2 Stories from Last Week: BlackBerry Passport Exclusive and Evernote CEO Interview

Just briefly, two stories I wanted to point out from last week.

If you don’t follow me on Twitter, you might have missed ‘em.

First, in a Wall Street Journal exclusive, I broke the news Monday that BlackBerry’s new square-shaped smartphone, the Passport, will cost $599:

BlackBerry Ltd. plans to sell its new square-screen smartphone at a lower price than rival products, as the company attempts to regain some of the ground it has lost in the global market.

BlackBerry Chief Executive John Chen said in an interview Monday that its Passport smartphone, which will go on sale starting Wednesday, will cost $599 in the U.S. without subsidies. The phone will be priced differently in some other countries based on taxes and tariffs, he noted.

Mr. Chen said that compared with similar smartphones produced by competitors, the Passport should cost in the $700 range. “But I figure that to try to get the market interested, we’re going to start a little lower than that.”

Second, on Wednesday, a colleague and I interviewed Evernote Chief Executive Phil Libin, who talked about a possible IPO and Evernote as an acquisition target:

Note-taking app Evernote Corp. has been approached in the past about a potential acquisition but prefers not to sell itself, and is considering an initial public offering in the next few years, its chief executive said.

“We’ve been approached by lots of companies as an acquisition target and I would never rule anything out, ” Phil Libin told The Wall Street Journal in an interview Wednesday.

He declined to specify the companies but called them “the usual suspects.” “The last thing we’re looking at is to have an exit,” he said. In February, Mr. Libin said a post on the anonymous messaging service Secret alleging that Evernote was about to be purchased was baseless.

Redwood City, Calif.-based Evernote has received several rounds of funding worth more than $250 million from the likes of venture-capital firms Sequoia Capital and Morgenthaler Ventures. Launched in 2008, the company allows users to store and sync text and other content across devices. It recently passed the 100 million-user mark, Mr. Libin said.

How I’ve helped with our Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 coverage

Yesterday marked three weeks since Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 went missing.

For the latest news, keep an eye on our streaming MH370 updates.

Meanwhile, I spent some in time Kuala Lumpur and elsewhere helping with our coverage, and wanted to share a few of the stories I worked on.

First, I helped out with an in-depth narrative piece telling the stories of some of the people on board on the flight.

The story begins:

As night fell last Friday in Kuala Lumpur, businessman Philip Wood hurried to gather his bags for a trip to Beijing. He had confused the dates, but his girlfriend in China texted him to make sure he got on the plane.

A group of Chinese artists capped off their exhibition at a local cultural center in Malaysia’s capital city with a day of sightseeing and a banquet lunch of duck soup, fried shrimp and pork in brown sauce.

Norli Akmar Hamid finished packing for her long-overdue honeymoon and posted a photograph on Facebook of her cat trying to sneak into her suitcase. The cat chewed the lining near the administrative assistant’s neatly folded blue T-shirt and beige towel.

All of them boarded Malaysia Airlines 3786.KU -2.08% Flight 370 late Friday night and flew away shortly after midnight in the tropical night sky toward Beijing. Soon after, the widebody Boeing 777 jet carrying 239 people vanished from radar screens.

The flight manifest included Americans, Australians, Indians and passengers from a host of other countries. There were more than 150 Chinese on board, many of them tourists who belong to China’s burgeoning middle class. A country between Thailand and Singapore, Malaysia has emerged in recent years as a major transit hub and tourist destination for globe-trotting travelers.

Flight 370 took off carrying 239 life stories, each filled with moments big and small, ordinary lives soon to be swept up in a tragic mystery. Now, as the hopes for a miracle fade by the day, memory transforms the random and routine into the meaningful and momentous.

I encourage you to read the whole thing.

Separately, I wrote a short piece on pilots and aviation buffs sharing their musings on Flight 370 via blogs, Facebook, Tweets, and more.

I also helped with a story about chaotic scenes as Chinese relatives of missing passengers were separated from the media by security personnel.

In the video embedded at the top of this post and on YouTube here, I discussed the scene and some video I shot.

And finally, in the video embedded above and on YouTube here, I participated in a live Google Hangout with our Southeast Asia Bureau Chief, Patrick McDowell, and aviation expert Harro Ranter to answer readers’ questions about Flight 370.

Stay tuned.

And if you don’t already, follow me on Twitter, as I’ve been posting frequently Flight 370-related updates there.

Belatedly, my story on Singapore startups

I’ve been remiss in sharing some of my recent stories here.

In case you you missed it last month, I wrote an in-depth piece on Singapore’s increasingly lively startup scene.

Click through for an interactive feature on some Singapore-specific apps and a rundown of some local tech companies — and some potential challenges to the industry.

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(The story is for WSJ subscribers only — if you don’t already, subscribe! — but here’s a non-paywalled blog post introducing the piece.)

Next up: How I’ve helped out with Malaysia Flight 370 coverage. Stay tuned…

Programming note: I’ve joined The Wall Street Journal

Friends, I’m delighted to tell you that I’ve joined The Wall Street Journal/WSJD. (I tweeted the news a few weeks back, and wanted to share it here, as well.)

I’ll be working as Tech Reporter, Southeast Asia, based in Singapore. I’m excited to work with some of the very smartest people in the journalism world, covering important issues in this dynamic, populous region.

Posts will likely be few and far between in the immediate future, but normal programming will resume shortly.

As ever, thanks for reading.

A round-up of some of my recent Quartz stories

Some posts you might’ve missed if you don’t follow me on Twitter, where I self-promote link to my work more often:

A round-up of some of my recent Quartz stories

Just briefly, I wanted to share some stories I’ve written for Quartz of late:

Self-Promotion: My NewYorker.com Story is on the Site’s ‘Most Popular’ List

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I’m delighted that my recent NewYorker.com story, which I mentioned earlier, has made it to the site’s “most popular” list; the piece has been shared one thousand times on Facebook and has been Tweeted sixty times.

The list is visible on the right side of the home page, pictured above.