BlackBerry announce their second Android device

BlackBerry, one of the past greats of smartphones, have just announced the DTEK50. This will be their second device running Android after the (also appallingly named) Priv. The Priv was a first for the company – it was the first to run Android rather than its proprietary BB10. Whilst it generated positive reviews as many reviewers were pleasantly surprised by the security features added to the stock Android features, sales were disappointing.

That device is almost a year old, and so a refresh was in the works. Blackberry make a lot of the security aspects of the devices saying it “the most secure Android device”. There’s lots of security info in their press release which seems very complicated (so must be secure right?).

The specs are below. However, if you can’t be bothered to read, here’s a fancy video…

Operating System Android 6.0 Marshmallow
Display 5.2-inch, 1920×1080
Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 617
Quad-core 1.5GHz
Adreno 405 GPU
Storage 16GB
Expandable microSD up to 2TB
Rear Camera 13MP f/2.0, PDAF
dual-tone LED flash
HDR, 1080p/30 video
Front Camera 8MP f/2.2
1.12-micron pixels
Selfie flash
1080p/30 video
Battery 2610 mAh
Charging Quick Charge 2.0
Micro-USB 2.0
Security DTEK security suite
FIPS 140-2 Full Disk Encryption
Android For Work, Google Play for Work
Connectivity Wi-Fi 802.11ac, Bluetooth 4.2 LE, NFC
Network (NA) LTE Band 1/2/3/4/5/7/12/17/20/29
HSPA 850/900/1700/1900/2100 MHz
GSM 850/900/1800/1900 MHz
Network (ROW) FD-LTE Band 1/2/3/7/8/20/28A
TD-LTE Band 38/40/41
HSPA 850/900/1900/2100 MHz
GSM 850/900/1800/1900 MHz
Dimensions 147 x 72.5 x 7.4 mm
Weight 135 g

Now looking at the video, the specs and the reported guide price in the UK of £275, certain things jumped out at me. Firstly this is definitely at least a mid-range or even higher-budget device with specs very similar to the Moto G4 (£100 cheaper) or the Alcatel Idol 4. BlackBerry announce their second Android deviceThe Alcatel Idol comparison is also interesting as the device looks remarkably like a mixture of the Idol 3 and 4. It has front and back speakers and the “Boom” key (re-branded as “convenience” key). Being a past owner of the Idol 3, I was struck by the similarities with that device when looking at the video. So much so that it got me wondering….did BlackBerry actually make this device? Or did Alcatel (as an ODM) and then Blackberry stick their name on it a la Foxconn/ZTE etc.

Could this be the end of BlackBerry making its own hardware?

Finally, it seems that BlackBerry is again dropping the physical keyboard, something that has been their USP. Things didn’t fare well when they brought all-touch devices out in the form of the Storm and Storm 2 (with their lovely squidgy touchscreens – eugh!!).. they swiftly went back to keyboards in the Passport and Priv.

What do you guys think of this new device? Let us know in the comments below.