Following the recent leak of an upcoming BlackBerry Android phone, yet more details have emerged about BlackBerry's plans for this next year. If rumours published by Venture Beat are to be believed, the Canadian tech company is set to launch three phones between now and the beginning of 2017.
The first phone rumoured to be on its way out of BlackBerry's doors is named Neon. This particular device is claimed to be on the lower end of the market, and will feature a full HD 1080p 5.2-inch display. Like many modern mid-tier phones, the Neon is rumoured to feature an aluminium frame with a soft-touch plastic back panel.
Inside, we're told to expect a mid-range Snapdragon 617 processor, 3GB of RAM and 16GB internal storage as well as a 2,610mAh battery which has Quick Charge 2.0 support. Other details include a 13-megapixel rear camera and eight-megapixel front camera. It's expected to hit the market at some point in the next two months.
This particular device looks very much like an Alcatel Idol 4, and for good reason: reports have suggested BlackBerry phones are now being built by TCL Communication, the same company that makes Alcatel smartphones.
Following on from the Neon is the BlackBerry Argon, which is being lined up for an October launch. From the rumoured spec sheet, it certainly seems that this is the flagship of BlackBerry's refreshed lineup. Like the BlackBerry PRIV, it's rumoured to feature a 5.5-inch Quad HD screen. This Android phone is likely to be powered by the latest Snapdragon 820 processor paired 4GB RAM and 32GB internal storage.
Additional features include a 21-megapixel rear camera, eight-megapixel front camera, a fingerprint sensor and USB Type-C port. Quick Charge 3.0 support and a 3,000mAh battery round off the spec sheet.
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BlackBerry fans will be pleased to know the company isn't expected to go all touchscreen. The long awaited physical keyboard-equipped Android phone - previously referred to as Vienna - is due to arrive in the first quarter of 2017. Unlike the PRIV, this phone isn't a slider, and will more closely resemble the traditional BlackBerry form factor. Similar to the Classic and Passport, the Mercury is expected to have a large touchscreen above a physical QWERTY keyboard.
To fit both the screen and keyboard in one device, the display is rumoured to be 3:2 ratio and measure just 4.5-inches diagonally. With just full HD resolution and a Snapdragon 625 processor, along with 3GB of RAM, it's clear this phone isn't being aimed at the top end of the market. Rather, it seems it's being launched as a mid-tier alternative to the PRIV, or an Android-powered replacement for the BlackBerry Classic.
Other specifications purportedly include a large 3,400mAh battery and an 18-megapixel main camera as well as an 8-megapixel selfie cam.
A lot rides on these handsets for the Waterloo-based manufacturer. If BlackBerry can't start making a profit on hardware, John Chen - the company's CEO - has long-stated that they would have no qualms shutting down their hardware business.
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