THE LONG-RUMOURED BlackBerry Mercury is official as the BlackBerry KeyOne, the firm's first Android smartphone to pack full QWERTY keyboard.
Launched at MWC in Barcelona TCL Communication, the KeyOne is no doubt hoping to attract BlackBerry purists with its physical keyboard, which also doubles up as a makeshift trackpad, mimicking the BlackBerry trackpad of old. All 52 buttons can be also programmed as customisable shortcuts, and there's a fingerprint scanner built into the spacebar.
A 4.5in 1620x1080 display sits above the retro keys and under the hood you'll find a Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 processor and a 3,505mAh battery. The BlackBerry KeyOne is the first device to feature the firm's new 'Boost' charging tech, which will get you to 50 per cent charge in precisely 36 minutes.
The handset runs Nougat but offers far from a vanilla Android experience. Instead, on the software front, you'll find BlackBerry Hub, BlackBerry Messenger and BlackBerry's privacy-focused DTEK app, which allows you to manage which apps have access to your personal information such as location data and phone number.
According to TCL, the KeyOne "is intentionally designed to offer the most secure Android smartphone experience possible," as the firm remains keen to push the smartphone towards business customers.
Rounding off the KeyOne's specs is a 12MP rear-facing camera, complete with phase detection autofocus and a large 1.55μm pixel size. An 8MP camera sits on the front, and features an 84-degree wide-angle lens for those who want to, er, "video conference on the go."
"Impressively designed to be distinctly different, the BlackBerry KEYone reimagines how we communicate by offering unmatched productivity and the world's most secure Android smartphone experience," said Nicolas Zibell, CEO at TCL Communication.
"We're humbled to play such an important role in the future of BlackBerry smartphones, which have been so iconic in our industry, and we're eager to prove to the BlackBerry community that their excitement around this new BlackBerry smartphone is something they can be proud of as well."
The BlackBerry KeyOne will be available in April priced at £499. µ
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