The BlackBerry smartphone brand is betting big on nostalgia and will reportedly bring back physical keyboard phones this year. If anything is to be believed, manufacturer TCL wants to revive the brand’s fortune by bringing back the old and most-loved specifications of BlackBerry phones, but on the Android operating system.
All-touchscreen handset based on DTEK 50 and DTEK 60 in the works
Using the brand, TCL is all geared up to launch three phones this year, according to CEO Nicolas Zibell, who talked about them during an interview on Saturday. Smartphones such as the DTEK 50 and DTEK 60 will serve as inspirations for the upcoming phone, which could be an all-touchscreen version, says CNET, citing a source familiar with the roll-out plans.
TCL is not leaving any stone unturned in order to make a strong portfolio of phones under the BlackBerry name. There are possibilities that the DTEK brand will be discontinued, a source told CNET.
BlackBerry and TCL entered into a licensing agreement in December, in which the latter holds the right to manufacture and sell BlackBerry-branded smartphones globally (except for in Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Nepal, India and Bangladesh). BlackBerry has found a partner that believes the brand can rebound from the lows it has reached in the smartphone market. Like Nokia and Motorola, the Canadian firm also believes that it can make a comeback if it retains its core value and gets in line with the changes happening in the smartphone industry.
Can the KeyOne turn around things for BlackBerry?
The BlackBerry-branded smartphone dubbed the KeyOne was unveiled at an exclusive pre–MWC launch event in Barcelona. Details on the KeyOne, previously known as the Mercury, were leaked on the internet before the official announcement confirming the specs and giving the official name. The handset will be available globally starting in April and will cost $549.
The TCL-manufactured handset sports strong aluminum and scratch-proof Gorilla Glass.The smartphone comes with a 4.5-inch IPS LCD display and the iconic physical QWERTY keypad now being referred to as a “Smart Keyboard.” Apparently, the user can customize the keyboard in 52 smart ways, like assign the letters “U” for Uber, “F” for Facebook and “B” for the browser.
The BlackBerry-branded handset comes at a time when the company’s smartphone market share is close to zilch. It turns out to be one of the biggest ironies, as the company which popularized the concept of the smartphone is struggling to survive the wave of innovation.