A small and vocal element of the Android community has been begging for a decent QWERTY phone ever since the original Motorola DROID was retired, and a huge and vocal part of BlackBerry's userbase has been clamoring for the company to switch to Android OS before it goes the ignominious way of Palm and Nokia. So the BlackBerry Venice, which has been leaked six ways from Sunday, is a welcome if late addition to the struggling company's lineup. The latest leak shows off what looks like a production-ready phone in sharp photos from every angle. It's a looker.

The photos popped up on a Vietnamese website, Tinhte.vn. The Venice, which may or may not be a codename, is a slider phone with BlackBerry's signature QWERTY keyboard popping out from underneath the portrait screen. It's the opposite configuration from most of the previous Android-powered QWERTY smartphones, but it's a familiar and welcome sight for BlackBerry users. There's no mention of specs, but a previous leak indicates that the Venice will use a Snapdragon 808 processor, 3GB of RAM, a 5.4-inch QHD curved glass screen, and a mostly stock version of Android with some BlackBerry-powered exclusive functionality (for secure email and messaging). If that's true, it will be able to compete with top-of-the-line 2015 flagships. (A MicroSD card slot is visible in the photos.) It doesn't hurt that it's one of the thinnest slider phones we've ever seen; kudos to Canadian design and engineering.

Other unconfirmed leaks point to a November release for all major US carriers, and presumably a wide international release as well. If the final product looks as good as the leaks we're seeing, BlackBerry could have a solid hit on their hands - and don't they need one. It might also be a boon to competition in the Android world, where the candybar slate seems to be the only choice for high-end phones.

  • Thanks:
  • Lee,
  • Tony