BlackBerry Bringing 3 Android Phones Neon, Argon & Mercury This Season
We do not remember the last time BlackBerry launched a phone that killed the competition. The company kept repeating the same mistakes every year, which led to a huge decline post-BBM era.
BlackBerry launched its first Android device, after almost being forced to so as to stay in the competition, called the Priv which failed to make any impact in the smartphone industry. It was known for being overpriced for the features it offered, even though the design was quite unique and reminiscent of the older BlackBerrys.
The Canadian manufacturer was now resorted to launching three Android-based smartphones, hopefully by July itself. According to reports, the three smartphones are set to be placed in the three key segments in the market right now, to take on Samsung, LG and the major Chinese manufacturers.
The smartphones will be announced at the MobileBeat 2016 Conference to be held at San Francisco from 12th-13th July. It is one of the conferences where there are talks by leaders and influential people, technology keynotes, case studies and announcements.
Expected features of the smartphones
BlackBerry will be launching the three smartphones in the US and we hope they will be subsequently available in India. The phones have been codenamed very uniquely – Neon, Argon, and Mercury. The phones are expected to be made available to the users in subsequent quarters.
It is expected to be the first out of the three to be available to the users. The phone will sport a 5.2-inch full-HD display, powered by a Snapdragon 617 chipset, housing 3GB of RAM and 16GB of internal storage. A decently sized 2610 mAh battery will be present in the phone.
The phone will not come with a physical keyboard, will support QuickCharge 2.0 and sport 13MP camera with flash at the back and an 8MP camera at the front. The smartphone will most probably be available on sale in a week or two from official unveiling.
16GB of internal storage should be now done away with, so if BlackBerry is offering such low storage for its base model, it better be cheap.
The larger of the two keyboard-less smartphones, Argon will come with a 5.5-inch QHD touchscreen powered by Qualcomm 820 chipset, 4GB of RAM and 32GB of internal memory. The phone will house a larger 3,000 mAh battery with QuickCharge 3.0 for quick charging.
Argon also has a 21MP shooter at the back along with an 8MP shooter on the front. The phone reminds us of the Priv and it is also more like an upgrade to the Priv, sans the physical keyboard. It will be available in the last quarter of 2016.
This phone will be the last installment from BlackBerry for the time being. The form factor is expected to be different, with a large touch screen and a physical keyboard below it. However, unlike Priv, the phone will not have a slider and instead have a bar form factor, like the Passport.
Mercury sports a 4.5-inch full HD display in a square-ish design like the Passport, and houses a Snapdragon 625 chipset, coupled with 3GB of RAM and 32GB of internal storage. The plus point of the smartphone is the large battery at 3400 mAh supporting QuickCharge.
The phone also has an 18MP rear camera and an 8MP front camera for selfies. Mercury seems to be a revival of its flagship Passport phone, with a new operating system. The phone will be available to consumers from Q1 2017.
Can these three phones turn-around BlackBerry’s fate?
BlackBerry recently reported a $670 million net loss, and while the company isn’t doing as bad as it did in 2014, it still isn’t in a good shape.
With the adoption of Android, the company can definitely be back in the game, but IF and ONLY IF, they price their smartphones right. We have seen Chinese manufacturers gain market share in the past only because of their high-end smartphone low-price formula and it will not hurt BlackBerry to take the bullet till it rises again.
The Priv, a well-built Android smartphone loaded with features failed to do well in the market simply because it was priced almost 2x than what a potential buyer would pay for such a phone. Not everyone can fall for the physical keyboard sentiments, and consumers are not fools.
If BlackBerry prices the Neon, Argon and Mercury at $300, $450 and $400 respectively, the company might have a chance to revisit its days of glory. Anything more than this will bring doom to the company, and while we’re not too bullish on our theory, it does not hurt to be optimistic once in awhile.
Only a few days to go for the event, let us see if BlackBerry surprises us or disappoints us with its new smartphones.