BlackBerry deserves some props for managing to stay in a highly unstable and fast-paced market. Sure, it's technically not the original BlackBerry anymore — TCL bought its rights in December and is now the one that makes BlackBerry-branded devices — it's still great to see the once-dominant OEM still in the running.
In fact, new BlackBerry smartphones are in the works, reports say. One of them is the first-ever water-resistant BlackBerry phone that's all screen. Similar to TLC's BlackBerry DTEK50 and DTEK60, it won't have a physical keyboard.
New BlackBerry Phone Will Be More Like The DTEK50, DTEK60 Than The KEYone
If true, this rumored smartphone will follow BlackBerry's current flagship, the KEYone, which features a physical keyboard alongside a touchscreen. TCL plans to launch it at some point in October, which puts it in direct competition with the iPhone 8 and possibly even the Google Pixel 2, rumored to launch Oct. 5.
It remains uncertain why TCL dropped the keyboard this time around. However, considering the KEYone wasn't actually designed by TCL and was in fact the last BlackBerry phone ever designed in-house by the original company, it seems clear what TCL prefers more.
It's hard to gauge if there's still a market for QWERTY phones, and TCL hasn't released sales numbers of the KEYone, though it did mention it's "selling great." A physical keyboard is one of the most iconic signatures of a BlackBerry handset, but in a world of touchscreen phones, perhaps that doesn't matter anymore. TCL seems to understand that.
As for the specs, it's hard to tell for now. Information is scarce, but TCL did manage to reveal some key features. This smartphone, it said, will be for clumsy international travelers who will be working in all weather conditions. From that, you can glean that the phone is sturdy, rugged, and water-resistant. The battery reportedly lasts up to 26 hours on a single charge.
TCL is going for durability and longevity here, and that's a commendable approach. As newer smartphones get bezel-less displays and curved screens, they become more fragile and vulnerable to physical damage. Also, as they get thinner, their battery life gets reduced. TCL wants none of these handicaps for its new phone in October.
The new phone will of course run Android, like the DTEK50, DTEK60, and KEYone. But thanks to BlackBerry, TCL says it'll be the most secure Android phone in the world.
Can BlackBerry Regain Its Market Dominance?
The above promises aren't indicative of a successful phone, surely. The smartphone market is hard to break into again. It welcomes comeback stories, sure — the Samsung Galaxy S8 coming out strong after the Note 7 fiasco, for example — but BlackBerry's name has gotten lost in the crowd. Anything can happen, however.