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BLACKBERRY has launched a distinctive handset featuring a square screen and a keyboard that offers both physical keys and touch-enabled gesture controls.

It said work-focused users in particular should benefit from the Blackberry Passport’s innovations.

Sales of the company’s handsets — which are powered by its own operating system — have been in decline. Analysts said the new device should appeal to existing Blackberry owners but might struggle to win over others.

The Canadian company’s chief operating officer said the handset’s release was part of a broader turnaround strategy led by John Chen, who became chief executive in November.