BlackBerry recently made the decision to outsource its phone-manufacturing business, and now it looks like we’ll get a look at one of the first BlackBerry devices to be built by a third-party at CES 2017.
A tweet from Steve Cistulli, North American President of Chinese manufacturer TCL, seemingly confirms a new phone, likely to be called the BlackBerry Press, will be unveiled at the big tech show.
But the best part, at least for BlackBerry fans, is the new handset will come with a physical keyboard, just like the beloved BlackBerries of yore.
Related: CES 2017
The teaser clip included with Cistulli’s tweet provides a very brief look at the new keyboard:
While the clip itself doesn’t give much away beyond the inclusion of the keyboard, the capacitive icons above the pad appear to confirm the Press will run on Android.
Little else is known about the smartphone previously known by the codename Mercury. There’s been talk of a 1080p screen that will retain a rectangular shape, rather than square – which will make for a rather long handset – but nothing’s been confirmed.
In December, TCL made its intentions clear in a press release which stated the company would use CES 2017 to “unveil an evolutionary first in the mobile industry, which will include the addition of the new BlackBerry brand of smartphones”.
Cistulli himself is quoted in the release as saying: “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.”
Just what the new BlackBerry smartphones will offer beyond the physical keyboard on the Press remains to be seen at this point, but we’ll have all the latest from CES so stay tuned.
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Are you yearning for the return of the physical keyboard? Let us know in the comments.