One of the Best New VR Things: Buying a Car

I had a fascinating experience last week. I got to see and experience the new Jaguar I-Pace, the company’s electric answer to the as-yet-unannounced Tesla Y SUV, long before I’ll actually get to see the prototype. I didn’t just get to see the car — I got to understand intimately why the car was created and what went into its design. I got to experience aspects of the vehicle viscerally, without actually getting into it.

My experience was possible due to an alliance between Dell, HTC and Jaguar. It dovetails with a project that Nvidia and Audi have undertaken to showcase cars in dealerships without the dealerships actually having to floor the car. It opens the door, ironically, to an even more localized experience than Tesla has with its store front dealerships.

I think VR eventually will change how we buy most physical things, and I find it amazing that it is starting with cars first. I’ll focus on that this week and close with my product of the week, which has to be this amazing new car from Jaguar. I loved it so much I got on a list to order it.

 jaguar-i-pace-virtual-reality-presentation

Virtual Reality

There are three visual technologies in the process of coming to market right now. There’s augmented reality, which Google Glass showcased and nearly killed. AR overlays information over the real world — usually through some kind of small head-mounted projector muck like a heads-up display. Like heads-up displays, AR doesn’t really change what you see — it enhances or augments it.

The newest of the new visual technologies is mixed-reality, which uses massive computing power to render and blend the real world with what is rendered. In its final form, you can’t tell the difference. It is pretty rough and more proof-of-concept now, with Microsoft’s Hololens the closest to production. That’s largely because it cheats, though — it is more an augmented reality device.

Virtual Reality is a fully rendered technology that places you in an environment. There are low-end offerings that use smartphones, which actually are surprisingly good. High-end versions use high-end PCs, as well as workstations and headsets from firms like HTC and Facebook subsidiary Oculus Rift. They now can create experiences that are ever harder to distinguish from reality. This is the technology that Jaguar, Dell and HTC demonstrated.

Car Showcase

Firms like Audi and Jaguar are working to figure out how to get people more excited about new cars, how to find new ways to engage and drive purchases, and how to assist in the car ordering process. This last is where Audi and Nvidia focused their effort.

Their project enables a space in dealerships where a prospective buyer can put on a VR headset and then see the full range of options. It’s as if the customer’s perfect car were right there. Options include not only interior and exterior finishes and colors, but also features. Customers then can experience each feature or package as they would if they actually were driving the car. They can figure out, before paying for it, whether the car is worth their money.

This is particularly important for newly launched cars. Mistakes often are made in ordering, because people either don’t realize they want a feature or it accidentally gets left out. That happened to me last month, when I got the Mercedes I’d ordered. A feature I’d asked for was left off the final order sheet due to changes made to the ordering system.

Had I been able to see the rendering of the car I’d ordered, I would have caught the omission and not have missed this important feature (built in garage door opener and self-dimming mirrors).

This is just the start, though, and Jaguar, Dell and HTC took it further. (I should point out that the Dell workstations used to create and show this technology used Nvidia graphics solutions, so Nvidia is in both systems.)

VR on Steroids

What Jaguar did was add significantly to this experience by changing the presentation from just a showcase for the car to a showcase for the whole story that surrounds the car. Manufacturers can hope we fall in love with a car at first sight, and some of us certainly do, but a far more powerful way to sell us on a car is to build a compelling story around it. It’s like the difference between seeing actors’ head shots vs. getting to know them and experiencing their art.

They started our tour by taking us up above Earth to about where the Space Station orbits. That gave us an amazing, almost god-like view as they walked us through the birth of the car and built the car out with each storied major component, while both showcasing and telling us the back story.

We then plunged to Earth were we could see the rendered car perform on roads. We got to sit in the car and have each major feature showcased, with Jaguar’s top designer explaining why each feature existed and, in some cases, why particular decisions were made.

As a result, the car wasn’t two dimensional for us. We left understanding deeply why the car was the way it was, and that helped drive a higher level of lust in us.

The Future

I think this is only the tip of the iceberg, because VR will allow you to do this wherever VR capability exists, potentially turning your future living room into a dealership. In addition, you could build driving experiences into presentations and embed cars into other content — like VR games.

The next time you play a driving game, might actually play it with the car you own or the car the advertiser wants to sell you. Finally, they could actually give cars virtual personalities, much like in the movie Cars. Your car, or the car the firm wants to sell you, could be the hero of a coming virtual movie. That would get your kids wedded to the cars you drive and go well beyond what many of us did when young and named them (yes, I did that).

Wrapping Up: Massive Change

This is only one of the massive changes we will see — not only in the automotive market, but also in the appliance market, the home market, and anyplace where seeing something rendered could assist in the offering’s sale or use.

These experiences won’t be limited to VR. As we move to mixed reality, we’ll be able to see products as they would exist in our homes and cities long before they are actually built.

As we move to self-driving cars, this may be how we gain back the fun of driving — by virtually driving in game-like settings while the real-world car we’re riding in safely transports us to where we want to go. I’ve seen the future of cars — and most of everything else — and that future is virtual!!

It is rare I get this excited about a car that doesn’t yet exists. The last time it happened was when Infiniti brought out the FX-45 and made it look just like the amazing show car. I fell in love and bought the first one that came to Silicon Valley.

Well, it happened again with the Jaguar I-Pace, an amazing all-electric SUV that makes the Tesla X look stupid.

Granted, one reason the I-Pace makes the Tesla X look stupid is that Tesla apparently missed the meeting that explained “SUV” means “sport utility vehicle.” The X is not sporty — you’d never take it off-road — and it has poor utility, because the back seat doesn’t fold down.

The X is also incredibly unreliable because of an excess of tech, like the electric gull wing doors, which not only are wicked expensive, but also seem to break constantly.

The I-Pace, in contrast, uses more advanced batteries that help give it a range of 300-plus miles. Its focus is on performance: Its zero-to-60 time is 4 seconds, and if delivers far improved on- and off-road handling. It’s all wrapped in an extremely attractive body.

Jaguar I-Pace Concept Car

The only sad thing for me is that this car likely won’t have the advanced rain and snow eliminating headlights Jaguar has been developing with Intel. They’re due in 2020, while the car arrives in 2018.

Although this is a concept car, I spoke with some of the engineers, and it is almost identical to the final car. The only big difference is that it will have a fold-down back seat, so Jaguar clearly didn’t miss the “utility” part of the “SUV” class name.

One of the interesting aspects of the I-Pace is that it uses water cooling. Heat is the enemy of batteries, so that decision allows the company not only to make the car look more like others, but also to gain value as a result.

In the end, the I-Pace is a drop-dead gorgeous car. I loved it so much I signed up to order one. Further, it is a showcase for how VR can be used to sell cars, so I had two reasons for making it my product of the week.

Big Bendy Screens, Chatterbox Robots, and TV in the Cloud

Welcome, dear friends, to Gadget Dreams and Nightmares, the column that’s distracted itself from the shellshock of the election just long enough to cast a beady eye over the latest gadget announcements.

Spied from inside the comfort of a warm blanket this time around are a curved monitor, a robot with Alexa integration, and a cloud-based DVR from TiVo.

As always, we are sworn to inform you that these are not reviews, and the ratings reflect only how much I’d actually like to try each, assuming my nerves hold up long enough to handle any gizmos.

 aoc-monitor

Around the Bend

A little more than four months after moving to a new apartment, I’m at long last about to start setting up my office. Goodbye, Ikea dining table. Hello, fancy new desk. When I actually have my new setup, I’d like to have a monitor at long last to complement my laptop. AOC’s latest is under serious consideration.

The AG352QCX, pictured above, is a 35-inch, curved behemoth with two USB 3.0 ports, one HDMI 2.0 input, VGA, DVI, audio in and out ports, and DisplayPort 1.2. That’s plenty enough for most people’s purposes, though a second HDMI port would have been welcome.

Do note that when I say I’ll have an “office” for “work,” I fully intend to spend plenty of time in that little nook playing games as well, so a monitor designed for interactive action is high on the priority list. The 200-Hz refresh rate and 4ms response time, along with FreeSync (which smooths gameplay and reduces screen tearing), should help make sure I get the bad guys before they get me.

The 1080p resolution is not fantastic for the price — Pounds 699, approximately US$866 — when we’re edging toward 4K and Retina displays becoming commonplace. That’s more a concern for desktop usage, though. The lower resolution will be less noticeable for high-refresh rate gaming taking up the entire screen.

It fits my needs, giving me extra screen real estate while working, and a monitor on which to play games in the off hours. It’s probably a little too large for me, though, even if the curved screen does look great.

Rolling Robot

Regular readers may note that there is virtually zero chance of me giving a low rating to a cute robots with giant eyes, even if those peepers are on a screen and not physical eyes.

Omate’s Yumi has a 5-inch display for a face and can show different expressions, while it has a light ring to alert you to notifications. More practically, it has Alexa integration: A microphone and speakers let you issue commands and receive feedback from Amazon’s personal assistant.

It has wheels, so it is somewhat mobile. Unfortunately, it can’t rotate its head, and while there’s a camera for video calls, Yumi needs to stay in place for that, so you can’t chat to a relative through the robot while walking around your home.

The little cherub is winsome and with the helpful Alexa integration, I would not hesitate to bring one home. Still, there are better-looking alternatives already on the market, and I suspect plenty more are on the way.

TV Everywhere

Less of a product announcement than a leak, the first few details of TiVo’s cloud-based DVR have seeped into the world. It seems the Mavrik saves all the shows you want to watch later in the cloud, and you’ll be able to stream them whenever you want.

Certainly, there are streaming services around, like Hulu and HBO Go, which provide consumers a way to watch shows soon after they air. These services are decentralized, though, and without paying for a whole bundle of them, it’s unlikely you’ll find it easy to watch all of your favorite shows.

A system like Mavrik should cut out the wait time, and save the shows you want instead of relying on each service’s cherry-picked portfolio — as long as you have the cable package to match, that is.

Tivo Mavrik

The box connects directly to a TV antenna, according to the leak, though it appears you can stream both live and recorded shows and movies using an app. Mavrik would have been dead on arrival if TiVo didn’t allow users to stream content to whichever device they prefer to watch on, so in-app streaming is heartening.

There are other cloud-based DVR systems around, though none really have the brand value of TiVo, meaning this could become a commonplace setup in relatively short order. It will require a subscription, of course, but the likely utility of Mavrik just might make it worthwhile. The cost of the subscription plus a cable package nullifies the convenience for me, but it just might stick for others.

Asus ZenFone 3S Max India Launch Set for Today

Asus India is all set to launch a new ZenFone 3 variant in the country on Tuesday, the Asus ZenFone 3S Max (ZC521TL), with a live stream scheduled to begin at 12pm IST. For now, the India price and availability details of the smartphone aren’t known – though we know it’s set to be available via both offline and online retail channels.

Asus ZenFone 3S Max India Launch Set for Today

The Asus ZenFone 3S Max (ZC521TL) sports an aluminium metal body and a fingerprint scanner that’s embedded in the home button at the front. Asus claims that the smartphone can be unlocked in 0.5 seconds and it supports recognition of up to 5 fingers. We spent a brief time with the smartphone, and you can check out our first look below.

The ZenFone 3S Max runs Android 7.0 Nougat based ZenUI 3.0, and offers features such as multi-window mode, ZenMotion Touch Gesture, Bluelight filter, and GameGenie. It bears a 5.2-inch HD (720×1280 pixels) display and comes with 2.5D contoured edge.

It is powered by an MediaTek MT6750 octa-core processor clocked at 1.5GHz coupled with 3GB of RAM and 32GB inbuilt storage that’s expandable storage via microSD card (up to 2TB). It features a  13-megapixel rear camera with f/2.0 aperture, 5P Largan lens, and dual-LED real-tone flash.

The rear camera supports several modes including super resolution mode, low-light mode, panoramic mode, backlight HDR mode, and beautification mode. There’s an 8-megapixel front-camera on board as well. The dual-SIM ZenFone 3S Max (ZC521TL) supports reverse charging capability which means it can act as a power bank for other smartphones.

Apple Said to Revive Efforts to Sell Used iPhones in India

Apple has put back on the table a request to sell used iPhones in India as it negotiates with the government for concessions to start production in the country, a person familiar with the matter said.

Apple Said to Revive Efforts to Sell Used iPhones in India

The company has asked to bring in used iPhones to be refurbished and sold in India, saying it will have the manufacturing infrastructure needed to make them compliant with quality standards, said the person, who asked not to be named as the matter is private. The request is included in a list of concessions submitted by Apple to a panel of government officials that includes a 15-year tax holiday, the person said.

Apple’s last attempt at such a license was met with resistance as industry executives and government ministries cited risks such a move would open the floodgates to used electronics and undermine the ‘Make in India’ program to encourage local manufacturing. The world’s most valuable company is exerting its brand influence at the negotiating table as pre-owned devices will be cheaper and target the price-sensitive market.

The company collects a large number of used iPhones through upgrade schemes in the US and around the world every time it introduces a new device, some of which are broken down into their component bits and others refurbished and sold. India could become a viable destination for many of those gadgets, though local politicians fret that the country could become a dumping ground for ageing phones.

“These phones still have life in them,” said Anshul Gupta, Mumbai-based research director at Gartner. He estimates that 70 percent of phones sold in India go for under $200. “In India and other emerging markets, buyers cannot afford the flagship model so opt for older generation iPhones whose prices drop.”

Apple didn’t immediately comment to a Bloomberg question on seeking permission to bring in and sell pre-owned iPhones.

If permission is granted, the iPhone maker will become the first company allowed to import and sell used electronics in the country. Apple sold just 2.5 million phones last year, about 2 percent of the market, and a fraction of the 750 million smartphones are estimated to be sold by 2020. Samsung is the biggest selling brand in the country but Chinese vendors Oppo, Vivo and Xiaomi are also winning significant market share.

Apple’s latest request comes as it dangles the prospect of setting up large-scale manufacturing in India. Last week, a regional minister said the company will start assembling iPhones in a facility of its partner Wistron Corp in Bangalore by the end of April.

Apple has told officials that its certified pre-owned program would meet environmental and quality requirements and also be open for third party-audits and checks, the person familiar said.

“The government is concerned and will look to framing policy to ensure that India does not become a used electronics dumping ground,” Gupta said.

Facebook Defends Hate-Post Rule in Merkel-Refugee Photo Suit

Facebook told a German court that it can’t monitor all of its customers’ posts for racist language in a dispute over whether the company has to block a photo showing chancellor Angela Merkel and a refugee that has been misused in several hate-speech postings.

Facebook Defends Hate-Post Rule in Merkel-Refugee Photo Suit

“There are billions of postings each day,” said Martin Munz, a Facebook lawyer. “You want us to employ a sort of wonder machine to detect each misuse. Such a machine doesn’t exist.”

Facebook was sued by Syrian refugee Anas Modamani, 19, who became famous after he took a picture of himself with Merkel. The photo later became an emblem of her refugee policies. Modamani appeared in a Wuerzburg court on Monday next to his attorney to argue Facebook must make sure the picture won’t be misused again by its users.

Modamani’s lawyer Chan-jo Jun told the court the picture was posted on timelines of numerous users who added libelous statements about his client, including falsely alleging he took part in terror attacks. The suit centers on a photomontage that claimed Modamani was responsible for the attempted murder of a homeless person. A ruling was scheduled for March 7.

Following the presidential election in November, Facebook came under pressure to do more to address the spread of articles with false information. CEO Mark Zuckerberg at first downplayed the company’s responsibility, before reversing himself and creating new policies to tackle the problem.

Lawyers for Facebook argued that the social network offers a tool that allows users to notify the company to remove illicit content.

While Facebook initially removed a post that was flagged as abusive, it didn’t do so with all pictures that were notified, Jun told the court. The company didn’t take any action to prevent the photo from being posted again or to detect other users who had shared or liked it, he said. The photo wasn’t actually deleted but could be retrieved in other parts of the world, he said. Jun also rejected the argument that there are just too many posts to keep track of.

“Volkswagen also can’t just say: ‘Well, sorry we build too many cars we can’t really make sure they’re all safe,”‘ Jun said. “If it’s about breasts or child pornography, Facebook is very well able to detect all pictures.”

The suit comes while European Union regulators and the German government are upping pressure on Facebook and other social networks to curb the spread of malicious posts. Merkel’s government is seeking legislation that would require Facebook and its peers to respond to complaints and delete such content within 24 hours or face fines.

Facebook rejected a suggestion by the court to settle by paying some damages but said it will consider the judges’ second settlement proposal to block the picture Europe-wide.

“This case raises a lot of complicated legal issues, so we need some time to deliberate,” Presiding Judge Volkmar Seipel said. “We also have the disadvantage that none of us three judges hearing this suit is on Facebook.”

Reliance Jio Effect: BSNL Halves Unlimited Calls Rental for Landlines to Rs. 49 a Month for New Subscribers

State-run telecom operator BSNL on Monday halved the monthly rental for unlimited calling from landline to any network on Sundays and night hours to Rs. 49 from Rs. 99.

Reliance Jio Effect: BSNL Halves Unlimited Calls Rental for Landlines to Rs. 49 a Month for New Subscribers

“To attract new customers to experience wireline services, BSNL launched a very cost effective and affordable promotional landline voice plan ‘Experience LL 49’,” BSNL said in a statement.

Under this plan, a fixed monthly charge of Rs. 49 is applicable for the first six months and after that, the customer shall be charged as per the general plan of the respective area.

BSNL customers can make unlimited calls to any network every Sunday and during night hours (9pm to 7am).

BSNL is the only operator which is offering such a low-cost landline voice plan in the country, said N K Gupta, Director (CFA), BSNL Board.

Last week, to counter threat from Reliance Jio, state-run telecom firm BSNL slashed 3G mobile Internet rates by about three-fourths, bringing down the cost of per GB data to as low as Rs. 36 under a special pack.

“Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) has decided to offer up to four times extra data on existing data STVs (special tariff vouchers) available in the market,” BSNL said in a statement.

Under Rs. 291 plan, a customer will get four times more data at 8GB with a validity of 28 days against 2GB earlier. The Rs. 78 plan will offer double data at 2GB.

Gionee F5 Mid-Range Smartphone With 4GB RAM, 4000mAh Battery Launched: Price, Specifications, and More

Chinese smartphone brand Gionee has launched the new Gionee F5 smartphone as part of its ‘F’ series in its home country. The new smartphone has been priced at CNY 1799 (roughly Rs. 17,600) and is already available in the market. The big highlights of Gionee F5 mid-range smartphone are its 4000mAh battery and 4GB RAM.

Gionee F5 Mid-Range Smartphone With 4GB RAM, 4000mAh Battery Launched: Price, Specifications, and More

The company has decided to make the Gionee F5 available only in Gold and Rose Gold colour variants. The metal-bodied smartphone has a physical Home Button in the front with capacitive navigation keys, and the volume and power buttons are housed on the right edge.

As for Gionee F5 specifications, it sports a 5.3-inch HD (720×1280 pixels) display with 2.5D curved glass screen. The smartphone is powered by a 64-bit 1.5GHz octa-core MediaTek MT6750 SoC paired with 4GB of RAM and Mali T860 GPU. Gionee F5 offers 32GB of internal storage with the option to expand further as well (up to 128GB).

In the camera department, Gionee F5 sticks to the basics with a 13-megapixel rear camera with LED flash, and an 8-megapixel front camera for selfies and video chats. The hybrid dual-SIM (Nano + Nano/ microSD) device runs on Android 6.0 Marshmallow-based Amigo OS 3.2 out of the box and sports a fingerprint reader as well underneath the Home Button.

The dimensions of Gionee F5 stand at 150×74.5×7.7mm, and it weighs 162 grams. Connectivity options include 4G VoLTE, FM Radio, 3.5mm audio jack, Wi-Fi 802.11b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.1, and GPS. There is no word on when this Gionee F5 will be launched in the international markets.

Paytm Gets RBI Approval to Launch Payments Bank

Paytm has announced that it has received RBI approval to formally launch the Paytm payments bank. Vijay Shekhar Sharma, the founder of Paytm, wrote in a blog post that he intends to take a full time executive role in the Paytm payments bank. The company was one of the entities granted approval to launch a payments bank in 2015; it had been targeting a Diwali launch but missed its deadline a couple of times. The first payments bank in India was launched by Airtel in November, which is running a pilot in Rajasthan.

Paytm Gets RBI Approval to Launch Payments Bank“At Paytm Payments Bank, our aim is to build a new business model in banking industry, focussed on bringing financial services to 100’s of millions of un-served or underserved Indians,” Sharma writes in the announcement. “With power of technology and innovation-at-scale, we aim to become a benchmark in world of banking.”

Earlier on Tuesday, Paytm also announced the integration of the UPI as a payments channel to recharge its wallet balance. This means that you could theoretically recharge your Paytm Wallet with the BHIM app. Of course, that money now won’t have to be transferred to a bank account – Paytm had earlier announced that it’s going to merge its Wallet and Payments Bank, so your wallet balance will automatically become your bank balance.

A Payments Bank is – in case you’re not already familiar – a kind of bridge between prepaid wallets and full fledged bank accounts. The idea is that the companies selected for this licence would be able to reach deeper into India than banks, which are more infrastructure heavy, and this would help improve financial inclusion, something that’s become particularly important in a post-demonetisation India.

 

Payments banks can accept deposits restricted to Rs. 1 lakh per customer, and are allowed to pay customers interest on the money that is being deposited. Airtel is offering 7.25 percent per annum interest to customers through its payments bank. It’s not clear what Paytm payments bank will offer.

Unlike a regular bank, however, a payment bank can’t loan money to people or issue credit cards. Also, the payments banks are only allowed to invest the money customers deposit into government securities.

While payments banks can’t issue credit cards, they can issue ATM and debit cards – although again, Airtel, which is the only payments bank at present, has chosen not to do so. Payments banks can be integrated with your savings bank accounts via IMPS and NEFT transfers. This means that it’s a full part of the banking system, unlike a wallet. Payments banks should therefore be able to enable UPI payments – so you could have a Paytm account but still pay someone who does not use Paytm. The reverse would also be true – you could now have a Paytm account, but receive money from anyone with a working UPI app.

iPhone 6 16GB Variant Available for as Low as Rs. 9,990 on Flipkart With New Exchange Offer

In what can be considered as the biggest discount yet, Apple’s iPhone 6 Space Grey Variant is available for as low as Rs. 9,990 on Flipkart. The e-commerce site is offering an exchange offer that can provide up to Rs. 22,000 discount on the 16GB Space Grey variant, making it possible to buy the device under Rs. 10,000 when one includes the Rs. 5,000 flat discount being offered alongside.

iPhone 6 16GB Variant Available for as Low as Rs. 9,990 on Flipkart With New Exchange OfferThe iPhone 6 Space Grey exchange discount is accompanied with an extra 5 percent instant discount on Axis Bank Buzz Credit Cards as well. As we mentioend, Flipkart is offering a flat Rs. 5,000 off (13 percent) on the iPhone 6 Space Grey 16GB variant, and is selling it for Rs. 31,990. The exchange offer listed offers up to a maximum of Rs. 22,000 discount on exchange of old phones. This discount varies depending on the model, but we discovered that exchanging the iPhone 6s garners the maximum discount. However, it is unlikely that anyone would exchange their 3D Touch-enabled iPhone 6s for a two-year-old iPhone 6 unit.The company is also touting an additional Rs. 2,000 off on regular exchange value.

The iPhone 6 16GB Silver variant has not got the Rs. 5,000 price cut, and is available for Rs. 36,990. However, the exchange offer is applicable offering a maximum of up to Rs. 20,000 discount. The iPhone 6 was launched in 2015, while the latest phone from Apple is the iPhone 7. Flipkart is offering an exchange discount of up to Rs. 20,000 on all of iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus models.

The big highlights of the iPhone 7 are that the base variant has been bumped up to 32GB, the physical press of the Home Button and the 3.5mm audio jack have been removed. The larger iPhone 7 Plus also introduced a dual camera setup for the first time.

BlackBerry Mercury aka DTEK70 With QWERTY Keyboard Teased on Video

The upcoming BlackBerry Android smartphone complete with a physical keyboard, thought to be codenamed BlackBerry Mercury and called the DTEK70, has been teased in a short video posted by TCL President and General Manager Steve Cistulli. Even though the clip is of relatively short duration, it does give a glimpse of the physical QWERTY keyboard present on the upcoming BlackBerry Mercury smartphone. Referring to the physical keyboard on the BlackBerry Mercury, Cistulli said “imPRESSively designed. distinctly different,” in his Twitter post.
BlackBerry Mercury aka DTEK70 With QWERTY Keyboard Teased on VideoTo recall, BlackBerry CEO John Chen in November said that the company would be making one last smartphone – a QWERTY offering – before licensing the brand to third-party manufacturers. This phone is thought to be codenamed Mercury, and be launched as the BlackBerry DTEK70.

The BlackBerry Mercury smartphone was previously leaked in live images last month. The images leaked on Chinese micro-blogging website Weibo suggested that the BlackBerry Mercury will feature a physical keyboard. The phone is expected to run on Android 7.0 Nougat and sport a 4.5-inch display with an unusual 1080×1620 pixel screen resolution along with 420ppi pixel density.

BlackBerry Mercury has been tipped to be powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 processor coupled with 3GB of RAM. The BlackBerry Mercury has also been suggested to come with a better-than-average battery life. The inbuilt storage on the phone is expected to be 32GB. In terms of optics, BlackBerry Mercury is expected to come with an 18-megapixel rear camera and an 8-megapixel camera at front for taking selfies.

More details of the BlackBerry Mercury are expected to be revealed at CES, where the phone is expected to be launched by TCL.