Chinese smartphone maker TCL Communication has introduced its first Blackberry-licensed phone with the physical keyboard that was long its key allure.
The KEYone combines a touch display with a physical keyboard to give users more useable space for typing than a typical 5.5-inch all-touch smartphone, along with BlackBerry's security and software, TCL said.
TCL cut the new brand-licensing deal in December with BlackBerry Ltd., which now focuses on making the security software.
The KEYone will be available in April and priced around 599 euros, $549 in line with premium phones from Apple, Samsung and Huawei.
Tucked into an anodized aluminum frame and soft touch textured back, this new BlackBerry smartphone is featuring a 4.5-inch display (1620x1080 resolution / 434 PPI 3:2 aspect ratio) with Corning Gorilla Glass 4 that offers impact and scratch resistance.
The device's Smart Keyboard responds to touch gestures mimicking the heritage of the BlackBerry trackpad making web browsing, reading emails and writing messages with flick typing easy. This Smart Keyboard can also be programmed to launch up to 52 customizable shortcuts, such as pressing "I" for your inbox or "M" to access maps. In addition, KEYone is the first smartphone to provide the security of a fingerprint sensor built directly into the keyboard spacebar, for added functionality and security.
Out of the box, the device runs Android 7.1 and will receive Google security patch updates. It comes loaded with BlackBerry Hub, bringing all your messages into one consolidated place; including emails, texts and messages from any social media account. Another benefit of BlackBerry Hub, is the ability to manage multiple email accounts without switching between apps, with support for Gmail, Yahoo Mail, Outlook, Microsoft Exchange accounts, and many other IMAP and POP3 email providers.
From a hardened operating system to BlackBerry Limited's proprietary technique for establishing a hardware root of trust adding security keys to the processor, the BlackBerry KEYone is designed to offer a more secure Android smartphone. This device comes pre-loaded with DTEK by BlackBerry, offering constant security monitoring and protection of your operating system and apps by letting you know when your privacy could be at risk and how you can take action to improve it. A quick glimpse lets you see the overall security rating for your device and provides simple access allowing you to improve your security status. This BlackBerry security application monitors your other apps, alerting you if one is accessing your camera to take a picture or video, turning your microphone on, sending a text message, or accessing your contacts or location.
At the core of this new BlackBerry smartphone is the Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 mobile platform with the Qualcomm Adreno 506 GPU. It includes Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0 technology, making it possible for the 3505 mAh battery on the KEYone -- the largest ever in a BlackBerry device, to receive up to 50 percent charge in roughly 36 minutes.
The phone also includes a 12MP rear camera with the Sony IMX378 camera sensor with a large pixel size(1.55μm) and Phase Detect Auto Focus. And for when you have to take a video conference on the go, it includes an 8MP front camera with fixed focus and 84-degree wide angle lens.