Two real-life images of what’s said to be a BlackBerry-branded device codenamed “Ontario” have leaked online on Sunday. The photographs that can be seen above allegedly show a smartphone that was expected to be released three years ago, having been the subject of numerous industry rumors since early 2014. The BlackBerry Ontario was then said to be a flagship device that would be a successor and a direct upgrade to the BlackBerry Z30. Initial reports suggested that the handset will be powered by Qualcomm’s quad-core Snapdragon 800 system-on-chip (SoC) and 2GB of RAM, in addition to running the BlackBerry 10.3 operating system (OS) out of the box. The company’s proprietary OS was then expected to debut on the BlackBerry Ontario that never received an official name, but it ended up being released in September 2014 on the BlackBerry Passport, formerly known under its codename “Windermere” that started circulating the industry since first reports of Ontario’s existence emerged.
Apart from running the same operating system, the BlackBerry Passport and Ontario seemingly aren’t too similar to one another. The unreleased prototype doesn’t feature the company’s signature physical keyboard and its display panel sports a conventional 16:9 aspect ratio, unlike the curious 1:1 image format that characterized the Passport’s screen. The BlackBerry Ontario depicted in the above images is seemingly of the traditional black variant and features a single-lens rear camera setup with a conventional LED flash that’s located on top of the main imaging sensor, which is yet another difference between this phone and the Passport whose LED flash was placed beneath its rear camera. The back side of the newly leaked device also sports what looks like a speaker grill, while its front panel features bezels that are somewhat large relative to those of contemporary handsets.
Given how the Canadian tech giant officially shut down its hardware division in late 2016 and is now only licensing its brand to third-party manufacturers while only occasionally helping with designing new BlackBerry devices, the prototype that can be seen above will likely never be commercialized. The firm recently touted its efforts of refocusing on mobile software solutions and enterprise services, claiming that this new strategy will help it bounce back from financial troubles it endured in recent years. While it remains to be seen whether that prediction holds true, more details on the matter should be available shortly.