DTEK image credits

Remember BlackBerry – how about its (DTEK) phones?

Updated: BlackBerry announced it would actually stop making its own smartphones. This is due to the $372 million loss for its fiscal second quarter. Therefore, the DTEK 60 is “unlikely to show up”, as CNET puts it. CrackBerry announced on Monday, September 26 that the DTEK 60, also known as the Argon BB phone, has passed through FCC and WiFi Alliance. However, the latest news give a whole new perspective to BlackBerry phones, even the Android ones. That is, no perspective at all.

On the other hand, perhaps the already approved DTEK 60 will appear on the market. That is if we are to interpret CEO John Chen statement that “the company will outsource that function (the hardware development function) to partners” in a positive way.  Making assumptions that regard other future devices would be however hasty.


Well, the first part of our question/title is perhaps rhetorical. Most of you actually know how big BlackBerry was on the smartphone market, as well as the fact that it still exists.  Some may wonder to what purpose, now that its glory it is but a pale shadow. Nevertheless the second question might find some in doubt.

DTEK 50 is the second BlackBerry device operating on Android. The first one was of course, BlackBerry Priv. Released this summer, on July 26, 2016, DTEK 50 didn’t quite stir a big buzz. Adding to this the fact that people were enjoying their summer vacation, DTEK 50 was the star of a very limited show.

The device’s reception was mixed. The specialists quickly assimilated it as yet another phone in its class, recommended for bulk mid-range smartphones purchases. Companies that felt they did not want to acquisition high-end smartphones for their employees, yet wanted to offer a better-than-cheap device could use the DTEK 50.

Why DTEK “phones”?

Apparently a new DTEK, branded DTEK 60, is in the works. BlackBerry aims to improve this DTEK 50  new version in various ways. More precisely the upgrades concern “the lack of a fingerprint sensor and those cut-down specs”.

The detailed specs are available by following the link above. As an additional clue, you may have heard rumors of the BlackBerry Argon. It is the same phone, under a different name. That is of course, if the company doesn’t decide to change the name once more.

DTEK 50 –a summary review

This second Android Phone from BlackBerry looks and feels decent. The specialists have unfortunately qualified it as “boring”.  This is due to its overall low-aiming appearance and medium specifications. Probably not the attribute you want your phone to be recognized by. Especially when the selling price is of $300 a phone.

Nevertheless, it is a secure piece of technology that aims at the enterprise market. Only that the people behind it didn’t put all their efforts into making it a really desirable smartphone. Perhaps the re-loaded version (DTEK 60) will prove to be a success.

First of all, DTEK 50 (also known as BlackBerry Neon) is actually a clone of the Alcatel Idol 4. It weighs 135 grams (4.76 oz) for its 147 x 72.5 x 7.4 mm (5.79 x 2.85 x 0.29 in) dimensions. DTEK 50 features a 5.2 inches display with a 1080 x 1920 pixels display that is scratch-resistance and has oleophobic coating.

The memory is both internal (16GB and 3 GB Ram), as well as microSD memory, with a capacity of up to 256 GB.

The Operating System is Android Marshmallow, working on a Qualcomm MSM8952 Snapdragon 617 chipset. The Android experience is customized so it feels familiar for BlackBerry users. They will also be delighted to meet again the BB pop-up widgets. Additionally they benefit from the BB Hub via this device. What is less satisfying is the slower functionality. It comes from using the BlackBerry Hub inside Android. Here is another thing for BB to improve and remedy for its future similar devices.

As a reader comments to the GSM Arena post on DTEK 50’s specifications, this flagship smartphone feels like a “wonderful device for those who already used BlackBerry 10 phones”.

DTEK 50 – the “world’s most secure Android smartphone”

This is how BlackBerry marketed their new product. The marketers explainined how “DTEK 50™ ensures that how you share the private details of your life—your location, your pictures, your texts—is your decision.  Not all smartphones are equally secure.  With DTEK 50, you have built in armor protecting your personal information.”

The allegations are based on the privacy monitoring features. These make sure no unauthorized activation or use of the smartphone’s camera, microphone, messaging capabilities or location and contacts data are possible without the owner being notified. The phone-hosted pictures and private information are protected by encryption. Overall, the entire phone concept lets the owner remain in control of its personal data. Thus it acts like a shield against malicious tampering. At least that is how the engineers behind this device put it. We have to believe it, until proven the contrary by some sort of demo exploit. So far the DTEK 50 concept embodies a fortress of invulnerable business-critical data, destined to keep users “safe and secure”.

What are the detected issues in DTEK 50?

Coming from hands-on reviewers, the issues identified so far revolve around the battery life. The general performance  is not satisfactory either (under-performing software).

The marketed battery specifications mention the power of DTEK 50’s non-removable Li-Ion 2610 mAh battery. Its longevity supports up to 576 hours in stand-by (3G), up to 17 hours when it comes to talk-time (3G), and up to 40 hours of music play.

The battery per se should deliver better results since it is theoretically big enough. However, the tests performed for battery life determination came back unsatisfactory. All things point to a software problem rather than a hardware one. The phone however benefits from the Quick Charge function. Once the cable and the recharge source are present, the user can get the charge level of the phone up to 50 percent in 51 minutes.

Performance-wise, the slight conflict between Android 6.0 and the BlackBerry classic functionalities would be the main objection.

Bottom line, DTEK50 is way better than BlackBerry Priv. The future DTEK 60 should see some of its downsides corrected. Here you may find the CrackBerry’s review. Enjoy the luxurious photos that depict both hardware and software characteristics.