Last year, we saw BlackBerry release one last phone, the DTEK50, before announcing that the company would no longer design and manufacture its own hardware, opting to focus on software and security. When the DTEK50 was released, we (along with many others) noticed a striking resemblance to the Alcatel Idol 4 and 4S, a phone made by TCL. It seems there might have been something to that — at CES 2017, TCL announced their partnership with BlackBerry and teased a new phone set to be released later this year.
Named Mercury for now, the new phone has a four-row physical keyboard taking up somewhere between the bottom fourth and fifth of the phone, with the rest dedicated to a touchscreen. The phone will run Android 7.0 Nougat (presumably with some BlackBerry tweaks, although it’s not clear if the partnership goes past BlackBerry licensing out the name and logo) and will have the usual Android software navigation buttons sitting atop the keyboard. From the promo video, we can see that it’ll have a USB Type-C charging port, along with a textured back with the BlackBerry logo.
We don’t know much else — TCL was using CES 2017 to tease the phone a bit. We expect they’ll fully detail Mercury during MWC 2017 in late February, alongside many other premium Android phones. Word is that Mercury will be targeted toward enterprise consumers specifically, so it’s possible TCL won’t be trying to get mainstream traction at all. According to a TechCrunch report, TCL plans to primarily sell the phones in bulk to businesses.