TCL, the Chinese company best known for making affordable televisions and budget Alcatel-branded phones, has launched KEYone, the much awaited BlackBerry flagship for 2017, at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

KeyOne, previously codenamed Mercury, is targeted at those who prefer physical keyboards, as well as BlackBerry’s security features. The smartphone is aimed at establishing BlackBerry’s phased out brand especially in the corporate sector by TCL which signed a deal with BlackBerry to design, build and sell the branded mobile devices.

KEYone is an Android smartphone which comes with a QWERTY keypad as well as a fully functional touchscreen. BlackBerry has been famous for its QWERTY keypad and this time each key is customisable which allows a user to create up to 52 shortcuts with every key on the keyboard.

The phone comes with a 4.5-inch screen with an anodized aluminium frame and soft-touch fabric on the back. The display sports a 1,620 x 1,080 resolution with a tough Corning Gorilla Glass 4 protection.

KEYone runs on a Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 chip with 3GB RAM, 32GB of internal storage and microSD support (up to 2TB). It also sports a 12-megapixel Sony IMX 378 rear-facing camera and an 8MP front-facing camera for selfies.

The phone is priced at $549 in the US, £441 in the UK and €599 in other EU countries. TCL says it has been working to make the BlackBerry phone more secure. Steve Cistulli, head of TCL’s North American business, said that by the end of the year, its BlackBerry phones will be as secure as a BlackBerry 10 device.

“It is the uncompromised Android solution, he added.

Tech Specs

  • Dimensions: 149 x 72.4 x 9.4mm
  • Screen size: 4.5-inch with Gorilla Glass 4 protection
  • Display: 1620×1080 pixel with IPS LCD touchscreen
  • Special feature: Capacitive touch 4-row BlackBerry QWERTY keyboard with Fingerprint reader in the space button and 52 key shortcut support
  • Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 Octa-core
  • RAM: 3GB
  • Memory: 32GB onboard with microSD card slot
  • Rear camera: 12 MP with dual-LED flash and 4K video recording
  • Front camera: 8MP with 84 degree wide selfie feature
  • OS: DTEK and BlackBerry software suite based on Android 7.1.1 Nougat
  • Battery: 3,505 mAh with Quick Charge 3.0
  • Price: $549 /£441 /€599
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