We know of BlackBerry's plans to release three Android-powered smartphones. We've already seen the DTEK50 and DTEK60 this year, so we can be fairly certain that the next will be the DTEK70.
Now BlackBerry CEO John Chen has confirmed its presence in an interview with Bloomberg TV in Canada, telling news anchor Emily Chang: "We have one keyboard phone I promised people."
Whether the whisperings from the rumour mill are correct is an entirely different matter.
What we think we know so far
Shady images appearing on BlackBerryCentral point to the third and final model incorporating a new BlackBerry keyboard.
The image is almost certainly a fake, but we've long believed that the DTEK70 will follow the Priv, and ultimately come as good news to those who clamour for a more traditional BlackBerry experience.
We're taking these images with a pinch of salt for the time being, but a recent sighting on Geekbench suggests that the forthcoming BlackBerry might shy away from the top-end specs seen in the DTEK60.
Instead of continuing the trail towards the upper Android echelons, the keyboard-toting handset could use a Snapdragon 625 processor (running at 2.02GHz).
Geekbench also revealed that the handset could come with 3GB of RAM, 32GB of storage, a 4.5in HD display, an 18MP rear camera, an 8MP selfie cam and a 3,400mAh battery. If this is the case, the new phone will need to offer something more, and a keyboard would fit the bill very nicely indeed.
These specs also back up comments made by BlackBerry CEO John Chen when he bemoaned the Priv for being too expensive: "A lot of enterprise customers have said to us: 'I want to buy your phone but $700 is a little too steep for me. I'm more interested in a $400 device.'"
We commented on the DTEK60's tricky placement of the fingerprint sensor in our hands-on review. If you can believe the flaky renders (shown throughout) the BlackBerry Mercury will integrate the fingerprint sensor into the keyboard's space bar, thus moving it from the chassis proper.
Let's talk about that codename too. The DTEK50 was known internally as Neon, while the DTEK60 was Argon. Mercury follows that same naming convention and sticks to the elements.
The DTEK60 just missed the release window for Android 7.0 Nougat, but the DTEK70 should rectify that and run the latest OS as standard.
The releases of the DTEK50 and DTEK60 were a couple of months apart, so it's not a stretch to assume that we'll see this new model in Q1 2017 (January-February).
We'll update this story as new details emerge.
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