Unfortunately, we don’t have much to go on other than the two images below of the device that showed up on Weibo over the weekend. You can take this news with a grain of salt for now, but it does at least seem to confirm Blackberry CEO John Chen’s comments that his company was developing another in-house smartphone with a keyboard.
“We have one keyboard phone I promised people,” said Chen in a November interview. “It’s coming.”
Needless to say, the diehard BlackBerry fans that have stuck with the brand through its most tumultuous years are ecstatic about the thought of a new QWERTY device. “If this is gonna be a new BlackBerry with this keyboard then am sold already,” wrote CrackBerry member slaggyb. “Take my money as am buying this immediately. Physical keyboard is just a must have for me. The Priv did not live up to the expectations from the keyboard standpoint and maybe every other way.”
“That looks niiiiiiice! Classic keyboard with a Passport Silver Edition upper body, and a large generous display. Count me in,” added conbrio29.
If these images are indeed authentic, this may be the last hurrah for BlackBerry’s in-house smartphone operations. The company announced in late September that it has already started down the path to shutting its internal hardware division in favor of outsourcing the designs of its smartphones. Both of its recent hardware releases — the DTEK50 and DTEK60 — are rebadged Alcatel smartphones running Android with BlackBerry software backed in.