Founded way back in the 1980s, Chinese multinational electronics company TCL is starting to move up through the industry ranks, not just with domestic TVs, air conditioners or home appliances, but especially thanks to increasingly popular smartphones.
We’re talking both Alcatel and BlackBerry-branded Android handsets, although soon enough, TCL should also begin selling phones under its own name. As for the KEYone, formerly known as Mercury, we always figured it wouldn’t be a solo effort, left without sequels and spin-offs, which Nicolas Zibell finally confirmed at MWC 2017 in Barcelona.
TCL Communication’s CEO revealed “as many as three” BlackBerries are in the pipeline this year, KEYone included, with a “spiritual successor” to the DTEK 50 and 60 likely coming next, no physical QWERTY keyboard in tow.
The mystery all-touchscreen device will probably ditch the DTEK label, despite TCL actually producing the 50 and 60 as a silent partner of the fallen Canadian mobile giant now focused exclusively on software.
But what’s most surprising about the Chinese oufit’s plans teased at this year’s Mobile World Congress is they could still include a late attempt at a Palm brand revival… of sorts. You remember Palm, right? You know, the designer of the first PDA, initial Palm OS developer, as well as WebOS creator, which perished under HP’s management a few years back.
What you probably forgot, or never cared much about to start with, is TCL bought the rights to the Palm name in 2014, leaving it to gather dust. Maybe not for long, as Zibell says “we don’t do things by mistake”, encouraging us to “stay tuned.” That we will.