BlackBerry Mercury: The company's last in-house handheld makes waves at CES 2017

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BlackBerry Mercury
BlackBerry's Mercury is the last handset to be designed and engineered completely in-house. Twitter/BlackBerry

The BlackBerry name may not have as much punch as it once used to, but that does not mean that the company is out of the game -- it has instead become smarter. By dropping its own OS and partnering up with TCL, the company has started work on Mercury, its last in-house designed and engineered handheld.

The device was on display at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, but neither BlackBerry nor TLC released the official specs, price or release date. However, it was announced that details will be provided sometime around the Mobile World Congress, which will be held in Barcelona on February.

Nevertheless, some vital pieces of information were made available because of the display. Straight out of the box, the Mercury runs on Android 7.0 Nougat and is fitted with BlackBerry’s iconic QWERTY keyboard. However, the company also installed the keyboard with capacitive gesture capabilities. Wirh this, users are able to swipe up, down, left and right across the keyboard in order to move through the home screen or the applications.

On the lower half of the BlackBerry Mercury is a fingerprint sensor that doubles as the space bar. It also has the standard 3.5mm audio jack, as well as a USB Type C charging port. The unit has all the makings of a modern flagship, which is exactly what the company intended. The handheld, as noted by Digital Trends, is meant to battle it out with some of 2016’s best, including the Samsung Galaxy S7, Apple iPhone 7 and Google Pixel.

Mercury feels like the modern version of the iconic BlackBerry devices of yesteryear and not like it is trying to mask itself underneath something else. With MWC just a few weeks away, the public will soon learn about the inner workings of the upcoming handheld, as well as if it can carry its weight around the market’s biggest contenders.

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