Word on the street is that BlackBerry has sought the services of Chinese device maker TCL to make its next batch of mid-range smartphones. BlackBerry CEO John Chen has already confirmed that we should expect at least two BlackBerry mid-range smartphones soon so that’s a given. What’s not been confirmed however is who is actually making it?
The latest leak, posted on Twitter, if at all it is real, seems to confirm what has been in the grapevine for weeks. It’s TCL, no doubt.
Now this is where it all gets interesting.
TCL is the maker of Alcatel-branded smartphones, tablets and wearables. Its latest smartphone lineup includes the flagship, the Idol 4 and its bigger sibling the Idol 4S. We’ve had quick interactions with both devices and putting this purpoted BlackBerry Neon aka Hamburg in its place didn’t take long.
See the image in this tweet:
— The Malignant (@the_malignant) June 29, 2016
Now this is the Alcatel Idol 4:
So yeah, there seems to be a lot of inspiration on the BlackBerry Neon drawn from the Idol 4/4S. What’s more, the device name is Neon. You know what else carries that Neon name? White-label devices made by TCL for carriers like Kenya’s Safaricom. Kenyans are pretty much familiar with the sub $50 smartphones branded Neon and sold exclusively by Safaricom.
Sales of the PRIV, BlackBerry’s latest smartphone which also marked the company’s shift to Android, never took off and the upcoming mid-range devices are all that the company is counting on to bounce back.
The Neon aka Hamburg is tipped to pack a 5.2-inch full HD display, a Snapdragon 617 processor, a 2,610mAh battery and 13 and 8-megapixel cameras on the front and back respectively.
This will be interesting to follow and watch unfold.