New Delhi: Chinese smartphone maker TCL Communications on Sunday launched its first Android smartphone with QWERTY keypad — BlackBerry KEYone.
The company launched the smartphone at the sidelines of the Mobile World Congress 2017 (MWC 2017) tradeshow in Barcelona, Spain. Formerly codenamed Mercury, the smartphone was first showcased at CES 2017 in Las Vegas, US.
The BlackBerry KEYone will be available in select countries including the US and European region starting April this year at $549 (roughly Rs 36,500). The smartphone’s India launch date and availability have not been announced so far by the company. For those unaware, TCL Communications got exclusive licence to manufacture and sell ‘BlackBerry’ branded smartphones last year. The company is famous for its budget TVs and also manufactures Alcatel-branded handsets.
The all-new BlackBerry KEYone has a 4.5-inch IPS display with full-HD (1080×1920 pixels) resolution and pixel density of 433ppi. The Android 7.1 Nougat-based smartphone is powered by a mid-range processor, the Qualcomm Snapdragon 625, clubbed with 3GB RAM and Adreno 506 GPU.It comes with 32GB inbuilt storage, which can be expanded via a microSD card up to 2TB.
On the optics front, the BlackBerry KEYone sports a 12MP Sony IMX378 sensor, which is said to be the same as that in Google Pixel smartphones. The camera comes with f/2.0 aperture and dual-tone LED flash. It can record videos in 4K resolution as well. There’s also an 8MP front-facing shooter with wide-angle lens and f/2.2 aperture.
The BlackBerry KEYone is powered by a 3505mAh non-removable battery, which is claimed to be the largest ever battery capacity in a BlackBerry smartphone. The new BlackBerry comes with Type-C port and there’s something called ‘Boost’ inside the handset. Essentially a fast-charging technology, it works in tandem with Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0 technology. Connectivity options of the smartphone include Wi-Fi, 4G, NFC, GPS, Bluetooth and 3.5mm headphone jack. BlackBerry Smart Hub also comes as a part of the new smartphone.
As mentioned above too, the BlackBerry KEYone is not a typical smartphone with touch screen. There’s also a physical ‘Smart’ QWERTY keyboard. Each key can be customised to launch new applications as well. This means there could be 52 shortcuts to launch different applications. The Canadian smartphone maker has also added a fingerprint sensor at the keyboard’s spacebar.