MWC: Blackberry ‘Mercury’ goes official as ‘KEYone’, ships in April at $549
The ‘Last designed smartphone’ by Blackberry finally saw the light of day at MWC Barcelona. The Canadian company partnered with TCL to handle manufacturing, supply chain and after sales services for the device. Blackberry previously showed off the prototype of the device at CES. But apart from design and aesthetics, everything was missing from specs to software version and even a name.
Blackberry ‘KEYone’ features 4.5-inch LCD 1080p display with 3:2 aspect ratio, Snapdragon 625 processor, 3GB of RAM, 12MP rear camera with same Sony sensor used in Google Pixel, so expect to see some eye-catching results from Blackberry shooter. The device is backed up by 3505mAh battery with Quick Charge 3.0 and boost mode, which helps to restrict background tasks to further fasten up charging time. Blackberry claims 60% of juice in just 30 minutes. The big battery with power efficient CPU should help it to last two days. The KEYone runs Android 7.1 with Blackberry launcher. The device comes pre-loaded with Blackberry suite apps like BBM, Hub, Calendar, Password Keeper, and DTEK app for running maintenance check on regular basis. The back of the device is made of rubber like material, which provides excelling grip/feel and is undoubtedly my favorite thing about the design.
Let’s get to the key element, the iconic Blackberry keyboard. Probably the main selling point of the device, and a reason why you are excited about ‘KEYone’ in the first place. Unlike Priv, the keyboard is fixed in KEYone beneath the display. The old tricks are present here too. One can slide on a keyboard to scroll web pages and navigate through the UI. Assign app shortcuts, general tasks like add an event, write a new note or even call shortcuts are available. People with productivity in mind would really appreciate this neat tricks. The fingerprint scanner is located in spacebar with two tiny LEDs on the side.
The device is priced at $549, which I know sounds a lot on paper. But remember, Blackberry’s main target with KEYone is enterprise and IT professionals, people that value privacy and security over fun elements and also someone who missed the physical keyboard from past days or used to carry two devices. For them, the KEYone makes a perfect sense. The device will start hitting market sometime in early Q2 (probably in April). Blackberry is currently negotiating with US and Canadian carriers to bring their latest offering on shelves. No word on availability and pricing in India.
What are your thoughts about Blackberry KEYone? Are you someone who misses the feel and typing experience of a physical keyboard? Can Blackberry challenge the growing dominance of Samsung and Apple at the consumer level? Laid out your thoughts in comments section below.