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TCL shows off first BlackBerry-branded smartphone, codenamed 'Mercury'

By Shawn Knight ยท 9 replies
Jan 4, 2017
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  1. BlackBerry last September announced intentions to cease internal development of its smartphones and instead focus on its software and services businesses. In lieu of ditching the handset business entirely, BlackBerry last month signed a long-term deal with Chinese firm TCL that would see them design, build and sell BlackBerry-branded mobile devices.

    At CES 2017, TCL teased its first true BlackBerry device, codenamed Mercury. Details are somewhat scarce at this hour but here’s what we do know.

    The upcoming handset sports a physical keyboard, a feature that BlackBerry simply refuses to relinquish despite the fact that the entire smartphone industry has long since moved on to onscreen keyboards. With the keyboard comes a fingerprint sensor built into the space bar and like the Passport before it, the keyboard itself is touch-enabled meaning you can swipe it to scroll, flick to type and so on.

    The Verge notes that the metal and rubber exterior has a “pleasantly substantial” heft to it. The device will run Android 7.0 Nougat with additional security and business-focused software mixed in courtesy of BlackBerry (the company). There’s also a USB Type-C port for charging.

    That said, we still don’t know what it’ll officially be called, how large the screen will be, what hardware is under the hood, camera specs, battery life, release date and critically, its price. TCL did say, however, that it’ll provide more information at Mobile World Congress in late February.

    Hands-on images courtesy 9to5Google

    Permalink to story.

  2. hahahanoobs

    hahahanoobs TS Evangelist Posts: 2,555   +921

    Snapdragon 625
    3GB RAM
    4.5" AMOLED (1620x1080)
    Sony 12MP+2MP rear cameras
    32GB internal w/SD slot
  3. Skidmarksdeluxe

    Skidmarksdeluxe TS Evangelist Posts: 8,647   +3,286

    I'm liking the kbd. Give me a proper kbd over any virtual one any day of the cretaceous period.
    Lionvibez likes this.
  4. m4a4

    m4a4 TS Evangelist Posts: 1,460   +1,035

    Well Shawn, this article would've been decent without this unnecessary quip. I for one would rather a physical keyboard even though it isn't the mainstream choice.

    Otherwise, I would be wondering about the battery life. If it's more than a day under normal use I might actually consider the phone...

    IAMTHESTIG TS Evangelist Posts: 1,721   +810

    I love physical keyboards but the vertically aligned keys on BB devices has always put me off. Really all I want is a Moto Droid 5 with a 5" screen, water resistant, rugged design. The keyboard Moto had in the Droid 4 was perfect. Problem for me now is I refuse to spend so much money on a smartphone. So $600+ is a big ask for me. And all the "budget" smartphones with keyboards have way out of date hardware and OS's. Not even worth it...
  6. MonsterZero

    MonsterZero TS Evangelist Posts: 566   +323

    The year 2000 called, it wants its keyboard back.
  7. captainload

    captainload TS Member Posts: 26   +23

    I hear you. I'm a portrait QWERTY man myself.."one-handed usage or death" is my motto. This might be the Blackberry I've been waiting for. The PRIV was promising but hopelessly overpriced, and a slider mechanism is a major point of failure. This new phone *should* be available at a bit under $600, and if that's the case it will probably be a must-buy (assuming its not laden with Chinese government spyware). The only way Blackberry survives as a brand is if they start rewarding their core customers with reasonable pricing. They need to remember that $20 can get you an official Samsung keyboard that snaps onto the front of an S7.
  8. MaXtor

    MaXtor TS Maniac Posts: 253   +191

    I miss phones with physical keyboards, if it weren't for the upcoming Surface phone, I'd consider this. If the Surface phone has the ability to run desktop apps, plus a flip cover keyboard (like the Surface Pro), I don't care what it cost, I'm buying it.

    Until then I'll hold onto my LG G4, I've had it almost two years because I haven't found anything worth upgrading to.
  9. Lionvibez

    Lionvibez TS Evangelist Posts: 1,468   +639

    The Year 1995 called it wants its jokes back!
    MaXtor likes this.

    IAMTHESTIG TS Evangelist Posts: 1,721   +810

    Your mamma is so stupid, she thought menopause was a button on the VCR!

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