TCL the owners of the Alcatel branded smartphones have confirmed it will launch several new BlackBerry-branded smartphones at CES 2017 as we exclusively tipped earlier this month.
ChannelNews understands that the new devices could be on sale in Australia as early as March 2017, this is subject to the time it will take to get certification from carriers in Australia.
Several major vendors of smartphones have told ChannelNews that they welcome the arrival of Amazon in Australia claiming that any smartphones sold via Amazon will not need to be carrier certified, a process that costs vendors “hundreds of thousands of dollars” and can take up to 12-14 weeks.
One major Chinese vendor has told ChannelNews that they were recently asked to pay Telstra $200,000 simply to certify the latest Android upgrade despite several other carriers around the world having already certified the device on their network.
Telstra apparently told the carrier whose products are highly popular in the USA, that the process would take 12 weeks which meant that they were unable to deliver a consumer upgrade before Christmas.
ChannelNews exclusively revealed earlier this month that BlackBerry had signed a “long term” licensing deal with China’s TCL, under which the company will “design, manufacture, sell and, provide customer support for BlackBerry-branded mobile devices”.
The Chinese smartphone maker behind Alcatel brand has produced two smartphones for BlackBerry such as the DTEK50 and DTEK60.
For now, TCL hasn’t shared any information about the upcoming “BlackBerry-branded” smartphones.
But we’ve heard about a smartphone dubbed “Mercury” time and again over the past few weeks. Unlike the DTEK50 and DTEK60, the phone will have a physical keyboard and is said to sport a candy bar design.
As for the hardware, it’s speculated to feature a 4.5-inch display, a Snapdragon 625 processor, 3GB RAM and will run Android 7.0 Nougat. Other expected features include an 18-megapixel rear camera, 8-megapixel front shooter, 32GB internal storage and a fingerprint scanner.
BlackBerry might have lost out on the smartphone race, but it is hoping that the licensing and distribution deal with TCL will help its brand regain some of the presence.