After months of rumors, it’s no surprise that BlackBerry is working on an Android device. But thanks to a leaked video by Canadian phone retailer Baka Mobile, we have our first look at the device in action – and it actually looks pretty nice!
The phone (codenamed ‘Venice’) is running something that appears to be very close to stock Android Lollipop. Hopefully that will mean smooth performance from its rumored Qualcomm 808 chip and 3GB of RAM. Other specs include an 18MP camera, a 5.4-inch QuadHD screen and a MicroSD card slot.
Of course, the headline feature is its sliding keyboard. According to Baka Mobile, the device is well balanced even when the keyboard is open. It also borrows the BlackBerry Passport’s nifty tracking sensor, allowing you to swipe on the keyboard itself to scroll through documents one handed or use it to move around a typing cursor.
Meanwhile Android Authority has posted a variety of leaked hands-on images, showing off the device’s slider form factor and some of BlackBerry’s software changes.
These mostly appear to be on the tasteful side. For example, swiping up from the bottom of your screen not only brings up the typical Google Search app, but you can slide towards the left or right to use Blackberry Device Search or compose a message. Hopefully these options will be customizable too.
You can also add calendar events, meetings and see your agenda right from your homescreen (it’s BlackBerry, after all), and the App Launcher allows you to add widgets or shortcuts, as well as letting you search through your device. Meanwhile the recent apps menu takes a page from Blackberry’s own OS, making your most frequently used apps larger in a tiled arrangement.
The device is expected to launch in November. While some BlackBerry fans will be disappointed to see Blackberry shy away from its own operating system, from the spec sheet and design tidbits we have so far, the Venice is shaping up to be one of the company’s best devices in recent memory.
Here’s to hoping thats true when it actually arrives.