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CES 2017 | BlackBerry Mercury makes a surprise showing at CES 2017

TCL's Mercury is the most "BlackBerry-like" handset to have the company's name on it in years. (Source: TechCrunch)
TCL's Mercury is the most "BlackBerry-like" handset to have the company's name on it in years. (Source: TechCrunch)
Though officially debuting at MWC Barcelona, TCL's flagship BlackBerry Mercury made a surprise appearance at CES. Those who have gone hands-on with the device have good things to say, but the success (or failure) of this device, perhaps pivotal for BlackBerry, remains to be seen.

Although TCL's BlackBerry-licensed Mercury handset was slated for a debut at Mobile World Congress (MWC) Barcelona rather than CES, the smartphone popped up anyway. Those who have gone hands-on with the final design are reporting that it's shaping up to be a very solid device.

The Mercury's construction looks to be a mix of aluminum and other materials: the front is aluminum while the back is mostly textured soft-touch plastic. The keyboard looks to be either high-quality plastic or gorilla-glass, and can be used as a touchpad for gestures. The space bar also doubles as a fingerprint reader.

Fans of less-large phones will appreciate that the Mercury has a smaller footprint than a 5.5" phone such as the Google pixel, and fits comfortably in the hand. The downside is that the screen will be proportionally much smaller than other devices with the same footprint, due to the all-important (for BlackBerry fans, anyway) hardware keyboard.

The phone has downward-firing speakers (as it is not meant to be used in landscape mode), a headphone jack, and a USB Type-C port for connectivity and charging. The mercury will run Android 7.0, but has some small tweaks. The app view now uses a grid, and it includes BlackBerry's Messenger, Hub, and other proprietary software. BlackBerry made it clear that they will continue to support the device with security updates—critically important for the enterprise users the company is courting. 

All will be revealed about this flagship phone at MWC on February 27, including its specs and price.

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2017 01 > BlackBerry Mercury makes a surprise showing at CES 2017
Douglas Black, 2017-01- 7 (Update: 2017-01- 7)
Douglas Black
Douglas Black - News Editor
Douglas Black is a technology analyst, teacher, writer, and DJ. He is also Managing Editor of UltrabookReview.