The next big trend in phones? Nostalgia.

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If you’d told me last year that the Mobile World Congress — the biggest mobile industry event of the year apart from the iPhone launch — would be dominated by Nokia and BlackBerry, I’d call you names. Slightly offensive, silly names. 

But it’s exactly what’s happening, and it’s not just due to the absence of Samsung’s Galaxy S8, whose launch date got shifted to late March. There’s a genuine feeling that users are sick of the big-screened, battery-draining smartphone, and they want something different. 

Take BlackBerry’s KEYone for example. It’s an Android smartphone with a physical keyboard, and while that set of traits would’ve gotten it immediately laughed off a few years ago (as proven by BlackBerry’s now non-existent market share), this year it’s the phone that stands outOur article about that phone was shared more than any other MWC news item this year, and we could see the interest firsthand at BlackBerry event in Barcelona, which also generated tons of buzz on social media.  Read more…

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BlackBerry’s smartphone market share is finally 0%

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BlackBerry sold 200,000 of its own phones last year, but that might as well have been zero. 

The onetime leader in smartphones sales made up zero percent — or 0.0482 percent — of global smartphone purchases in the fourth quarter of 2016. 

Business Insider spotted the stat in research from the firm Gartner tracking smartphone sales. 

In the last three months of 2016, BlackBerry sold 207,900 of its own devices running its own operating system. 

That number becomes zero when factored into the 432 million smartphones sold during that time period.  Read more…

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BlackBerry partners with Indian firm for manufacturing and selling smartphones in local markets

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BlackBerry has partnered with a New Delhi-based company for manufacturing and selling its smartphones in India and neighbouring countries. 

BlackBerry-branded Android smartphones sold in India, Sri Lanka, Nepal and Bangladesh will be manufactured by Optiemus Infracom, the Canadian company said today, as it continues to outsource smartphone designing and manufacturing tasks to other firms. 

Once an iconic name in the mobile business, BlackBerry said last year it would cease designing smartphones. The company now fully focuses on software and services business.  Read more…

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The upcoming Mercury will be the last phone designed by BlackBerry

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LAS VEGAS — We still don’t know much about Mercury, the upcoming BlackBerry handset manufactured by Chinese tech company TCL, but we now know it will be the last handset designed and engineered in-house by BlackBerry.

CEO John Chen confirmed as much Thursday during a press event at CES, reiterating his desire to get BlackBerry out of the handset business.

“The last model we engineered and designed ourself, yes that will be the last one,” Chen said of the Mercury, which will be released sometime in 2017.

That may sound like bad news for BlackBerry loyalists but the CEO said the shift will actually enable the company to get more of its handsets on the market via partnerships since it will no longer need to devote its resources to hardware. Read more…

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A brand new BlackBerry is coming, and yes, it has a keyboard

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BlackBerry’s back — again.  

In a CES news release, Chinese tech giant TCL’s mobile branch, TCL Communications Technology (TCT) announced it’s planning on reinvigorating the classic smartphone brand for 2017. 

TCL obtained a global smartphone software and brand licensing agreement in December, so this move shouldn’t come as a complete shock. The company was also behind the poorly-received BlackBerry Android offerings from last year, which were the last handsets thought to be produced with the branding. 

According to the statement, the newest BlackBerry device (which appears to be named the “Mercury”), will be focused on three core features: security, productivity and reliability. And like its ancestors, it has an actual, honest-to-goodness physical QWERTY keyboard! Read more…

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