Just days after BlackBerry inked a licensing agreement with TCL Communication Technology Holdings Limited (TCT), the latter has confirmed that it will be unveiled its first handset under the agreement at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2017.
TCT, which is the fourth largest handset manufacturer in North America, has however refrained from revealing any more information about the new handset except for the statement that the new handset will provide us a first look at how they intend to keep the BlackBerry brand legacy alive through a new generation of smartphones.
The deal with TCT is in line with BlackBerry’s strategy to pull the plug on its in-house smartphone design and manufacture operations and switching to a software and services company – the niche that it is an expert on. The strategic decision was taken by BlackBerry in September earlier this year when it revealed its bold intentions of quitting the mobile manufacturing business to focus on its software unit. DTEK60 was company’s last handset, which was manufactured under an agreement with TCL Communication.
While not much is known about the new BlackBerry smartphone, we can expect the new TCL-made BlackBerry to be a QWERTY smartphone with specifications in line with the rumoured Mercury handset. Some of the specifications of this rumoured devices that have surfaced on the web are: fingerprint sensor, Snapdragon 625 CPU, 4.5-inch display, 3GB RAM, 32GB of inbuilt storage, a 3400mAh battery, an 18-megapixel rear camera, and an 8-megapixel front-facing camera. It will be run Android 7.0 Nougat out of the box with BlackBerry’s own customisations for security.
At this point, we are uncertain on when this device will be unveiled and what name it will commercially bear, but they are expected to hit the US first. Notably, BlackBerry’s partnership with TCL does not allow it to sell its new mobile devices in India, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bangladesh and Indonesia, some of BlackBerry’s biggest handset markets.