Half a decade ago, BlackBerry smartphones were starting to lose their shine a little. The aged BlackBerry OS platform, based on Java, was showing its age and the company's new BlackBerry 10 operating system, based on QNX, was delayed. When BlackBerry 10 was finally released it was rapidly improved, gaining the ability to run some Android applications but has not achieved the same appeal and user numbers as Google's platform. Last year, BlackBerry adopted the 'if you can't beat 'em, join em' approach and released their first device based around the Android platform: the BlackBerry PRIV.
This was an upper mid range device based around capable hardware, but as with former BlackBerry flagship devices it was expensive when released. For a company setting out to prove to the world that they could make the Android platform work on their devices, an expensive price tag proved to be a little daunting for buyers. Since then, rumors have developing suggesting BlackBerry are planning on releasing possibly one, two or even three devices, which would be of a lower specification and price. It has been previously reported that BlackBerry had subcontracted TCL to manufacturer at least one of their next devices. Today, a BlackBerry branded device appears to have passed through the FCC. The timing of which is interesting as it has been reported that BlackBerry could announce its new hardware as early as next week.
The device in question is believed to be the BlackBerry Neon, formerly the Hamburg, the Canadian company's second Android-based smartphone. It has a designation of STH-100-2 (RJD211LW) and is built by TCL. TCL own the Alcatel brand and there are a number of similarities between the Alcatel Idol 4 and the new, unreleased BlackBerry Neon. These include the same size battery capacity at 2,610. A claimed BlackBerry Neon had already been benchmarked on the GFXBench website and boasting a similar chipset: the Alcatel Idol 4 has a Qualcomm Snapdragon 617 chipset, which is reportedly based around eight processor cores using a big.LITTLE architecture, clocked at up to 1.7 GHz. The BlackBerry Neon is reputedly powered by the slightly older Snapdragon 615 chipset however, with eight big.LITTLE cores clocked at up to 1.5 GHz. There's 3 GB of RAM and a 1080p, 5.2-inch display with no hardware keyboard. The device is also expected to come with 16 GB of internal storage and shipping with Android 6.0.1 (Marshmallow).