BlackBerry Bids Farewell to Hardware With Upcoming Mercury Smartphone

By Lynn Palec, | January 06, 2017

Blackberry is set to release its final keyboard smartphone late this year or early next year. (WEi WEi/CC BY 2.0)

Blackberry is set to release its final keyboard smartphone late this year or early next year. (WEi WEi/CC BY 2.0)

It is no longer a secret that BlackBerry is leaving the smartphone hardware market to focus its business towards software. The BlackBerry smartphone brand will be outsourced to Chinese electronics company TCL which has already released a couple of flagship devices under the DTEK line. Recently, BlackBerry confirmed that the upcoming BlackBerry Mercury would be the last smartphone designed and engineered in-house by the Canadian company.

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Not much is known about the BlackBerry Mercury, except for the fact that it will be the last BlackBerry-designed smartphone. At the Consumer Electronics Show, BlackBerry teased the audience about what to expect from the device.

BlackBerry did not provide any details about the specs of the Mercury. It is not even whether the phone will carry the Mercury name once it hits the market. However, TCL revealed a BlackBerry-branded phone at CES with a physical QWERTY keyboard, and it runs on Android 7.0 Nougat. Both TCL and BlackBerry did not comment on whether the phone is indeed the fabled Mercury.

According to Crackberry, the Mercury will sport a metal body with a soft material on its back. There will be a USB Type-C port on the bottom of the phone, and BlackBerry integrated the fingerprint scanner on the space bar in the physical keyboard. The exact release date of the BlackBerry Mercury, as well as its price, is still unknown.

In a statement acquired by Mashable, BlackBerry chief executive officer John Chen said, "What you're going to see over time is more phones. There's going to be more BlackBerry phones out there because now I have multiple parties creating and distributing and I have local party to compete in the local space - countries which I normally can't compete with."

The future of the BlackBerry brand is still uncertain, especially as the last couple of TCL-made phones failed to meet the expected sales performance despite their interesting features and hardware.

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