BlackBerry's CES 2017 Phone To Sport A Full QWERTY Keyboard

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BlackBerry's smartphones have always been known for their distinctive QWERTY keyboards, and although that trademark feature has been lacking from some of its most recent releases, the hardware keypad is all set to make a comeback at the ongoing CES trade show if a recent revelation by an insider is anything to go by. The news comes in the form of a tweet by the President and General Manager of TCL in North America, Mr. Steve Cistulli (@SteveCistulli), who teased the upcoming handset with a short 4-second video of what is believed to be the next BlackBerry smartphone. In his tweet, he called it "imPRESSively designed. distinctly different", with an emphasis on 'PRESS'.

Although not much is known about the upcoming device, the previously-rumored BlackBerry 'Mercury' is believed to be the smartphone in question here. The device was earlier rumored to come with a hardware keyboard, and is expected to be marketed as the DTEK70. As per earlier rumors, the device will sport some pretty decent hardware, including a Snapdragon SoC and a 420ppi display panel with a 1620×1080 pixel resolution. The device is also expected to have 3GB of RAM and 32GB of built-in storage, while imaging duties will apparently be taken care of by an 18-megapixel primary camera and an 8-megapixel front-facing shooter. Pricing and availability details, though, continue to remain under the wraps for now.

TCL, of course, is the Chinese tech firm that took over the mobile division of French telecom giant Alcatel a few years ago. The company last month announced that it has now signed a long-term licensing agreement with BlackBerry that will let it handle the development, manufacturing and marketing responsibilities of BlackBerry-branded devices, while the Canadian firm continues to take care of the security aspect of the devices, including apps like BlackBerry Hub. The two companies have been collaborating for a while now, and their partnership has already resulted in at least two TCL-manufactured BlackBerry-branded smartphones – the DTEK50 and the DTEK60, both of which were launched last year. Either way, TCL's press conference at CES 2017 is scheduled for tomorrow, so we'll soon find out what the company has in store for us.

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