BlackBerry isn't giving up on introducing new Android smartphones in 2017. The company's next QWERTY-equipped device, the BlackBerry Mercury, has appeared in new photos showing off its 4.5-inch display and iconic keyboard, which includes a fingerprint scanner in the space bar.

When it comes to being the biggest player in the game to almost exiting the market completely, BlackBerry knows all too well how high you can soar and how far you can fall. The company's lineup of QWERTY smartphones, which ranged from the high-end BlackBerry Bold to the mid-range Curve and Pearl series, got users addicted to the idea of having a physical QWERTY keyboard built into the smartphone experience.

BlackBerry Soars High And Falls Low

BlackBerry saw the tide turn quickly when Apple and Google entered the smartphone arena with iPhones powered by iOS and handsets from HTC, Samsung, LG, and others using Google's Android OS. BlackBerry's BB10 OS never materialized into an iOS or Android competitor, which left BlackBerry with the option of completely exiting the smartphone market or adopting Android to become a niche player.

BlackBerry Sees Android As Its Future

The first details of what would become the first BlackBerry smartphone powered by Android began to make headlines in June 2015. By October 2015, BlackBerry officially announced the BlackBerry Priv, the company's first Android-based smartphone. The device appealed to BlackBerry fans, thanks to its slide-out physical QWERTY keyboard.

The BlackBerry Priv has seen moderate success and the company's most recent Android smartphone, the DTEK60, could easily be mistaken for an Android clone, since it forgoes BlackBerry's iconic physical QWERTY keyboard.

BlackBerry Mercury Brings Classic Look Back

It now appears as if BlackBerry is appealing to its hardcore fans with its next Android smartphone. Images of what is reportedly the BlackBerry Mercury have leaked and as you can see in the image above, it comes equipped with the familiar BlackBerry keyboard that has been the focal point of its smartphone arsenal.

The leaked BlackBerry Mercury photo shows a handset with a 4.5-inch 2,560 x 1,440 Quad HD curved-edge display above a physical QWERTY keyboard. The image also has a description explaining that "the fingerprint sensor is integrated into the space bar. Enabling me to authenticate for anything that needs my password - without changing my hand position."

The BlackBerry Mercury is expected to be powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 processor, Adreno 350 GPU, 4 GB of RAM, and run Android 7.0 Nougat. BlackBerry is expected to make the Mercury official at CES 2017 in January.

We'll keep you posted on any additional BlackBerry Mercury information as it becomes available.

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