BlackBerry last week made an announcement that its smartphones will now be manufactured and sold by TCL Communication (TCT). One week after the BlackBerry-TCL partnership news, TCL has now said that it will launch new BlackBerry smartphones at the CES 2017 trade show. However, there are no details regarding the new devices, but one of them could bring the BlackBerry’s signature physical QWERTY keyboard.
TCL Communication said the CES presentation will “include a first look at how the BlackBerry brand legacy will live on in a new generation of smartphones.” It’s evident BlackBerry is betting on the new partnership with China’s TCL to compete with the likes of Apple and Samsung. To recall, BlackBerry in September made a bold announcement that it’s quitting the mobile manufacturing business, and would solely focus on its software unit. The company recently launched the Android-powered DTEK60, which was manufactured under an agreement with TCL Communication.
Steve Cistulli, President and General Manager for TCL Communication (TCT), North America commented, “We’ll unveil more news at CES around our plans, showcasing the legacy of the BlackBerry smartphone brand, while also giving a glimpse into what new BlackBerry smartphones will offer as part of our bold new brand portfolio within TCT. These are just the building blocks of our new growth strategy, with additional announcements to come in 2017.”
The new TCL-made BlackBerry QWERTY device is expected to be the rumoured BlackBerry Mercury, whose specifications were leaked online with images earlier this month. The rumoured BlackBerry Mercury is touted to have a fingerprint sensor integrated into the space bar. It is also expected to be powered by the Snapdragon 625 CPU, and house a 4.5-inch display. The smartphone has been spotted on GeekBench as well, and the leak hints at 3GB of RAM, 32GB of inbuilt storage, a 3400mAh battery, an 18-megapixel rear camera, and an 8-megapixel front-facing camera. It is said to run Android 7.0 Nougat with BlackBerry’s own customisations for security.
At this point, we are uncertain on when this device will be unveiled and what name it will commercially bear, but they are expected to hit the US first. Notably, BlackBerry’s partnership with TCL does not allow it to sell its new mobile devices in India, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bangladesh and Indonesia, some of BlackBerry’s biggest handset markets.
Just like every other year, Asus has announced that it will be organising an event at CES 2017. The company’s ‘Zennovation’ event has been scheduled for January 4 and the latest teaser video by the company suggests that it has at least two new smartphones lined up for unveil. The CES 2017 trade show is set to begin on January 4, with several companies due to make announcements at pre-CES events on January 3 and January 4.
Even though the video teaser doesn’t share much information regarding the two smartphones or even their names, towards the end of the video, you can see one phone’s display showing an inverted ‘V’ while the other one’s shows an infinity symbol. There is a very good chance that these symbols might have something to do with the phones’ names.
Last month, a report suggested that Asus is planning to launch a Google Tango-ready smartphone named ‘ZenFone AR’ at its CES 2017 event. The report cited company’s CEO Jerry Shen as saying that the phone will be launched at CES 2017. “ZenFone AR will come with advanced functionality and performance at a competitive price,” Shen was quoted as saying. Even though the report claimed that ZenFone 4 range of smartphones will be launched in second quarter of 2017, there is a thin chance that the company might reveal them at its CES 2017 event as well. Another smartphone anticipated to launch is a recently certified device thought to be the ZenFone 3 Zoom, said to sport a Snapdragon 625 SoC, a dual-rear camera setup, a 13-megapixel front camera, and a large 4850mAh battery. If like previous generations, the smartphone would offer an optical zoom feature, perhaps tying into the infinity symbol the company has teased for CES.
Asus recently announced the availability of its ZenFone 3 Max (ZC553KL) model in India. The phone has been priced at Rs. 17,999 and will be available via the company’s preferred partner’s retail outlets as well as e-tailer websites. It will be available in colour options of Titanium Gary, Glacier Silver, and Sand Gold.