Our First Good Look at the Blackberry Android Franken-Phone

By Gizmodo on at

Blackberry is betting on you missing those glorious tactile keys that were the company’s signature—which is why it’s getting together with Android to hack together a smartphone called the Blackberry Venice. And today, we got our first good look.

The company that had the smartphone market locked down back in the mid-aughts has been struggling for years now, with Android and iOS picking up where it left off. Yet rumours about a new phone started circling earlier this year: A slider, they said. And running Android, too. Now, we have a leaked picture of Blackberry’s rumoured Venice smartphone, and it looks exactly how you’d imagine.

The leaker, Evan Blass (@evleaks), posted an image of the phone that supports a few of the rumours we’ve heard so far. For one, the rendering clearly labels the OS as Google’s and the handset’s manufacturer as Blackberry. But the keyboard shows little depth, making it seem less tactile that your average Blackberry. Save for slight shadowing, the keys look nearly flush with the plate that holds them.

One thing is for sure: This design is reminiscent of the slide phones of our tech past. The keyboard looks hidden behind the phone’s main touch display until you need it—then you’d just have to slide the screen up to reveal the coveted keys.

The picture also looks a bit reminiscent of Samsung’s Edge phones, meaning the main display will wrap somewhat around the bezel before running into the buttons for adjusting volume or power. Unlike the Edge phones—and many Android phones in general—the render suggests that the software is admirably close to stock Android.

I miss my cool QWERTY keyboard as much as the next person, but before being totally sold on this partnership—which Blackberry clearly needs more than Google does—I need to get my hands on the phone, which will most likely be released in November. And the fact that this kinda looks like an oversized slide phone is worrisome. I’ve seen too many slide phones fall into disrepair, and I don’t want to relive that near decade-old nightmare.

[Evan Blass - Twitter]

By Leah Becerra