BlackBerry KeyOne pairs physical keyboard with Android Nougat

Tweet 23rd February

Tweet 23rd February

TCL chief executive Nicolas Zibell said: "Impressively created to be distinctly different, the BlackBerry Keyone re-imagines how we communicate by offering unmatched productivity and the world's most secure Android smartphone experience". "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".

Though the BlackBerry KEYone is manufactured by TCL, a subsidiary of Alcatel, it is designed in-house by BlackBerry.

It is Android 7.1 Nougat, which will run on the BlackBerry KEYone. And, while the the chip isn't the most powerful available, it's more than capable for meeting the needs of the busy, productive business people and Classic fans BlackBerry envisions using the device.

The KEYone has an unusual 4.5in screen with a 3:2 ratio.

The backlit keyboard, which is reminiscent to original BlackBerry devices, is now attached directly underneath the touch display. The keyboard on the device also packs in neat features by itself, such as the ability to program each key as a separate shortcut, predictive flick typing and scrolling gesture support. Back in January, the company confirmed this smartphone with the codename 'Mercury'. Google's latest update to Android brings a number of new features, including multi-window support and better notifications. This functionality debuted on the BlackBerry Passport, way back in 2014. Like other recent BlackBerry devices, it runs Android rather than RIM's OS, though with some primarily security and productivity-minded tweaks. BlackBerry is synonymous with smartphones with built-in physical keyboards.

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But the new Blackberry Key One phone unveiled at a marque event on Saturday in Barcelona isn't actually made by the iconic Canadian company anymore.

So without further ado, let's get down to what the smartphone is all about.

Beyond the design and security features making the BlackBerry KEYone so distinct, these additional features truly reinvent mobile communications for the business and enterprise user.

Where the KEYOne doesn't match up to the likes of Samsung Galaxy S7 and iPhone 7, however, is raw power, with the mid-range Snapdragon 625 processor running the show instead of the top of the line 835. It comes with a microSD slot that can extend its built-in memory by up to two terabytes and claims to be able to recharge up to 50 per cent in about 36 minutes.

"We are proud to be working with TCL on the BlackBerry KEYone", said Enrico Salvatori, senior vice president and president, Qualcomm EMEA. That said, it should be more than capable of handling most games and apps without any major issues, just don't expect the kind of blazing performance you'd get from a more flagship-class chipset like the Snapdragon 821. What they don't mention as frequently is that this is within the context of doing these things well as a BlackBerry, which really does limit the KeyOne's marketability, yet simultaneously constitutes its biggest strength. There's a modern rear camera (the same sensor found in the Pixel). An 8MP camera is placed at the front with 1.12µm pixel size, f/2.2 aperture.

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