In December of last year, Chen had made it clear that BlackBerry would quit the hardware market if the Priv didn't turn out to be a success. Priv didn't, yet BlackBerry seems keen to give the mid-range Android phone market another shot, or maybe three shots, before calling it quits.
BlackBerry still banks on QWERTY as it launches more Android phones
“Since I started at the company [in November 2013] I’ve been saying I’ll make the handset business profitable. If I can’t make it profitable because the market won’t let me, then I’ll get out of the handset business. I love our handset business, but we need to make money," he said to The National.
The first phone to see the light of the day will be Neon which will reportedly feature a 5.2-inch Full HD display, 3GB of RAM, 16GB of internal storage, a Snapdragon 617 processor and 13-megapixel and 8-megapixel cameras. The phone will also come loaded with Qualcomm's Quick Charge 2.0 technology for fast charging.
Back in November, leaked images of a phone named BlackBerry Vienna showed the phone featuring a physical keyboard, but unlike in the Priv, not a slide-out one.
If the Neon is a mid-ranger, the Argon, which may launch in October, is set to face up to the likes of ZTE Axon 7 or OnePlus 3. It will reportedly arrive featuring a 5.5-inch Quad HD display, the latest Snapdragon 820 processor, 4GB of RAM, 32GB of internal storage and 21-megapixel and 8-megapixel cameras. It will also bring in a fingerprint sensor, a USB Type-C port for quicker data transfers and fast charging and a powerful 3,000 mAh battery. Given that there are plenty of premium options available in the market, pricing could be a key factor if BlackBerry wants to get anywhere with the Argon.
BlackBerry Vienna: Specs, rumours and release date
The third phone, interestingly, will feature a physical QWERTY keyboard and has been code-named Mercury. The keyboard won't be a sliding one unlike in the Priv and the display above the keyboard might be 4.5-inches tall. Thankfully, BlackBerry has loaded the Mercury with impressive specifications like a 3,400 mAh battery, 18-megapixel and 8-megapixel cameras, a Snapdragon 625 processor and 3GB of RAM. So if you would like to give the physical keyboard another try, you won't have to compromise on performance.
Back in November, leaked images of a phone named BlackBerry Vienna showed the phone featuring a physical keyboard, but unlike in the Priv, not a slide-out one. In April, the Ecumenical News reported that Vienna may sport the same features as the Priv as the company has been going through tough times financially and would not want to take a chance with the capabilities of the phone. However, IB Times UK speculated that Vienna may feature a 5-inch display about the physical keyboard and Android 5.1 Lollipop on-board and may cost between £400 and £500 when released. Whether the Mercury is another code-name for the Vienna is something we aren't sure of as yet.