Showing off an upcoming smartphone well in advance of its formal debut can be a risky move for a manufacturer: are you going to generate buzz, or do you risk fans losing interest as they sit through months and months of unavailability? Five months ago, BlackBerry teased us with a new portrait-orientation slider at MWC, without saying much of anything about how or when the phone might actually launch. Recently, rumors have attempted to identify the hardware as BlackBerry’s codename Venice, and suggested that the company could make it one of its first phones that run Android. That very much remains to be seen (to say nothing of BlackBerry’s grander Android ambitions), but today we get what may be another early look at the phone, as a fresh Venice pic leaks.
Unfortunately, we don’t see the phone fully extended here, with keyboard revealed, so it’s not nearly as satisfying as it might have the potential to be. That said, what can be seen appears relatively consistent with what we do know about the hardware, and while we wish this wasn’t a noisy, weirdly cropped (and what is up with that background choice), out-of-focus mess, it really might be the real deal.
There’s also a good chance this could be pre-production hardware, as while this Venice mostly looks the part, a few minor details suggest BlackBerry could be fine-tuning things – things like speaker placement. Hopefully it will get all that squared away soon, as we’re anxious to see just how this phone ultimately goes up for sale.