The Next BlackBerry Device Will Abandon The Keyboard Again

TCL representatives at this year's IFA conference in Berlin confirmed that a new BlackBerry device is going to launch in October, and that it will abandon the famous BlackBerry hardware keyboard that helped to make the BlackBerry KEYOne such a success. That move could be in support of the other big change from usual BlackBerry devices; this one will reportedly be water-resistant. On top of that, the device's battery will apparently be able to power it through 26 hours' worth of "mixed use." Much like the TCL-manufactured phones that came before the KEYOne, this upcoming device will run BlackBerry's own hyper-secure version of Android on a device that lacks the hardware keyboard, but other details such as durability and build, power, and design were not given.

BlackBerry's Global GM, François Mahieu, said that the firm plans to stick close to established BlackBerry conventions of long battery life, durability, and security with this new device. According to Mahieu, this flagship device will be good enough to give Apple iPhone and Samsung Galaxy faithfuls pause in their upgrade decisions. The BlackBerry KEYOne was praised for its high sales numbers thus far, with roughly half of the sales reportedly coming from enterprise fleets, and the other half coming from individuals buying the phone to use for work. People buying the device for purely personal use were not represented; given the nature of the device and historical sales of security-focused devices, that number was likely to be relatively low. These numbers, according to Mahieu, indicate that BlackBerry has a good chance to recover in the modern mobile market.

Speaking on BlackBerry's strategy in the market, Mahieu stated that the company is simply "playing with different cards," referring to the fact that it is seeking success similar to larger OEMs, but without going through traditional methods of achieving such. BlackBerry recently announced its intent to license out its secure version of Android, rather than keeping it as a unique selling point of BlackBerry branded devices. With any other OEM, licensing out a customized version of Android may seem like a bad move, since differentiation is key in the market, but since BlackBerry no longer manufactures its own hardware, a move to put its primary business in the software game could make sense.

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