BlackBerry has already confirmed that it is not going to make smartphones anymore. But it certainly does not mean no new BlackBerry-branded smartphones will hit the market. Shortly after announcing that it won’t manufacture phones, BlackBerry tied up with TCL to allow the latter to sell BlackBerry-branded smartphones. Now, TCL has confirmed that it is going to launch new BlackBerry-branded devices at CES 2017, which will be held between January 5 and January 8 in Las Vegas.
“We’ll unveil more news at CES around our plans, showcasing the legacy of the BlackBerry smartphone brand, while also giving a glimpse into what new BlackBerry smartphones will offer as part of our bold new brand portfolio within TCT. These are just the building blocks of our new growth strategy, with additional announcements to come in 2017,” disclosed the company in a release.
It is worth pointing out here that TCL has semi-exclusive rights to build and distribute BlackBerry devices globally excluding key markets like India, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bangladesh and Indonesia. That said, TCL has already made BlackBerry’s last two smartphones, the DTEK 50 and DTEK 60, which are believed to be rebranded version of the Alcatel Idol 4 and Idol 4S.
TCL’s partnership with BlackBerry is very similar to the arrangement HMD Global and Nokia have. Moreover, Nokia-brand has already made a comeback in the mobile phone market with a feature phone and some new smartphones are expected to be launched early next year. Just like Nokia, BlackBerry too ruled the mobile phone market a few years ago with its unique offerings like physical QWERTY keyboard and popular instant messenger, BlackBerry Messenger (BBM).
Both Nokia and BlackBerry failed to keep up with the evolution of the mobile phone market which was swayed away by the likes of Samsung and several other Android brands which offered better products and at much more affordable prices. Not that BlackBerry didn’t try to bounce back in the market with smartphone likes Priv, also its first full-fledged Android smartphone. But BlackBerry goofed up the pricing of the smartphone, which later the company admitted too. Its recent DTEK 60 and DTEK 50, despite with competitive price tags, failed to prove themselves as the compelling products. ALSO READ: BlackBerry DTEK50 and DTEK60 hands-on and first impressions: Too little, too late
So far, TCL hasn’t hinted at what the new BlackBerry-branded smartphones will be like. But a new BlackBerry phone has leaked multiple times in the recent weeks. Dubbed as BlackBerry Mercury, the smartphone is also believed to be the final BlackBerry device. Interestingly, BlackBerry CEO John Chen has confirmed that the company is indeed working on its final in-house smartphone, which also features its iconic QWERTY keyboard. Based on rumors and leaks so far, the smartphone is expected to come with a 4.5-inch display and be powered by a Snapdragon 625 processor along with 3GB of RAM. Other expected features of the smartphone include 32GB inbuilt storage, 18-megapixel rear camera, 8-megapixel front camera and fingerprint scanner.