BlackBerry has one last keyboard phone for us.
John Chen likes to tease. He's been doing it ever since he took over the CEO role at BlackBerry from Thorsten Heins in 2013, and even now, after the company has rededicated itself to software, he is still talking about that elusive dream phone for keyboard addicts.
"We have one keyboard phone I promised people," Chen told Emily Chang of Bloomberg TV. "It's coming." While the company stated earlier this year that it would no longer design or manufacturer its own smartphones, it appears that this latest keyboard-adorned device could be the last BlackBerry built in-house.
BlackBerry's latest two phones, the DTEK50 and DTEK60, were built by TCL, whose reference designs were also used in the Alcatel Idol 4 and TCL 950, respectively. Previous to those, the Priv showed that BlackBerry could bring its iconic keyboard to Android with little detriment to the overall experience.
It's unclear what form the new keyboard BlackBerry will take, whether it will be a slider like the Priv or a more conventional 1:1 square like the Classic, adapted for Android. BlackBerry was rumored to have been developing a version of the Passport that ran Android, and a couple prototypes have been seen floating around various places, but Google's OS was never designed to be run in a square environment, and many apps likely wouldn't run properly.
Right now, we don't know much else: what it will look like, when it will go on sale, and how much it will cost. Nor do we know if it will get carrier support in the U.S., something that looks increasingly scarce as BlackBerry moves away from its handset roots.
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