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BlackBerry Keyboard Phone Promised To Come: Can It Rise Among The Upcoming Generation Of Bezel-Free Smartphones?

14 November 2016, 3:54 am EST By Chris Loterina Tech Times
Blackberry CEO John Chen announced that a new Blackberry device is in the pipeline. Aside from the confirmed physical keyboard, there is very little information about its specs, pricing and release date.  ( Blackberry )

Everytime the world is about ready to give up on Blackberry, the company always manages to come back with something as if to say don't rule us out just yet.

Really Last Blackberry Phone

Recent reports have already established that the Canadian company will no longer manufacture its own smartphones. Back in August, Blackberry claimed that the DTEK50 will be its last official device. But, in October, DTEK60 was released and, now, a new "last device" is officially in the pipeline and this has been confirmed by John Chen, Blackberry's CEO.

"We have one keyboard phone I promised people," John Chen, Blackberry CEO, told Bloomberg. "It's coming."

Blackberry Keyboard Redux

Chen did not provide any more information about the upcoming device. But the Blackberry Priv was the latest handset to sport a physical keyboard and the new phone could possibly emerge as a next-generation variant. This might even be the previously reported Blackberry Mercury.

Bezel-Free Phone

The Blackberry Priv introduced key design features such as the sliding curve display. Some believe that the upcoming device could do the same, possibly following an emerging trend that involves bezel-free mobile devices. If true, then it will be competing with the Samsung Galaxy S8 and the iPhone 8, which are both rumored to have borderless form factors.

It is not yet known whether the new Blackberry smartphone will be manufactured by another company. Both DTEK50 and DTEK60 are built by TCL and are similar to the handsets that are labeled as Alcatel Idol.

This manufacturing strategy is aligned with Blackberry's shift toward a hybrid strategy wherein the company partners with OEMs to build new phones. The company could also pursue another approach wherein it merely licenses the Blackberry brand to third-party device manufacturers.

Specifications, Pricing

Based on Chen's official confirmation, consumers might not expect to get hardware specifications, pricing and release date soon. The DTEK60 is seen as a competitor to the newly released Google Pixel devices, so the upcoming device mill mostly gets a 2017 rollout. Blackberry is known for being straightforward and reliable in terms of updates so we should expect more information once the device gets ready for showtime.

At this point, it is no longer surprising if the new last device will not turn out to be the last. This is the case since the company has been posting statements that indicate it is not yet done with the smartphone business.

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