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BlackBerry’s last gasp phone will have a physical keyboard, and is coming soon

BlackBerry Priv
BlackBerry may have announced that it will no longer design its own smartphones, but that doesn’t mean we’ve quite seen the last phone from the company, or that the iconic BlackBerry keyboard is dead just yet. In fact, according to CEO John Chen, the company will be releasing a phone with the QWERTY keyboard at some point in the near future.

When the announcement was made, no dates on the new phone’s release were given, and nothing had been heard about it until November, when Chen spoke about the device again. The good news for fans expecting the phone is that it’s still coming. Discussing the company’s current strategy, Chen said, “We have one keyboard phone we promised people,” during an interview with Bloomberg, but still couldn’t give a timeframe for its release. “It’s coming, and it won’t be that long,” was all Chen would say on the subject.

The resulting phone will likely be the last in-house model from BlackBerry, with future hardware being built by other manufacturers. In fact, BlackBerry has already released phones that it didn’t design in-house. The DTEK50 and DTEK60 smartphone have been released in partnership with Alcatel parent company TCL Communications earlier in July. The DTEK60 is based on the Alcatel OneTouch Idol 4S and has a strong specification, but it doesn’t bare much resemblence to traditional BlackBerry phones.

Despite this, BlackBerry continues to build products in other segments — such as in cybersecurity and software. It’s certainly an end of an era. The company was, at one time, the king of the phone industry; but lost market share with the popularity of the iPhone and Android. It makes sense that BlackBerry would shutter its hardware development division — in November 2015, Chen said that the company would need to sell between 3 million and 5 million smartphone in order to maintain profitability.

Article originally published on 09-29-2016 by Christian de Looper. Article updated on 11-10-2016 by Andy Boxall: Added in comments from John Chen saying the phone is still coming soon

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