As of now, we can definitely say that BlackBerry is closer than ever to revealing its new smartphone. In the on-going CES 2017, BlackBerry finally revealed the prototype for its next smartphone, codenamed ‘Mercury’. The TCL-made smartphone has been leaked often, however, the details of the device, including the official name, has not yet been announced. The company has announced ‘Mercury’ will be previewed at CES and launched at MWC next month.
To recall, BlackBerry announced in September that they would stop making smartphones, and instead completely outsource their design and production. However, CEO John Chen then later revealed that the company would be launching one last keyboard phone. With this likely to be the last BlackBerry phone ever, the stakes are pretty high. Let us have a look at what we can expect from this much-awaited smartphone.
The new BlackBerry phone would be third in a trilogy of recent releases, succeeding the previous DTEK50 and DTEK60 devices. Very recently, the TCL USA President Steve Cistull posted a video on twitter showcasing the ‘Mercury’. The video gave BlackBerry fans the first proper view of the new smartphone, showcasing a redesign that seems to take inspiration from other leading flagship devices.
The 22-second video shows off the phone’s new build, which incorporates contemporary influences along with some classic BlackBerry features. The smartphone consists of a physical QWERTY keyboard much like some of the popular past BlackBerry devices. The keyboard’s space bar has a fingerprint sensor built into it, which let’s users unlock the device faster. Furthermore, there is a touchpad built into the whole keyboard, similar to BlackBerry Passport and Priv. This also means that you can swipe along the keyboard to scroll through web pages or emails and hence, save time from switching between two inputs.
Now, coming to the screen, the smartphone displays a 4.5-inch Full HD touchscreen, making it smaller than most devices in the market – although, you’ll be able to interact with icons on the display by touch-scrolling the keys. As a change from previous BlackBerry devices, the front speaker has been relocated to the top of the device alongside the front camera, rather than the bottom. The buttons on the side of the smartphone have also gone under a makeover to give them a smooth, rounded finish. The Mercury will run on Android Nougat 7.0, making it the first BlackBerry smartphone to do so, and also meaning that it will come with many of Google’s latest software upgrades (excluding Google Assistant).
There were some rumors last year, which suggested that the new smartphone is expected to feature an octa-core Qualcomm processor, 3GB of RAM and a 3,200mAh battery powered by USB-C. It is expected to come with 32GB of inbuilt storage (can be expanded via micro SD card), and sport an 18MP primary camera and an 8MP secondary camera.
The device is expected to come with loads of BlackBerry’s own specialized apps and services, and also include a DTEK app to provide your device with extra safety and security.
In terms of hardware, it doesn’t look very promising as it lacks the high-powered components seen in many other new smartphones. There is no solid information on the price yet, but based on previous BlackBerry models and the fact that it is likely to be a mid-range device, it is expected to be priced around $450. We will keep you updated as more information rolls in and hopefully, we can expect BlackBerry to leave with a bang.