Last month, somee high quality renders of the purported successor to the BlackBerry KEYone appeared online. This week, a TCL Communication-made device identified by model number BBF100-4 was certified by China’s telecom regulator TENAA, suggesting its commercial launch in the Far Eastern country is drawing near.
The upcoming device is said to be code-named “Athena” and will retain the physical QWERTY/QWERTZ (depending on the region) keyboard of its predecessor, with the newly sighted certificate also coming with a number of real-life images depicting the handset. The source hence suggests the BlackBerry KEYone 2, KEYtwo, or however TCL opts to call the smartphone will upgrade the single-camera setup of the original model with a two-lens system and feature a display aspect ratio that’s longer than the 3:2 screen of the previous handset, in addition to boasting relatively minimal bezels.
Recent reports are indicative of a June launch, with the handset being expected to eventually be available on an international level, even though it’s unlikely to be treated to a global release. This would be much like the first BlackBerry KEYone launch, which is still being dragged out, as the Dual Sim Bronze Edition is now available for pre-order here in the UK.
Last year’s KEYone didn’t do so well sales-wise but, with a huge amount of spin, was labeled a success by the company. Besides the KEYone 2, TCL is expected to introduce several other BlackBerry-branded offerings over the course of this year, including a follow-up to the BlackBerry Motion mid-ranger, a more traditional Android smartphone which lacks a physical keyboard and is presently being retailed in dozens of markets.
There are a number of key, visible differences to its predecessor, the KEYOne. For starters, you can see a dual lens camera on the rear. Last year’s models only had a single lens unit.
The side frames and rear panel are made of plastic and brushed metal combo it seems, which look premium in black.
It appears that the KEYTwo will stick with the 3.5mm headphone jack, but in a potentially slimmer build. The keyboard also seems a little more sleek than on the KeyOne.
Coming to the side, there is a dedicated capture button apart from the volume rockers and power button. The USB Type-C Port, Speaker and Microphone are located at the bottom, while the headphone jack is present at the top.
The device is rumoured to come with a Snapdragon 660 + 8GB RAM.