BlackBerry, the once formidable Canadian smartphone giant, seems to be making somewhat of a comeback with the BlackBerry KEYone. We recently had a chance to review the KEYone, and it really is a solid, affordable, productivity-oriented smartphone, easily earning a Top Pick of 2017. While a black version of the phone has been rumoured for some time, TCL confirmed at IFA 2017 that the BlackBerry KEYone Black Edition will be shipping in multiple markets starting in Q3 2017.
“The global release of the BlackBerry KEYone from TCL Communication has far exceeded our expectations, with our re-imagined BlackBerry smartphone now available in more than 30 countries around the world; and more coming later this year,” said Alain Lejeune, Global General Manager for TCL Communication’s BlackBerry Mobile brand. “We’re excited to follow our initial launch with the all-new BlacKBerry KEYone Black Edition that delivers on our promise to expand our BlackBerry smartphone portfolio in 2017, while laying the groundwork for another addition to our lineup later this year.”
In addition to featuring a new matte black finish, the BlackBerry KEYone Black Edition also gets a bump in RAM and storage space. The new variant will sport 4GB of RAM (the original has 3GB) and doubles the storage to 64GB. Users can still expand their storage by up to an additional 2TB of expandable microSD storage. The BlackBerry KEYone is also slated to get an upgrade to Android 8 (Oreo), although an ETA has yet to be announced.
Other key features of the BlackBerry KEYone which increase productivity and functionality, as we found out in our review, include:
- Includes a 4.5-inch touch display featuring impact and scratch resistant Corning® Gorilla® Glass 4 offering the best in resilience and durability.
- Reimagined communication experience thanks to an innovative Smart Keyboard that allows you to set up to 52 customizable shortcuts and transform each letter key for quick access to your favorite apps and most important contacts. Includes the world’s first keyboard-embedded fingerprint sensor conveniently located in the spacebar and provides added device security and convenience.
- Distinct BlackBerry smartphone powered by Android, with the familiarity and functionality of Android™ 7.1 Nougat giving users access to the entire Google Play™ store and over one million apps.
- Unmatched battery life offering up to 26+ hours of mixed use, and Qualcomm® Quick Charge™ 3.0 technology enables up to 50 percent charge in roughly 36 minutes.
- 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. The BlackBerry KEYone will also receive regular monthly Android security updates, ensuring you have the safest and securest Android smartphone experience.
- Features a 12MP rear camera with an industry leading camera sensor (Sony IMX378) that captures sharp, crisp photos in any light. The wide aperture lens with large 1.55μm pixels and dual-tone flash ensures your photos will have superior color and clarity.
- At the core of this new BlackBerry smartphone is the Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 mobile platform with the Qualcomm® Adreno™ 506 GPU. This means BlackBerry KEYone users will enjoy a powerful combination of optimized battery efficiency and usage, plus fast LTE speeds for super-fast file sharing.
The BlackBerry KEYone Black Edition will go on-sale beginning in Q3 2017 initially in the U.K., Germany, France, Canada, United Arab Emirates (UAE), the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Japan starting at €649 EUR/£549 GBP/$799 CAD/2,299 AED/ ¥79,800 JPY. It will also be available in other markets in Europe, Asia, and Latin America later this year.