It’s been an interesting ride for BlackBerry over the years as the company has moved out of the public spotlight over the past several years. Last month TCL announced a new partnership to build BlackBerry phones, and at a closed press event at CES 2017, the company has now revealed what is in store for BlackBerry, including giving us an early look at some unreleased hardware.

The best gifts for Android users

In a brief press release, TCL confirms a few details about what it plans to do with BlackBerry which, essentially, boils down to going all in on BlackBerry hardware by pushing the secure software as the primary selling point. The primary focus for 2017 will land in the enterprise market, but that will eventually expand to a push for the consumer market as well.

BlackBerry will play an “important role” in TCL’s 2017 product portfolio, but will still remain as its own brand. That all starts with a new BlackBerry device.

The “Mercury” combines the best of BlackBerry’s classic designs with the Android ecosystem and TCL’s manufacturing abilities. In our brief hands-on testing of the device, it seems like an excellent option for fans of BlackBerry’s ecosystem, specifically when it comes to the physical QWERTY keyboard.

That physical keyboard is similar in size to that of the BlackBerry Priv, but as you may have noticed, it’s always out. That causes the display to be cut-off slightly, which actually doesn’t seem to affect the software experience or usability. The entire keyboard can be used a touchpad for scrolling and the spacebar doubles as a stealthy fingerprint sensor (which was not functioning on this early unit).

Realistically speaking, this probably won’t be the phone to “save” BlackBerry, but it’s certainly a nice device which I wouldn’t mind carrying as a daily driver. Right now, specs, pricing, and even the device’s official name are completely unknown, despite our best efforts trying to pry the information out of our contacts. However, we’ll learn more about the device at MWC 2017 in just a couple of short months.

LAS VEGAS, Jan. 4, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — At CES 2017, TCL Communication Technology Holdings Limited (TCT), the fourth-largest handset manufacturer in North Americai, is today sharing plans for an industry-first brand portfolio business model, which now enables the company to offer an entire suite of mobility products, including new BlackBerry smartphones. This brand pillar approach focuses on multiple facets of the company’s product portfolio: the entry-consumer, best-in-class enterprise, connected (IoT) and emerging segments – all leveraging the success of the TCL Communication manufacturing, R&D and operations along with the legacy of some of the industry’s most iconic brands, including Alcatel and BlackBerry.

“Our industry is in the midst of an evolution, where consumers are now demanding greater functionality and value from their mobile devices than ever before,” said Steve Cistulli, President and General Manager for TCL Communication (TCT), North America. “To meet these growing demands, both carriers and retailers need a more diverse product offering, requiring portfolio efficiencies that were previously unavailable from a single manufacturer – until now. We’re boldy evolving our business, offering end-to-end efficiencies from sales, through R&D, manufacturing and logistics. This business evolution will provide greater value to our customers in the premium post-paid and affordable no-contract tiers.”

Offering carriers and retailers exceptional quality and value, backed by TCL’s world-class R&D and manufacturing capabilities, the TCL Communication portfolio will be anchored by the Alcatel and BlackBerry handset brands while continuing to evolve in 2017. This will include additional mobility offerings to be announced in the first half of the year that will allow the company to further address consumer demands. Among the first products in this portfolio is the latest BlackBerry smartphone, focused on three core features: security, productivity and reliability. Previewed at CES, the smartphone draws on unparalleled mobile security and software expertise to offer the most complete end-to-end smartphone security available on Android.

“We look forward to unveiling details around this distinctly different and impressively designed BlackBerry smartphone around the Mobile World Congress timeframe next month,” continued Cistulli.

For more information about TCL Communication (TCT), please visit www.TCTUSA.com.

About TCL Communication

TCL Communication Technology Holdings Limited (TCT) with its North America headquarters based in Irvine, California, is a wholly owned company of TCL Corporation, a global consumer electronics brand with products currently sold in over 160 countries throughout North America, Latin America, Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia Pacific. With a mobile handset product portfolio that includes devices from Alcatel and BlackBerry, TCT is currently the fourth largest handset manufacturer in North America. The company also operates nine R&D centers worldwide and employs over 13,500 people globally. For more information, please visit www.TCTUSA.com.

TCL is a registered trademark of TCL Corporation. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners. Alcatel is a trademark of Alcatel-Lucent used under license by TCL Communication.

BlackBerry and related trademarks, names and logos are the property of BlackBerry Limited and are registered and/or used in the U.S. and countries around the world. All other marks are the property of their respective owners. BlackBerry is not responsible for any third-party products or services.

i Based on IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker – Q3 2016

SOURCE TCL Communication

Related Links

http://www.TCTUSA.com

About the Author

Ben Schoon's favorite gear