It has been a strange 2017 for the BlackBerry KEYone but TCL will finally rollout the device globally on April 27.
TCL initially unveiled the BlackBerry KEYone at CES 2017, and then again at Mobile World Congress in February. After both “unveilings”, the device was expected to ship in April, with distribution dates supplied, but during the company’s fiscal Q4 2017 earnings call, BlackBerry CEO John Chen said that the phone wouldn’t ship until May.
The BlackBerry KEYone will launch with Selfridges on the 27th April, which is the Global launch date for the device. Unfortunately, availability for other UK outlets will be pushed back to mid/end of May.
While the global launch will be April 27, you can expect that availablity will vary from country to country, probably running into May for many.
TCL / TCT / BlackBerry Mobile (yeah I know, it is a lot of monikers) seem to have been pushing the Android smartphone with the physical keyboard heavily towards BlackBerry “fans”, a very niche audience. However, this is a device that could be of more interest to Enterprise companies, and is more than likely where the majority of sales will come from.
Of course, Samsung has announced the Galaxy S8 and S8+, with the flagship device immediately up for pre-order with availability from April 28th, with some retailers making the device available from April 20th.
It would have been beneficial if TCL could have had the BlackBerry KEYone available before the S8 and how the delay will impact any sales of the physical keyboard smartphone remains to be seen. In theory, both devices cater to two very different audiences but publicity of the KEYone’s release just may be drowned by the general release of the Galaxy S8 and S8+.
Out of the box, the KEYone runs Android 7.1 – giving users access to the entire Google Play store and apps – and will receive Google security patch updates. It comes loaded with BlackBerry Hub, bringing all your messages into one consolidated place; including emails, texts and messages from any social media account. Another benefit of BlackBerry Hub, is the ability to manage multiple email accounts without switching between apps, with support for Gmail, Yahoo Mail, Outlook, Microsoft Exchange accounts, and many other IMAP and POP3 email providers.
It includes Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0 technology, making it possible for the 3505 mAh battery on the KEYone – the largest ever in a BlackBerry device, to receive up to 50 percent charge in roughly 36 minutes. And for when you only have a few moments to grab a fast charge, BlackBerry’s Boost can turbo charge your battery to get you the most charge with the limited time you have.
On the left edge is the BlackBerry Convenience Key that can be customized for different operations. In between the display and QWERTY keyboard are the three capacitive navigation buttons for back, home, and multi-tasking (from left to right).
Connectivity options include 4G LTE, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, NFC, GPS, 3.5mm Audio port, and USB Type-C port. With the NFC and fingerprint sensor, the KeyOne can be used for making payments using the Android Pay.
The BlackBerry KEYone will be priced at or under €599 EUR/£499 GBP/$549 USD.
BlackBerry KEYone Specs
|Operating system||Android 7.1 Nougat|
3:2 Aspect Ratio
|Processor||Qualcomm Snapdragon 625
Adreno 506 GPU
|Expandable||microSD up to 2TB|
|Rear Camera||12MP (1.55 micron) f/2.0, PDAF
dual-tone LED flash
HDR, 4K, 30fps
|Front Camera||8MP f/2.2
|Charging||Quick Charge 3.0
|Security||DTEK security suite
FIPS 140-2 Full Disk Encryption
Android For Work, Google Play for Work
|Connectivity||Wi-Fi 802.11ac, 5GHz, Bluetooth 4.2 LE, NFC
|Network (NA GSM)||LTE Band 1/2/3/4/5/7/8/12/13/17/19/20/28/29/30
TD-LTE Band 38/39/40/41
|Network (NA CDMA)||LTE Band 1/2/3/4/5/7/12/13/20/25/26/28/29/30
TD-LTE Band 41
CDMA BC 0/1/10
|Network (EMEA)||LTE Band 1/2/3/4/5/7/8/13/17/20/28
TD-LTE Band 38,40
|Dimensions||149.1 mm x 72.39 mm x 9.4 mm|