Blackberry clings to physical keyboard with Android 'Mercury'


Posted at Jan 10 2017 02:30 PM

Blackberry clings to physical keyboard with Android 'Mercury' 1
Blackberry Mercury. Photo from Blackberry website.

MANILA - Blackberry, the fallen king of smartphones, has launched the Android-powered Mercury, in another attempt to combine a touch-screen with its beloved physical keyboard.

The Mercury will be manufactured by TCL, the maker of Alcatel phones. The Waterloo, Canada-based company has licensed its phone brand to focus on software development.

Once a ubiquitous presence in the palms of businessmen Blackberry saw its market share decline as Apple's iPhone and handsets running on Google's Android operating system.

At the its peak, Blackberry fans included US President Barack Obama and reality television star Kim Kardashian.

Blackberry showcased the Mercury during the recent Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Its metal frame and plastic antenna stripes borrows design cues from current Android flagships.

However, the textured soft-touch back and the black keyboard with metal borders are distinctly Blackberry, reminiscent of its Bold series from then late 2000s.

Blackberry has made Android devices with little mainstream success, starting with 2015's Priv, which features a sliding keyboard.

The DTEK series, the first to be produced by TCL, was launched last year.

The company attempted but failed to lure consumers with touchscreen-only phones running Blackberry software with 2013's Z10.