Just before the holiday weekend started, there were some fireworks going off in BlackBerry land when word leaked out that U.S. Senate staffers would no longer have access to the company’s smartphones. It was reported that there were only 600 BlackBerry devices on hand, and once that inventory was depleted, staffers would have to choose from Android and iOS-based alternatives.
Rather than let this report stew any further, BlackBerry took to its blog to help clear the air a bit regarding its smartphone production. While the original report indicated that Verizon and AT&T were suspending production of all BlackBerry OS 10 devices (Q10, Z10, Z30, Passport and Classic), BlackBerry has clarified that only the Classic is being sent off to the glue factory.
“Sometimes it can be very tough to let go. For many years, Classic has been in our portfolio,” writes Ralph Pini, Chief Operating Officer and General Manager for Devices at BlackBerry. “It has been an incredible workhorse device for customers, exceeding all expectations. But, the Classic has long surpassed the average lifespan for a smartphone in today’s market.”
Looking forward, BlackBerry says that it’s fully committed to the BlackBerry 10 operating system and that it will release a 10.3.3 update in August; another update will land in 2017. But the future for BlackBerry smartphones seems firmly entrenched with the Android operating system thanks to last year’s launch of the Priv.
Although the Priv is by no means a success story given the absolute dominance of Android and iOS in the smartphone market (Blackberry has a 0.2 percent share of the worldwide smartphone market according to Gartner compared to 84 percent for Android), BlackBerry is still reportedly plodding forward with three new Android-based smartphones. The smartphones are codenamed Neon, Argon, and Mercury — and the information is sourced from well-respected leaker Evan Blass.
If Blass is correct (and he almost always is), here’s what to expect:
- 5.2-inch 1080p display
- Qualcomm Snapdragon 617
- 3GB RAM
- 16GB storage
- 13MP main camera/8MP front camera
- 2610 mAh battery
- QuickCharge 2.0
- 5.5-inch QHD display
- Qualcomm Snapdragon 820
- 4GB RAM
- 32GB storage
- 21MP main camera/8MP front camera
- 3000 mAh battery
- QuickCharge 3.0
- 4.5-inch 1080p display (3:2 aspect ratio)
- Qualcomm Snapdragon 625
- 3GB RAM
- 32GB storage
- 18MP main camera/8MP front camera
- 3400 mAh battery
- QWERTY keyboard
The Neon is expected to launch within the next two months, while Argon is expected to bow in October. Mercury is set to make its appearance in 2017.