Chinese manufacturer TCT, one of BlackBerry’s manufacturing partners, will put out the new phone. The new BlackBerry Press will feature a qwerty keyboard that takes up the width of the bottom of the device. The software on tap will be BlackBerry’s own brand of Android, just like the Priv phones before it. Like classic BlackBerry phones, its has a black and silver body, with a rubberized texture on the back. The phone features a 4.6-inch display, a USB-C port on the bottom, and a large, contemporary-looking camera (which provides a big bump to the shape of the phone) on the back. Previewing the phone at CES, Business Insider noted that this isn’t just a rather generic smartphone with a BlackBerry sticker slapped on top, this is the aesthetic that BlackBerry lovers still want out of their mobile.
Security will also remain a big part of TCT’s effort to sell the new BlackBerry to customers. TCT will stress the end-to-end encryption of communication on the new BlackBerry, as well as other protective features.
TCT North America President Steve Cistulli tweeted out a preview of the new phone’s design:
— Steve Cistulli (@SteveCistulli) January 3, 2017
While in September BlackBerry announced it would no longer make its own phones, that doesn’t mean that BlackBerry phones won’t continue to be designed by partners of the company like TCT. BlackBerry’s attention to secure communication and keyboard-based phones may not be as popular as they were back in 2013 (when the company’s numbers peaked) but there is still a market for BlackBerry to engage with. And if the recent Galaxy Note 7 fiasco, and the recent backlash against Apple’s rejection of the headphone jack demonstrate anything, it’s that the mobile market is anything but a static playground for consumers and products.