A new BlackBerry phone may be on the horizon in 2017.
TCL Communication Technology Holdings Ltd.(TCT), Blackberry’s latest software and brand licensing partner, released two teaser videos of a new smartphone today ahead of CES 2017, which runs from Jan. 5-8 in Las Vegas, and the device showcases the most quintessential BlackBerry feature: a physical keyboard.
Steve Cistulli, president and general manager for TCT, North America, tweeted out two teaser videos, one on Jan. 2 and one today, highlighting the phone’s physical attributes.
— Steve Cistulli (@SteveCistulli) January 3, 2017
— Steve Cistulli (@SteveCistulli) January 4, 2017
Details around the newest BlackBerry, codenamed “Mercury,” are sparse, but after testing the device hands-on, Crackberry.com is reporting it comes equipped with a fingerprint sensor in the space bar and USB-C connector port.
And according to Pocket-lint.com, the new device will be adopting a more regular touchscreen aspect, moving from its usual widescreen 16:9 ratio to a 3:2 ratio display. The site also reports that the screen will measure 4.5-inches diagonally and come with full HD resolution.
Other details of the smartphone will be released at the Mobile World Congress, which begins on Feb. 27 in Barcelona, Spain, according to Cistulli.
BlackBerry announced its manufacturing agreement with TCT on Dec. 15, saying the partnership is meant to accelerate the company’s transition from being a handheld device manufacturer to a security software and services innovator. BlackBerry said in September 2016 that it would no longer continue designing or making its own smartphones.
Under the terms of the agreement, BlackBerry will “license its security software and service suite, as well as related brand assets, to TCT, who will design, manufacture, sell and provide customer support for BlackBerry-branded mobile devices,” the joint press release said.
BlackBerry remains in control of developing and maintaining its security and software solutions as well as serving its customers, while TCL Communication will take over managing all sales and distribution.