BlackBerry is still hoping to turn its bad luck around in the smartphone business amid rumors that the company plans to release three more Android phones later this year. CEO John Chen seems to have finally kicked BlackBerry OS to the curb, and it looks like Android phones may be BlackBerry’s future.
So, what will these new smartphones look like? Here’s everything we know about BlackBerry’s next Android phones, code-named Neon, Argon, and Mercury.
A previously unrevealed BlackBerry handset, code-named Argon, is apparently bound for global markets in October. Initially mentioned by the same VentureBeat report that detailed BlackBerry’s Neon and Mercury handsets, reference to it reappeared in September on an unpublished BlackBerry webpage discovered by CrackBerry. The page, amusingly named donotpublish.html, actually reveals a new phone named the DTEK60, along with a series of technical specifications which match those leaked for the Argon.
In terms of raw processing power, the Argon will reportedly be the flagship to beat. VentureBeat and the BlackBerry webpage both indicate the upcoming phone packs a 5.5-inch QHD (2,560 x 1,440 pixels) display, a Snapdragon 820 processor, 4GB of RAM, 32GB of storage, and a 3,000mAh battery with Qualcomm’s QuickCharge 3.0 fast-charging tech.
Other highlights include a 21MP front-facing sensor and 8MP rear-facing camera. The Argon/DTEK60 reportedly packs a fingerprint sensor, too, and a USB type C connector. Like the DTEK50 and other modern BlackBerry phones, the DTEK60 is listed with a version of Google Android installed. Aesthetically speaking, the DTEK60 is expected to have slightly rounded display edges.
According to the latest leaks, this smartphone will be officially debuted on October 11 at the price of $528, which makes it slightly cheaper than the PRIV.
BlackBerry finally took the wraps off the phone formerly known as the Neo on July 26. It’s called the DTEK50, and it’s launching for $300 in August.
While the code name for one of BlackBerry’s new phones was rumored to be Hamburg, later leaks suggested the device was known internally as the Neon. Those rumors were proven correct.
If the DTEK50 looks somewhat familiar, that’s because it’s essentially a rebranded Alcatel Idol 4. And its official specifications line up with a report published in VentureBeat earlier this year. The DTEK50 is built on an “aluminum frame” with a “soft-coated plastic back,” and what’s inside is decidedly middle of the road: a 5.2-inch 1080p touchscreen, a Snapdragon 617 processor, 3GB of RAM, 16GB of storage, a 2,610mAh battery, and a 13MP rear camera and 8MP front shooter.
It features proprietary software that BlackBerry says makes it ‘the most secure’ Android smartphone on the market, including a secure bootloader and full disk encryption. And the company promised the handset will receive “paid” updates and security fixes as needed.
You can read more about the DTEK50 here.
The third rumored device is code-named Rome or Mercury, and unlike its sibling, it does in fact appear to offer a physical keyboard. Its design — an enclosure made entirely of aluminum, reportedly — is very similar to the BlackBerry Passport, except that it’s rectangular instead of square. The Mercury looks very similar to previous leaks for a device codenamed Vienna — in fact, they look so similar that it’s entirely possible they’re the same device. Still, some of the colors are a little different, and the keyboard on Argon looks slightly sleeker. Perhaps BlackBerry ditched Vienna in favor of Mercury.
The Mercury’s rumored specifications are, like the DTEK50’s, not quite cutting edge. It packs a 4.5-inch 1080p screen with a 3:2 aspect ratio, a Snapdragon 625 processor, 3GB of RAM, 32GB of storage, a 3,200mAh battery, and an 18MP rear camera and 8MP front shooter.
According to VentureBeat, the Mercury will hit store shelves in October.
Updated on 09-29-2016 by Lulu Chang: Added further rumors regarding the BlackBerry Argon, which may be released as the DTEK60.