BlackBerry and TCL were first to take center-stage at the MWC 2017 trade show in Barcelona, Spain. The companies officially announced BlackBerry KEYone, a new premium mid-range smartphone. You may recall the mysterious BlackBerry device previously code-named ‘Mercury‘, this is it, and unlike at CES 2017, all the details including hardware specs, design, you name it have been revealed. Here’s everything to know about it.
BlackBerry and TCL just went on stage to publicly announce ‘BlackBerry KEYone’, in an unveiling just about all of us expected. Rumors, leaks and reports regarding this model date back to mid-2016, when we first heard that BlackBerry would withdraw from the smartphone business. The company has finally settled the crowd with full details on its new model, which has been made in collaboration with TCL.
BlackBerry, just this past year, disappeared off the radar. The company is no longer presented under the list of manufacturers with a global market share for smartphones. Large guns such as Samsung, Apple and Huawei have soaked up large pieces, with other Chinese brands growing. We could very well be looking at the last ever smartphone with BlackBerry’s logo flanked on it. KEYone, BlackBerry’s new phone, lines up with the majority of leaks. It’s aimed at the premium mid-range category, one that has grown to be among the most popular for Android smartphones of late.
The BlackBerry KEYone is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 processor backed with 3GB of RAM. It includes 32GB of internal storage, but can expanded to house an additional 2TB of data space through its built-in microSD card slot. This is something we haven’t seen all BlackBerry models include in the past, so it’s nice to see the option has been given. The device’s screen measures 4.5-inches across its diagonal and is of a Full HD resolution of 1620 x 1080 pixels. Despite the small body, the handset packs a monstrous battery capacity of 3,505mAh with support for Quick Charge 3.0.
On the camera side of things, the BlackBerry KEYone includes a 12MP sensor on the rear with an f/2.0 aperture and pixel size of 1.55um. This will allow shots to carry more light in even the darkest surrounding conditions. As for the front camera, it is contains 8MP and has an aperture of f/2.2.
The BlackBerry KEYone will run Google’s latest Android 7.1 Nougat software pre-loaded. This means you’ll have access to all the latest goodies such as doze on the go, bundled notifications, split screen multitasking, enhanced security, new emojis, and a new Vulkan API for better overall graphics performance. You’ll also have some Android 7.1 Nougat exclusive features like app shortcuts, GIF touch keyboard support, live wallpaper metadata, and more. On top of all this, you’ll also get BlackBerry and TCL’s latest and greatest features, which include a full-blown productivity suite and security enhancements that are among the best out there. BlackBerry has also promised to update the device on a per month basis, once the latest Android security patches become available.
In terms of design, the BlackBerry KEYone is just about all we expected. It measures 149.3 x 72.5 x 9.4mm in size and weighs just 180g. Present are both a full-blown 4.5-inch touchscreen and of course, that physical keyboard BlackBerry is so well-known for. This will house a bevy of new features including programmable app shortcuts and ‘Flick Typing’ – gesture based typing for predictive messaging. KEYone is also made to last with a sturdy metal build. The device charges via USB Type-C, which is accessible from the bottom of the phone, which also includes side-mounted power and volume controls in addition to a fingerprint scanner located beneath the QWERTY keyboard.
The BlackBerry KEYone will be available in just one color option for now, and that is of a Black and Silver design. BlackBerry is yet to make all availability notes made, but the phone will be GSM unlocked to work on T-Mobile and AT&T here in the states. That we know for sure. Pre-orders are said to begin soon, and the device will release in stores this April. We’ll update you with the product links once they go live.
The phone will be available for purchase through BlackBerry’s online store linked down below and possibly a few others. Pricing will go for $549 unlocked, a bit higher than we anticipated. However, if you know BlackBerry, this shouldn’t come as a big shock. We’ll keep this post updated as more news rolls in. For now though, you can register for updates over at MobileBlackBerry.com.
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