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It’s an exciting time for Blackberry fans and for those who have been waiting for something “distinctively different”, as TCL has officially launched the BlackBerry KEYone Android smartphone with a dedicated keyboard at the MWC 2017 event in Barcelona.
The device, which was previously rumored as Mercury or DTEK70, now comes with exciting new features such as programmable keys. You can assign apps to every key of the keyboard. For example, F for Facebook, B for browser, U for Uber, and so forth. (A total of 52 shortcuts with keys can be programmed). And of course, the trackpad allows users to perform gesture swipes, just as in the BlackBerry Passport.
TCL says that the KEYone offers more screen space when typing a message, as compared to an all touch screen in which almost half of the screen estate is taken over by the virtual keyboard. The smartphone features a 4.5-inch IPS display with a 3:2 aspect ratio and a resolution of 1620 x 1080. The device runs on the latest Android 7.1 OS and powered by the Snapdragon 625 octa-core processor with 3GB RAM and 32GB storage. The USB Type-C port supports Quick Charge 3.0 in 30 minutes for the large 3505 mAh battery. TCL says that the battery on the KEYone is the largest ever on a BlackBerry smartphone.
The smartphone also comes with the 12MP image sensor from Sony (IMX378), the same sensor used on the Google Pixel. The camera supports phase detection AF, HDR and shoots with a 6-element F2.0 lens. The front camera of the BlackBerry KEYone is 8MP with F2.2 aperture.
The device has an “impact-resistant, soft-touch” back panel, and features a precision-crafted aluminum frame that helps to protect against accidental bumps. The device weighs about 180g.
TCL has also loaded the KEYone with the BlackBerry Hub that syncs all your emails, messages and social apps in one place, and the DTEK application to scan and monitor security and privacy of the smartphone. TCL has confirmed that the KEYone smartphone will be available across the globe from April 2017 onwards, and will be priced at $550 (approx. AED 2010).