Leave it to renowned mobile insider @evleaks, aka Evan Blass, to untangle the complicated and formerly improbable tale of BlackBerry’s Android debut, once again showcasing the unannounced Venice handheld, this time in full glory.
Yes, the slide-out physical QWERTY keyboard finally poses for the camera. Well, technically, we’re looking at an unofficial press render, not an actual live pic of the device, but it’s enough to definitively answer a pivotal question.
Let’s welcome back the iconic “belt” containing five function keys, situated underneath the three rows of letters and symbols. The awkward BlackBerry Passport discarded that fourth, narrower column, although its return means the keys are overall smaller.
Speaking of the Passport, we get another look at its Google-powered sibling, and the obvious Photoshop work is now less obvious. Translation – this may very well be real and headed to market by the end of the year also. With a largely unaltered outer design, possibly familiar specs, just new software altogether.
Back to the Slider, or Venice, we should mention a group of images “confirm” its pre-installed Android version (Lollipop), and free access to Google Play, alongside skinned support for various proprietary BB services.
Previously rumored to go on sale at T-Mobile and AT&T in the fall, the touchscreen/QWERTY hybrid is now expected on Verizon and Sprint too. This sort of united front from operators stateside suggests the faltering Canadian giant has a winner on its hands at last, which is no shocker, given the “Venice” is tipped to sport a 5.4-inch Quad HD display, hexa-core Snapdragon 808 SoC and 3 GB RAM.
Those top-of-the-line features, combined with the world’s most popular OS, security enhancements and, we hope, a sensible price tag, nearly guarantee the smartphone much higher sales numbers than the BlackBerry OS-running Passport or Classic.