The next BlackBerry-branded Android smartphones may be code-named Uni, Athena, and Luna, as suggested by a number of recent filings submitted by original design manufacturer TCL Communication, as well as several reports. The name “Athena” recently originated on CrackBerry forums where one source claimed the moniker denotes a device with a physical QWERTY/Z keyboard which will be positioned as an offering meant to compete in the upper mid-range segment of the market, boasting at least 6GB of RAM, Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 660 chip, and 64GB of internal flash memory expandable via a microSD card tray. The rear panel of the device is said to accommodate a dual-camera setup, with the handset itself supposedly being scheduled for an April debut, though it’s presently unclear whether that timeframe is meant to be attached to its announcement or a full-fledged commercial release. In case of the latter, the Athena is likely to be officially presented later this month at MWC 2018.
The alleged BlackBerry Uni is the most dubious device of the three rumored ones, with the vast majority of the information related to it being based on a trademark on the term “Uni” filed by TCL. The same term is also mentioned in one camera patent owned by BlackBerry which envisions a mechanical camera tray that can slide out from the top of a smartphone while being situated behind a separate lens while retracted. As CrackBerry points out, TCL already used the name for the Alcatel Uni360, a virtual reality headset launched with the Alcatel Idol 5 last year, making it unlikely that the BlackBerry brand will be mixed with the same term in the near future.
The BlackBerry Luna is said to be an Android-powered mid-ranger previously identified by the model number BBE100-1, with the handset being expected to feature a physical keyboard. The smartphone is rumored to be planned for an August launch, indicating a debut at Berlin-based IFA 2018 is likely. TCL is expected to announce at least one BlackBerry-branded mobile offering at this year’s iteration of MWC scheduled to open its doors to the public on February 26. The company’s last addition to the BlackBerry product family came in the form of the BlackBerry Motion released in late 2017.