We have not heard a whole lot from BlackBerry lately, but if you're rooting for the Canadian smartphone maker, you'll be happy to know that it has not thrown in the towel. Just the opposite, it prepping the release of another smartphone with a physical QWERTY keyboard. Called the KEYone (previously known as Mercury), it will officially be on sale in Canada next month at Bell, Bell MTS, Rogers, SaskTel, and TELUS Business starting at $199 CAD on a two-year term, manufacturer TCL announced today.
"After all the anticipation and positive response received from the BlackBerry community on the BlackBerry KEYone, it’s an honor to offer this all-new Android-powered BlackBerry smartphone to customers across Canada,” said Steve Cistulli, President and General Manager for TCL Communication (TCT), North America. “The BlackBerry story has such a rich history here in Canada, and we’re proud to be part of the new evolution of BlackBerry smartphones that reimagine how we communicate and stay connected with a device that is so distinctly different.”
The KEYone is a snazzy looking smarpthone with a 4.5-inch touch display protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 4. It has a 1620x1080 resolution, which works out to 434 pixels per inch, and is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 SoC with Adreno 506 graphics.
Other specs include 3GB of RAM, 32GB of built-in storage expandable via microSD, 8-megapixel front-facing camera, 12-megapixel rear shooter, 802.11ac and Bluetooth 4.2 connectivity, NFC support, 4G LTE radio, 3,505 mAh battery with Quick Charge 3.0 technology, USB Type-C 3.1, 3.5mm audio jack, fingerprint sensor, and Android 7.1.1 Nougat with BlackBerry Security.
It is not the most powerful handset in the world by any stretch, though the big draw for BlackBerry fans is the 35-key backlit keyboard with touch navigation. Users can also bind shortcuts to keys to bring up contacts and apps. For example, a user might program the "B" key to open up the browser.
Eager beavers will be able to pre-order the BlackBerry KEYone starting May 18 from select partners.