An upcoming BlackBerry smartphone previously identified by the codename Athena has been spotted in a series of renders depicting the unit from all angles and revealing pretty much everything there is to know regarding its exterior. As expected based on previous rumors, the BlackBerry Athena appears to be more of an unconventional smartphone bearing a front-facing physical QWERTY keyboard, much like the BlackBerry KEYone did last year, and also shares other similarities with the KEYone.
The BlackBerry Athena appears to represent an evolution of the KEYone in that it has the same overall design with slight modifications such as sharper corners. But perhaps more importantly, the alleged BlackBerry Athena carries a horizontally aligned dual-camera setup on its back panel, whereas the KEYone relied on a single camera surrounded by a protruding circular frame. The side button arrangement also appears to have been reshuffled, with the right edge accommodating the volume rocker, as well as both the power and ‘convenience’ key, while the SIM card tray slot has been repositioned to the opposite left edge of the device. The top of the phone features a 3.5-millimeter headphone jack, whereas the bottom side accommodates what seems to be a USB Type-C connector flanked by a speaker grille. Finally, the physical QWERTY keyboard which should double as a trackpad doesn’t seem to have changed much from last year, and the Athena apparently retains the same 3:2 image format and a similar screen-to-body ratio as the KEYone.
Hardware specifications for the BlackBerry Athena are unknown but the smartphone is expected to run Android, as given away by its on-screen navigation buttons, and should presumably employ more powerful components compared to the model it’s supposed to replace. As a point of reference, the BlackBerry KEYone makes use of the Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 chipset paired with 3GB of RAM, and has a 4.5-inch display with a resolution of 1620 x 1080. The KEYone was released in April of last year following a February unveiling and if BlackBerry, i.e. its partner TCL decides to follow a yearly launch schedule, it will debut the Athena by the end of spring. The renders at hand were reportedly pulled from China’s State Intellectual Property Office.