Image source: CNET
By now, you have all had a chance to look over the hundreds of pictures of the new BlackBerry/TCL device, codenamed Mercury. The first in what promises to be a series of devices, BlackBerry and its partner TCL have created what can only be described as the marriage of two iconic features - the famous, classic BlackBerry keyboard and apps with the almighty Android operating system. Is the best of both worlds? Let's consider.
WHAT'S OLD IS NEW AGAIN
That's not to say that the Mercury isn't a modern device - it certainly is. Whether it comes built with the latest Snapdragon processor or something better, it will be a modern device for modern needs. Long gone are the days of battery pulls or the three-finger salute: this is a brand-new take on a proven idea. Physical keyboard devices have been with us since, well, the beginning of keyboards, and although the market for physical keyboard mobile devices is smaller than a single brick in a high-rise building, it's a very important and necessary brick. TCL clearly see that, and has brought us their best take on the classic BlackBerry keyboard mated to a typical Android slab.
One of the things I like best about the Mercury is that capacitive keyboard: it's easily the best piece of technology that BlackBerry has brought to market since the trackwheel. Being able to scroll through apps or navigate a page without lifting your thumbs from the keyboard is a small but really important innovation. Speaking of thumbs, one of the things I like least about the Mercury is the fingerprint scanner. I know many of you will disagree, but I find biometrics to be a tricky area of technology that isn't ready for the consumer market. Just last week, we read the story of a girl who used her mother's fingerprint to open her mother's iPhone and go on a shopping spree. It's a technology that needs to be secured and improved - perhaps BlackBerry is the company to do it.
I asked your BlackBerryOS bloggers what they thought: they provided some good insight. First, in a sea of me-too Android devices, the Mercury stands out. That's a good thing. We would liked to see the track pad make a comeback, but that's highly unlikely. Shawn reminded us that this is the first BlackBerry/TCL devices that isn't a badge-engineered Alcatel. Again, all good things.
How about you? Do you like the Mercury concept? Hate it? Sound off in the comments.