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New phones rumoured as BlackBerry cans BB10 production

Rebadged Alcatel imminent?

Federal government staff in Washington DC have their own private underground metro system but they might not be getting any more BlackBerrys.

A recently uncovered memo appears to tell United States Senate staff they’ll no longer be equipped with the once ubiquitous BlackBerry phones because they are to be discontinued.

The news, announced in a memo (PDF, two pages) obtained by Politico, appears to be the result of BlackBerry discontinuing production of devices that run BB10, or BlackBerry 10, the platform it launched in January 2013. Existing devices will continue to be supported and the company appears to be preparing software updates.

In a statement BlackBerry singled out the Classic device as being discontinued, and said the company was committed to issue platform security updates to existing BB10 devices. It did not mention any plans for future BB10 devices, instead saying it would be “expanding our device offering to include Android-based devices.”

So what might these be?


The next BlackBerry? Alcatel's Idol 4

Three are rumoured, with the first of these, being a secured and rebadged Alcatel device, expected over the summer. The first two are also all-touch devices. BlackBerry has only released one all-touch device (without a physical keyboard) since 2013, the budget Leap.

Leak conduit Evan Blass suggests the first device is codenamed Neon. Known as Hamburg for months on the fan boards, this features a multimedia-capable octocore Snapdragon 617 and 3GB of RAM.

An even beefier flagship, codenamed Argon and coming with a Snapdragon 820, may follow later this year. A QWERTY Android (codenamed Mercury) with low/mid range specs and a 4.5 inch 3:2 ratio display is touted for release next year.

A device with identical specs to the Alcatel Idol 4, a phone not officially launched in the West (but available from Clove for £190 excluding VAT) has appeared on a Wi-Fi certification site with a BlackBerry product code.

The Alcatel brand is owned by giant Chinese consumer electronics manufacturer TCL, which also owns the Palm brand. BlackBerry touts a number of security features for its own Androids, as detailed here. These include booting in the ARM chip’s secure mode, locking down the device from root access, and using the GRsecurity kernel, rather than the more usual SELinux. Presumably all would come to an Alcatel device. ®


Various reports have denied that BlackBerry intends to can all BB10 phones, but The Register has been unable to confirm this. We have asked BlackBerry for comment. We'll update if we hear more.

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