TCL officially unveiled a new BlackBerry smartphone at MWC 2017 today, the BlackBerry KEYone. This launch represents the first BlackBerry smartphone released from TCL Communication under a new brand licensing agreement signed in December 2016 with BlackBerry.
Out of the box, the device 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.
Nicolas Zibell, CEO for TCL Communication said,
“Impressively designed to be distinctly different, the BlackBerry KEYone reimagines how we communicate by offering unmatched productivity and the world’s most secure Android smartphone experience,”
“We’re humbled to play such an important role in the future of BlackBerry smartphones, which have been so iconic in our industry, and we’re eager to prove to the BlackBerry community that their excitement around this new BlackBerry smartphone is something they can be proud of as well.”
At the core of this new BlackBerry smartphone is the Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 mobile platform with the Qualcomm AdrenoTM 506 GPU. This means BlackBerry KEYone users will enjoy long battery life thanks to more efficient battery usage and fast LTE speeds for super-fast file sharing.
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.
“We are proud to be working with TCL on the BlackBerry KEYone,” said Enrico Salvatori, senior vice president and president, Qualcomm EMEA.
“The Snapdragon 625 mobile platform with X9 LTE and the Adreno 506 GPU is purpose-built for users who demand superior performance and connectivity coupled with outstanding battery-life.”
Coming to the camera, there is a 12MP rear camera with f/2.0 aperture, PDAF, and dual tone LED flash. For selfies, there is an 8MP front camera with 1.12 µm pixel size. Both the cameras can record videos at a maximum of Full HD resolution. The power button, volume rocker, and the SIM card are placed on the right edge of the device.
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.
“We want to congratulate TCL Communications on the launch of KEYone,” said Alex Thurber, Senior Vice President and General Manager of Mobility Solutions for BlackBerry.
“We have worked closely with TCL to build security and the BlackBerry experience into every layer of KEYone, so the BlackBerry DNA remains very much in place. We couldn’t be more excited to help bring it to market and introduce it to BlackBerry fans.”
The BlackBerry KEYone will be available globally beginning in April and 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|