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Circuit Breaker

BlackBerry isn’t giving up on physical keyboards

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Or rather, TCL isn’t

TCL, the Chinese company that now owns the exclusive rights to product BlackBerry-branded phones, has put up a teaser video of a new smartphone. But it’s not so much a teaser of the smartphone as it a teaser for the keyboard. There are still humans who prefer a physical keyboard on their phone to a touchscreen — because they genuinely feel more comfort with them or because they simply suffer from an overdeveloped sense of tech nostalgia. (I suffer from this strange syndrome, FYI.)

The next BlackBerry is codenamed “Mercury” and according to Android Central, it will “feature an unusual 1620x1080 resolution.” It will, of course, run Android and BlackBerry’s specific customizations focused on security and the BlackBerry Hub. Those things are important, but they’re maybe not enough to set a TCL phone apart from the mass of other Android phones. And thus: TCL’s North American president Steve Cistulli focused on the one thing that will really differentiate the next BlackBerry the most in his tweet: the keyboard.

Now, TCL: you’re making BlackBerrys. But you also own Palm. The time has come to unite the clans. You can do it, Mr. Cistulli. Two great, fundamentally broken smartphone brands that taste great together. It makes more sense than just asking the internet what to do with them.

We expect the new BlackBerry will be officially announced here at CES very soon.