A $550 trade-in is unlikely to lure iPhone users to Passport, but BlackBerry's trying anyway


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In its latest desperation move, Blackberry says it will pay up to $550 to anyone who trades an iPhone for a Blackberry Passport.

The deal kicks off on December 1, but it’s not worth waiting for even if you are the rare bird who’s looking to defect from Apple. Blackberry actually has a better deal going on right now.

When the trade-in program begins next month, Blackberry will offer anywhere from $90 to $400 for the iPhone depending on the model, along with a flat $150 for all models, paid as a Visa gift card. The normal price of a Blackberry Passport is $700 off-contract, so it’ll cost another $150 at least to make the switch.

But right now, Blackberry is offering a $200 discount on the Passport. That deal is good until November 30—right before the trade-in promotion begins. Presumably the price will return to $700 off-contract after that.

If you were to buy a Blackberry Passport at the discounted $500 price this week, you could trade your phone to a buyback service such as Gazelle, which is currently paying $430 for an unlocked iPhone 6. That means you’d pay only $70 for the Passport, compared to $150 under the trade-in program. The disparity isn’t quite as high when trading in older iPhones, but it's still better than waiting for next week’s trade-in program. And instead of making you deal with a pre-paid Visa card, Gazelle offers to pay by check or Paypal.

The story behind the story: This probably a moot point for most people, given the ultra-wide Passport’s niche focus and mixed reviews. Still, the program underscores how trade-in deals from device makers can be misleading. Blackberry may be desperate for sales—after all, it’s deeply discounting Passport prices one way or another—but it’s not doing anything unprecedented with its trade-up program.

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