The smartphone industry has evolved rapidly in the past few years, and BlackBerry was a victim of complacency for much of that time. Finally in November of last year, the company caved in and released its first Android device - the BlackBerry Priv. It was too little too late, and BlackBerry has moved from developing its own hardware to rebranding existing phones, starting with the DTEK50.
John Chen, CEO of BlackBerry, confirmed last month in an interview that BlackBerry will release one last keyboard phone developed completely in-house. The above images appeared on Weibo, the Chinese social network with more leaks than the Titanic. The phone is visually very similar to the Priv, but the keyboard appears fixed in place. Also unlike the Priv, the navigation buttons seem to be capacitive instead of on-screen.
With the BlackBerry Priv falling short of the company's expectations, I can't imagine this device will see much success outside of keyboard junkies. Still, if this is truly the last QWERTY phone designed by BlackBerry, it will mark the end of a very long era.