BlackBerry confirms release of its last keyboard smartphone in Android 7.0 Nougat

By @mik_mapa on
BlackBerry Chief Executive Officer John Chen
BlackBerry Chief Executive Officer John Chen introduces the new Blackberry Classic smartphone during the launch event in New York, U.S. on December 17, 2014. Reuters/Brendan McDermid

BlackBerry CEO John Chen confirmed on Friday that the company will release its last QWERTY keyboard codenamed Mercury or Rome.

"We have one keyboard phone I promised people. It's coming," Chen told Bloomberg TV.

GSMArena reported in June that the last BlackBerry phone to be released would run Android 7.0 Nougat instead of BlackBerry 10 OS. Its features include 4.5 inch screen, Full HD 3:2 aspect ratio, 18-megapixel rear camera, 8-megapixel front camera, 3,400mAh battery, Snapdragon 625 CPU with 3GB of RAM and 32GB of storage capacity. It was estimated the launch would happen in the late 2016 or early 2017. The mobile phone was categorised as a mid-range Android smartphone.

However, Chen has not yet confirmed the mobile's specifications based on the reports released.

BlackBerry officially stopped producing its own phone as it focused on its software development house. The company now strengthens its position in developing Eastern markets as it struggled to keep pace with Apple and Samsung in the recent years. The company still has a strong customer base in India and Indonesia, although it's overall share in the smartphone market has shrunk to a fraction.

The BlackBerry Passport and BlackBerry Priv are the last two models bearing the iconic physical QWERTY keyboard design. The BlackBerry Passport runs BlackBerry OS 10.3 and upgradable to v10.3.2, while the BlackBerry Priv runs Android OS, v5.1.1 (Lollipop) and upgradable to v6.0.1 (Marshmallow).

In October 2016, BlackBerry launched the single sim DTEK60 that runs Android 6.0.1 and powered by 1.6GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor. DTEK60 featured 32 GB of internal storage, 5.50-inch touchscreen display, 21-megapixel primary camera on the rear and 3000mAh non-removable battery.

BlackBerry DTEK60 is a single SIM smartphone and it is Micro-SIM compatible. Its connectivity options include Wi-Fi, GPS, Bluetooth, NFC, USB and OTG. The phone also feature sensors including Gyroscope, Magnetometer, Accelerometer, Proximity sensor and Ambient light sensor.