Is Blackberry about to launch its first budget phone in years?

Blackberry laid out a surprise for us at CES when it unveiled what has been dubbed the ‘Blackberry Mercury’, giving attendees a hands-on demo of the device at the show with promsies of more details at next month’s MWC show in Barcelona. This might not be the only phone on display from the brand that was once synonomous with smartphones however as new reports have emerged suggesting that the company is also set to show off a new budget option as well.

According to industy tipster Roland Quandt (@rquandt), recent leaks show what looks to be a budget Blackberry codenamed the BBC100-1, which features lower specs than the Mercury. The leak suggests it has a 5.5-inch display, but with only a 720p screen, the BBC100-1 (or whatever name it actually gets) should be a cheaper option. 

According to Quandt, the phone will also feature a Qualcomm Snapdragon 425 chipset – a little used chip that was previously seen in the Xiaomi Redmi 4A. It will come packed with 4GB of RAM and 32GB of storage, along with a decently-sized 3,000mAh battery, dual-SIM support, an 8MP selfie camera and a 13MP rear shooter.

This could be the first project from Blackberry’s joint BB Merah Putih venture after the company announced that it was to stop building its own hardware and instead move towards a licensing model. This software licensing strategy is apparently looking to bring a number of Indonesian companies together to work on new software and services. As a result, this new budget Blackberry could be aimed more at developing markets, and therefore it’s unlikely to see the light of day in the UK.

As for now, we’ll have to wait to see what the company has in store for MWC on February 27 to March 2. Elsewhere on the show it is expected that we’ll see the HTC 11, a Samsung Galaxy S8 Edge, the LG G6 along with other offerings from Huawei, Sony and Motorola. 

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