Last year, BlackBerry began the transition from its own in-house operating system to Android, with the launch of its high-end Priv, which featured a dual-curved display and slide-out physical keyboard. By some accounts, the Priv hasn't been doing well; an AT&T executive said last month that sales of the device had been "really struggling", and that the carrier has seen a high rate of returns among those units it has sold.
BlackBerry CEO John Chen acknowledged in April that the Priv's high price had put some people off the handset, but said that more affordable devices were on the way. Details about the new phones have continued to leak in recent weeks - but now, the first official information and images are available.
It appears that someone at BlackBerry made an unfortunate mistake, publishing images and even a full specs page for one of its new handsets before its official announcement.
The handset you see here is identified on BlackBerry's site as the 'DTEK50', but as CrackBerry reports, it's also been referred to as the 'Neon'. Its key specs include:
- 5.2-inch display with Full HD (1920x1080px) resolution
- Octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 617 processor
- 3GB RAM
- 16GB onboard storage (plus microSD card support up to 2TB)
- 13MP rear camera with phase detect auto focus, HDR support, image stabilization, dual LED flash, and 1080p video recording at 30fps
- 8MP front-facing camera with fixed-focus, image stabilization, 'selfie flash', and 1080p video recording at 30fps
- FM radio
- Bluetooth 4.2
- Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac
- 4G LTE connectivity
- microUSB 2.0 port
- Accelerometer, magnetometer, gyroscope, proximity sensor, ambient light sensor, Hall Effect sensor
- Non-removable 2610mAh battery with Quick Charge 2.0 support ("50% charge in 51 minutes")
- 147 x 72.5 x 7.4mm; 135g
As the images show, the DTEK50 ditches the physical keyboard of the Priv, with interaction focused solely on what BlackBerry describes as an "all-touch screen with intuitive gesture based navigation". The device also features an unusual off-center location for the microUSB port at its base.
The new handset seems likely to ship with Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow onboard - the same version that BlackBerry took six months to roll out to the Priv.
Given that these official details and images have already appeared on BlackBerry's site, a formal announcement of the new handset should be coming pretty soon.