Once a giant in the space and a company with a strong a claim as anyone has to being the inventor of the smartphone, the end is in site for BlackBerry and its fans who grew up on the Pearl, Curve, or 8800. But for one more time, at least, BlackBerry is getting the band back together, with a little help from its new partner TCL.
On Twitter January 24, TCL released a short video teasing a new phone which has been given the codename Mercury. It will follow on the less than successful DTEK and Priv, which were manufactured by BlackBerry and may be remembered as the final nails in the coffin of BlackBerry’s smartphone business.
The BlackBerry Mercury project is set to release on February 25th, 2017 at Mobile World Congress (MWC) in February in Barcelona, but BlackBerry will actually not be attending the conference. That’s a clear a sign as any that its priorities do not lie in the mobile device space anymore.
This announcement, of course, comes after BlackBerry saying it would stop the production of its own phones and instead focus on software and licensing the BlackBerry brand out to other companies to put on to the devices they build, as it seems anyone not named Apple simply cannot command a premium price in the space anymore. BlackBerry announced this decision in late 2016 due to a major loss in profits from the manufacturing of smartphones.
Here’s what we know about the TCL phone with the codename Mercury: it is set to feature one of BlackBerry’s signature items, the physical QWERTY keyboard. It is known that the Mercury will feature Android Nougat 7.0 and may later support Android Nougat 7.1. It has USB type-C support, a metal body with a dimpled soft back, is rumored to have a long-lasting battery, and a fingerprint sensor built-in to the phones space bar. Other specifications for the phone will be announced in February at the MWC. It is expected that the BlackBerry Mercury will come in with a mid-range phones price tag, somewhat similar to the DTEK50 which was released in 2016 and was said by BlackBerry that alongside the higher priced DTEK60 they were the most secure Android smartphones on the market.
Many Twitter uses replied to BlackBerry’s announcement tweet of the Mercury and were showing love and excitement towards the new device.
In late 2016 BlackBerry announced a deal had been made with Chinese electronics company TCL which will allow TCL to design and sell phones under the BlackBerry brand. It now seems unlikely that BlackBerry will be involved directly with the design of another smartphone.
Increasingly, BlackBerry is looking elsewhere for business. It has spent more time exploring its place in the auto industry, more particularly, automated and self-driving vehicles/devices. The QNX® Software Development Platform 7.0 (QNX® SDP 7.0.) is a 64-bit platform created by BlackBerry sub company QNX that provides a secure platform for connection to cars, trains, surgical robots, highspeed trains, industrial controllers, and pretty much and device that requires the utmost of security and safety.
“With the push toward connected and autonomous vehicles, the electronic architecture of cars is evolving – from a multitude of smaller processors each executing a dedicated function, to a set of high performance domain controllers, powered by 64-bit processors and graphical processing units,” said John Wall, the senior VP and head of BlackBerry QNX in a press release January 4th regarding the QNX® SDP 7.0.