One of the first people outside TCL personnel, or even folks from BlackBerry, to ever get their hands on the BlackBerry Mercury is "The Tool Man" and Buzz Lightyear himself, Tim Allen.

The BlackBerry Mercury is TCL's latest and forthcoming BlackBerry handset, and while key metrics about the smartphone have yet to be announced — we know it has a physical QWERTY keyboard and that it might rock the same camera found on the Google Pixel, but that's it — it seems that marketing for the device is already under way.

As spotted in the CrackBerry forums, the latest episode of ABC's Last Man Standing features plenty of screen time for the handset, being held and used by Michael Baxter, Allen's character.

BlackBerry Mercury Lands A Last Man Standing Gig

The brief product placement wasn't really that surprising at all since Allen himself is a well-known BlackBerry fan, but it's still sort of interesting if not amusing that the handset is already spawning marketing offshoots ahead of its release.

Hopefully, the succinct TV gig is just part of the big advertising parcel TCL has in store for its latest BlackBerry device, which should herald the brand once more after failing to retain market significance over the years, with other handsets having entered the fore increasingly, securing their own foothold in the fast-growing smartphone industry. BlackBerry, once the popular phone maker, has now shifted its focus to software. TCL will now manufacture the phones and carry the brand moving forward as part of an inked deal between the two.

BlackBerry Mercury Specs

The BlackBerry Mercury stepped under the spotlight earlier this year during CES, an annual event featuring some of the best pieces of technology, many of which will shape the technological landscape for the better half of the year.

During CES, John Chen, BlackBerry's CEO, confirmed that Mercury is poised to be the last proper BlackBerry handset that it'll design and build in-house.

"[The BlackBerry Mercury is] the last model we engineered and designed ourself, yes that will be the last one," he said.

Little has been said about the Mercury's specs, although TCL has mentioned a couple of features about the handset. Right off the bat, it's clear that the phone will have a physical QWERTY input method, which is a staple BlackBerry feature. This time, however, it's beefed up: The Mercury's keyboard actually acts as a trackpad, so users can glide their fingers on it and navigate menus, scroll through web pages, and perform other similar actions. Also, a fingerprint scanner is housed beneath the spacebar.

The device will come preloaded with proprietary blackBerry applications such as BlackBerry Messenger, Hub, and a DTEK app for greater convenience and security. On previous BlackBerry-branded devices by TCL, the DTEK50 and DTEK60, the DTEK app provided information on applications' data access. This function will likely cross over to the Mercury as well.

The Mercury will run, thankfully, Android 7.0 Nougat out of the box, which makes it one of the very few phones configured as such.

No information in relation to Mercury's pricing and release date has emerged, although TCL is expected to unveil the handset at this year's Mobile World Congress, happening late February in Barcelona, Spain.

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