Does BlackBerry have new Android devices in development?

BlackBerry Ltd. just can’t stop, won’t stop.

Even as the Canadian smartphone maker begins phasing out its Classic model after losing enterprise clients, and most recently posting a quarterly loss of $670 million, the company is reportedly working on three more – that’s right, three – Android devices.

Android Authority reports that the devices, codenamed “Neon,” “Argon,” and “Mercury,” are meant to target a variety of users with a lengthy range of prices and specs. Note that these details are unconfirmed.

In order of expected release, Neon should be first to debut, with a 5.2-inch screen and mid-range specs.

It does not feature a physical keyboard, and will reportedly feature a Qualcomm Snapdragon 617 SoC processor, 3GB of RAM, 16GB of internal storage, a 2610mAh battery, and 13MP and 8MP cameras. It’s expected to arrive in July or August.

Argon could be next and appears to feature the highest specs with Snapdragon 820 SoC, 4GB of RAM, 32GB of internal storage, a 3000mAh battery with QuickCharge 3.0, 21MP and 8MP cameras, and a fingerprint sensor.

Like its apparent predecessor, the 5.5-inch device would have no physical keyboard, and is expected to ship in October.

For those that need the keyboard, Android Authority says BlackBerry is planning another option for early 2017.

Alleged new render of the the BlackBerry Mercury, which may have formerly been codenamed the “Vienna.”
Alleged new render of the BlackBerry Mercury, which may have formerly been codenamed the “Vienna.”

The Mercury is smaller and most closely resembles the BlackBerry “Vienna” renders that were leaked back in November.

It supposedly features a non-retractable keyboard at the bottom of its 4.5-inch screen, an aluminium casing, 3GB of RAM, a Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 processor, 32GB of internal storage, a 3400mAh battery, and 18MP and 8MP cameras.

A one-time dominant player in the smartphone market, in recent years BlackBerry has transitioned its core business to software, with a focus on mobility management and security solutions.

The company recently announced that it would no longer produce its iconic BlackBerry Classic, one week after the U.S. Senate, one of its largest customers, gave staffers notice that it would discontinue issuing the devices in favour of Android and Apple products.

Nevertheless, BlackBerry had previously set a deadline for itself to make its smartphone business profitable by the end of the current fiscal year. This despite revelations that the company had given the global encryption key of its consumer devices – which is used to secure communications – to the RCMP as far back as 2010.

With the three devices, it seems to be placing all future hardware bets on the Android platform.

Sales figures suggest that BlackBerry’s previous and first foray into the Android operating system, the Priv, was met with indifference.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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