The BlackBerry KeyOne is the next handset bearing the struggling smartphone brand’s name, and unsurprisingly, TCL is marketing it as the world’s most secure Android phone. That’s pretty much the same tagline BlackBerry used for the Android smartphones it churned out in the final years before it stopped making its own phones. Now the company licenses its brand, with TCL having secured the rights in most global markets.
BlackBerry KeyOne revealed at MWC
TCL showed off the BlackBerry KeyOne at Mobile World Congress, and management called it the “beginning of a new story” for the Canadian brand. The KeyOne is TCL’s first attempt at making a Blackberry-branded phone, and it bears the trademark QWERTY keyboard the Canadian firm became known for when it started making smartphones more than a decade ago.
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There’s no mistaking the BlackBerry KeyOne for a smartphone from any other brand, and not only because of the keyboard. It basically looks like an updated version. It has keys that can be programmed for shortcuts based on the user’s preference, with support for up to 52 shortcuts included. The phone’s keyboard also can be used as a trackpad.
BlackBerry software included on the KeyOne
BlackBerry fans will also find all the trademark software on the KeyOne, such as BlackBerry Hub, which combines all the user’s various communications into one platform. The phone also features the security software found on the DTEK phones, and TCL claims that the battery will last all day. It has quick charging and can supposedly get up to a half charge in roughly 36 minutes. The phone runs on a Qualcomm 625 chip, uses a USB-C connector and comes loaded with Android Nougat 7.1 out of the box.
The BlackBerry KeyOne has a 4.5-inch display with a resolution of 1620 x 1080. The rear-facing camera is 12 megapixels, while the front-facing camera is 8 megapixels. There’s only one option for internal storage, which is 32 gigabytes, but the microSD card slot can support up to 2 terabytes of additional storage. Such a massive amount of extra storage is a clear angle at enterprise customers, so there’s no denying that this is meant to be an enterprise device. It makes sense since enterprise customers have always been the BlackBerry brand’s bread and butter.
The phone also features a fingerprint scanner but no water resistance, which is a disappointment because this feature has come to be expected on premium-tier smartphones.
The BlackBerry KeyOne is expected to be released next month and will sell for $549 in the U.S. TCL expects most mobile carriers and online retailers in BlackBerry’s home nation of Canada to sell the device.