BlackBerry launched its third Android-based phone, opting to price the device cheaper than competing products like Apple’s iPhone 7 and Android-maker Alphabet Inc’s Pixel. It follows the release of the DTEK50 from earlier this year and has better specs and features than the entry-level model. The DTEK60 is available unlocked direct from BlackBerry’s website starting today for $499.
Like the DTEK50, the DTEK60 is based on a reference design from TCL and has a very similar appearance to Alcatel’s Idol 4S. The 5.5-inch display has quad HD resolution and the metal-framed, dual-glass panel design is considerably nicer than the DTEK50’s utilitarian finish. BlackBerry has upgraded a number of other specs in the phone compared to the Alcatel version, giving it Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 820 processor and a higher-resolution, 21-megapixel rear camera. A 3,000mAh battery with QuickCharge 3.0, a USB Type C port, a rear-mounted fingerprint scanner, and a customizable side button round out the DTEK60’s spec sheet.
For software, the DTEK60 is launching with Android 6.0 Marshmallow and BlackBerry says it is working with Google on an upgrade path for Nougat. The company is pitching the device as more secure than other Android phones, thanks to its secure bootloader, Hardware Root of Trust, DTEK app, and quick updates for security patches. The phone also includes BlackBerry’s suite of productivity apps, such as the Hub, Calendar, and keyboard.
The Android-based DTEK60 will be the last phone for which BlackBerry buys components itself, which carries a heavier risk if it does not sell well.