BlackBerry used to rule the smartphone space, but then the iPhone came out. BlackBerry execs deemed the iPhone a “toy” and a “fad,” but that fad eventually drove the company to revamp its product lineup. It was too late, though. BlackBerry will probably never regain the throne, but it’s not done with smartphones. It’s making a go of things with Android, and it looks like a new full-touch-screen BlackBerry Android phone is on the way. A posting from serial leaker Evan Blass has revealed the BlackBerry Motion.
BlackBerry (formerly known as RIM) used to have its own operating system called BlackBerry OS. Well, BB OS technically still exists, but the company is no longer releasing new phones that run it. BlackBerry made a valiant effort to save its platform by opening an app store and devising methods of emulating Android apps, but it was all too little, too late.
In 2015, BlackBerry launched the Priv, its first Android phone. That’s actually the only Android phone BlackBerry itself has ever built. After the Priv’s lackluster sales, it partnered with established device maker TCL, which has gotten some attention for its budget-minded Alcatel brand. The first few BlackBerry devices from this union were just re-badged Alcatel devices branded as “BlackBerry DTEK,” but the KEYone from earlier this year was all BlackBerry. That phone even had the iconic Blackberry keyboard, which tempted some BlackBerry OS stalwarts to make the switch to Android.
The newly leaked phone goes back to the all-screen DTEK-style design without a physical keyboard. This phone was previously rumored as the “Krypton,” but the final device will allegedly be called the “Motion.” BlackBerry’s code names are always better than the retail branding—the KEYone was “Mercury” and the Priv was “Venice.”
The new image is just a render, but it looks official, and Blass is a reputable source for leaks. The Motion seems like quite the flat black slab here. The right edge of the phone has a volume rocker, power button, and customary Blackberry shortcut key. There’s also what appears to be a physical home button in the enormous bezel under the display. It definitely doesn’t fit with the trend of minimizing bezel on modern smartphones. It does at least have a 3.5mm headphone jack, which more and more phones are dropping.
We don’t yet know when the Motion (if indeed that’s the name) will be released. A few big mobile tradeshows are happening early in 2018, so perhaps TCL and BlackBerry will wait until after the holiday rush to officially reveal this phone.