in Toronto. It features both a touch screen and Blackberry's trademark keyboard.

BlackBerry hopes its Passport takes some of the wind out of Apple's iPhone 6 launch, which is experiencing some unique teething problems. One of them, according to several reports, is that the phones bend easily, without the help of illusionist Uri Geller. Pictures of the warped phones were published on CNET.

John Chen, who took the helm of BlackBerry after a failed bid to sell the company last year, said at a recent event, "I would challenge you guys to bend our Passport." He told Bloomberg TV that the BlackBerry is made with a steel frame, unlike Apple's aluminum body.

Even given Apple's problems with "bendgate" and the new operating system i0S 8, BlackBerry's phones will need a huge boost to challenge Apple's dominance in the mobile phone market. Apple sold 10 million of the phones when they hit stores last weekend. BlackBerry accounted for 1 percent of global shipments of mobile phones as of March, reported Bloomberg.

The BlackBerry Passport is targeted at business users, not the general consumer, which is where the company hopes to find its niche again. Remember when everyone used to carry around the BlackBerry in a hip holster?