BlackBerry reveals new smartphone, keeps info under wraps

BlackBerry revealed its new smartphone at CES 2017, as was expected, but the company has chosen to keep nearly all information about the new smartphone under wraps, including its name. BlackBerry said the details would be revealed at MWC 2017 next month at Barcelona.

TCL claimed that the new BlackBerry smartphone was ''focused on three core features: security, productivity and reliability.''

TCL manufactures phones under the Alcatel brand name and BlackBerry's first devices under the new partnership with TCL were the DTEK50 and DTEK60, which were re-branded Alcatel phones, announced and released towards the end of 2016.

According to commentators, what was known was the new BlackBerry smartphone featured a combination of metal and rubberised body. As had been suggested in the leaks, it also featured a QWERTY keypad. Like the BlackBerry Passport, the new smartphone also featured a capacitive keypad, which allowed one to scroll through things using touch. Another interesting feature was the addition is a fingerprint sensor embedded into the space bar. According to commentators, what was known was that the smartphone featured a USB Type-C port, and it ran Android Nougat OS out-of-the-box.

BlackBerry only previewed the new smartphone, giving the attendees a chance to get some hands-on time with it. According to commentators, the idea seemed to be to start building up the hype before the launch at MWC 2017 next month. ''We look forward to unveiling details around this distinctly different and impressively designed BlackBerry smartphone around the Mobile World Congress timeframe next month,'' Steve Cistulli, president and general manager for TCL Communication (TCT), North America said.

While the specifications and software had not been finalised, the revealed device was a promising Android phone targeted at people who preferred physical keyboards, as well as BlackBerry's suite of secure apps such as BBM, according to commentators.

BlackBerry last year junked its own BlackBerry Operating System in favour of the more popular Android OS, and no longer manufactured phones. BlackBerry had since partnered with TCL to release Android phones under the BlackBerry brand name.