BlackBerry is prepping to launch its next device, and from the previews we’ve seen, it might be the comeback it's needed — keyboard and all.
Recent videos and images show an extremely responsive and large screen on the new Mercury phone, with an adequate-but-not-bulky keyboard. A 4.6-inch display, USB-C connection port, and textured back panel find a balance of upgrades and familiar Blackberry traits.
But they haven’t done so at the expense of normal phone features. The physical keyboard has gesture capabilities that make it more of a multifunction trackpad than a bulky add-on. The fact is that some people actually like typing with keys, and among the many things that made the Priv fall short, a kitschy hideaway keyboard was the worst. If you’re going to have a keyboard on your newest phone model, don’t market the phone as the best way to hide your embarrassing keyboard.
BlackBerry is still perceived as one of the most reliable and secure devices by large portions of the legal and business world. Hell, President Obama might very well return to it after he has to turn over the special secure smartphone he’s been using for the last eight years. Meanwhile, quite a few companies still issue the phones to their employees.
The main concerns at this point are financial ones. There’s no starting price for the device, which could fall anywhere on a large spectrum of smartphone price points. BlackBerry has never made “cheap” devices, and its lean toward the encryption-obsessed business world makes bulk buys of an expensive device a little more palatable for someone signing off on a big order.
There are also some other spec questions that haven't been answered yet: We don’t have details on screen resolution or camera quality, but they appear to be on the higher end, with high-end and first-tier phones as BlackBerry’s target competitors. From what we can tell, this is a device that plenty of corporate offices will be willing to give a try once it's finally released.