BlackBerry used to be the top dog when it came to smartphones -- and it was unimaginable then that BlackBerry would end up in a place where it is today, close to the bottom of the food chain. So much so that BlackBerry even had to rely on a rival mobile operating system, that is Google's Android. Well, the BlackBerry Priv did obtain its Android 6.0 Marshmallow upgrade not too long ago, and it looks like BlackBerry has yet to throw in the towel where Android-powered smartphones are concerned with word that the Neon, Argon, and Mercury are in the pipeline.
Sales figures for BlackBerry's maiden Android outing were less than satisfactory, but that has not dampened the company's spirits with the latest round of rumors. In fact, BlackBerry intends to triple down with Android for the coming year, and word on the street points to the Canadian manufacturer working on a smartphone release each quarter for the upcoming three-quarters.
The given codenames of Neon, Argon, and Mercury point to elements in the periodic table, and who are we to say that they will not strike gold this time around? After all, surely the folks over at BlackBerry would have come up with more than a decent idea on how to further improve on future Android-powered smartphones, based on the feedback that they received. The three handsets will target a range of form factors as well as price points to cater to various market niches.
The Neon is touted to be the first of the trio to hit the market, where it will occupy the entry level or mid-range market, sporting an alleged 5.2" full touchscreen. In other words, you will not have a keyboard to go with this bad boy, which is a departure for many BlackBerry loyalists. Your eyes should be more than happy with the 1080p resolution that accompanies the screen, and an aluminum frame with soft-coated plastic back will hold the Snapdragon 617 system-on-a-chip from Qualcomm. Apart from that, it is touted to feature 3GB of RAM, 16GB of internal memory, and a 2610mAh battery, QuickCharge 2.0 support, a 13MP shooter at the back with an 8MP camera in front for selfie lovers. Expect the Neon to be priced competitively, or even made free on contract, as it is tipped for a July to August release.
Up next is the Argon, which is touted for an October rollout. Sporting a full touchscreen as well, this 5.5" device will be a delight to your eyes with its QHD resolution offering, placing it on par with the BlackBerry Priv. As for what goes on underneath the hood, we will find Qualcomm's Snapdragon 820 SoC, 4GB of RAM, 32GB of internal memory, a 3000mAh battery, QuickCharge 3.0 support, a fingerprint reader, a USB type C connector, a 21MP shooter behind with an 8MP selfie camera. Targeting the enterprise market and enthusiast consumers, we are quite sure that it will find quite a following.
Last but not least, the Mercury is all set to roll out sometime in the first quarter of next year, and it is the lone ranger out of the trio with an accompanying physical QWERTY keyboard. Unlike the Priv, however, it is a vertical slider, which means the Mercury's keyboard cannot be hidden ala the BlackBerry Passport. With a 4.5" display with Full HD resolution, consumers should find it arrive in a full aluminum enclosure that houses a Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 chipset, 3GB of RAM and 32GB of internal storage. There will be an 18MP shooter at the back with an 8MP selfie camera, while a 3,400mAh battery keeps the Mercury humming along just fine.
Do you think these three will be BlackBerry's last stand when it comes to security-enhanced smartphones?