BlackBerry announced not too long ago that it has signed away the global licensing rights to its brand to China’s TCL. What this means is that BlackBerry will no longer be making its own smartphones. TCL is going to develop, manufacture, and sell BlackBerry-branded handsets in most markets across the globe. TCL showed off its first BB device earlier this year at CES 2017 codenamed BlackBerry Mercury and has made it official today at MWC 2017. BlackBerry Mercury has been officially launched today as the BlackBerry KEYone. Find out all of the details about its specs, price, and release date after the jump.
The BlackBerry KEYone’s specs are nothing to write home about, it’s not a flagship smartphone by any stretch of the imagination. It has a 4.5 inch full HD display with 3:2 aspect ratio and 434ppi. It’s powered by Qualcomm’s 2.0 GHz Snapdragon 625 processor coupled with Adreno 506 graphics processor, 3GB RAM, 32GB of onboard storage with microSD support up to 2TB. The handset has a 12 megapixel 1.55 micron f/2.0 rear camera with dual-tone LED flash that supports HDR and is capable of recording 4K video at 30fps. It also has an 8 megapixel f/2.2 1.12 micron pixels front camera with selfie flash and the ability to record 1080p/30 video.
It did spend a considerable amount of time talking about the KEYone’s ‘Smart keyboard,’ which is basically an evolution of the touch-sensitive keyboard that it introduced with the BlackBerry Passport a couple of years ago. The full QWERTY keyboard doubles as a trackpad for scrolling through emails and web pages or when you need to use predictive typing. It has been improved, though, as every single one of the 52 keys is programmable meaning that you can configure the letter “I” to launch Instagram when it’s long-pressed. You get the idea.
BlackBerry obviously talked up the security credentials of this device which runs on Android 7.1 Nougat. The company’s DTEK app, already seen before in previous Android handsets like the DTEK60, allows users to fine-tune the security parameters of their device. BlackBerry also touts additional security announcements and claims that they enable the KEYone to provide the most secure Android experience. TCL has committed to working with BlackBerry to send out monthly security patches for the KEYone.
The handset has the biggest battery ever in a BlackBerry smartphone – 3,505mAh – and comes with Boost which is basically BlackBerry’s take on fast-charging. The battery is non-removable. Additional features include Quick Charge 3.0 support, USB Type-C, FIPS 140-2 Full Disk Encryption, Android For Work, Google Play for Work and BlackBerry Hub which combines emails, social media, calendar appointments, and more in one app.
The BlackBerry KEYone will be available across the globe starting April 2017 at a recommended retail price of $549/£499/€599. The phone only comes in one color – black.