Rights to BlackBerry Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) branded phones are now exclusively in the hands of Chinese firm TCL. The firm just posted teaser video of a new smartphone. More accurately, it seems more like a teaser for the phone’s keyboard rather than for an entire smartphone. For some users, physical keyboards still have higher preference over touch-screen because users genuinely feel more comfortable using them.
Keyboard – a differentiating factor
The next device from the Canadian firm is codenamed ‘Mercury’. It will feature an unusual 1620×1090 resolution, claimed Android Central. The device will run on Android and come with BlackBerry’s specific customizations focused on security. Those things are important, but they are probably not enough to set a TCL phone apart from the mass of other Android phones.
For this reason, TCL’s North American president Steve Cistulli focused on the keyboard in his tweet as he believes that it will really differentiate the next BlackBerry. In the tweet, Cistulli says the new BlackBerry device will be ‘imPRESSively designed’ probably because it sports one of those legendary clicky keyboards. The tweet also suggested that the device could be officially announced at CES.
— Steve Cistulli (@SteveCistulli) January 3, 2017
In December, a licensing deal was signed between TCL and BlackBerry Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) to design, manufacture and distribute BlackBerry-brand smartphones with a major focus was on Sri Lanka, India, Indonesia, Bangladesh and Nepal. The Canadian firm last released DTEK60 after which it licensed the brand to other hardware manufacturers. TCL now makes both BlackBerry and Alcatel-branded devices.
BlackBerry Mercury – what to expect?
BlackBerry will hold a press conference on 4 January, and there are rumors that its last in-house device will be the Mercury. Back in November, CEO John Chen said that the Canadian firm would be making one last smartphone sporting a QWERTY keyboard before licensing the brand to third-party manufacturers.
It is believed that Chen was referring to the device codenamed Mercury that will be launched as the DTEK70. Live images leaked last month on Chinese micro-blogging website Weibo, suggested that the device will feature a physical keyboard. Expectedly, the device will run on Android 7.0 Nougat and sport a 4.5-inch display with 420ppi pixel density.
The Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 processor will power the Mercury device, which will come with 3GB of RAM. It has also been suggested that the Mercury will come with a better-than-average battery life, and will have an inbuilt storage of 32GB expectedly. BlackBerry Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) Mercury will sport an 18-megapixel rear camera and an 8-megapixel front camera for selfies.
On Tuesday, BlackBerry shares closed up 1.02% at $6.96. In 2016, the stock was down 25% while in the last one-month, it is down over 8%