Ending the long wait and a sea of speculations, BlackBerry has finally launched its first Android phone from the stables of TCL, its licensed partner. The device is now officially christened as BlackBerry KEYone and we, therefore, bid adieu to BlackBerry Mercury. BlackBerry launched this device at a specially organized event in Barcelona just a couple of days ahead of the Mobile World Congress 2017 opening on 27th February.
All speculations and rumors surrounding this new device from BlackBerry have now been set to rest with the device itself in body and soul laid bare for everyone to see (and own one, if you please). This new device is obviously a very niche product and one that is pretty much aware of it and not apologetic about it. BlackBerry is consciously playing to a focused audience and one can see that at every level. If you are an avid specification buff, the KEYone may not be for you and for the budget conscious crowd too, the KEYone priced at $549 could be off limits, but yet affordable if you consider some of the more expensive handsets priced closer to the $1000 mark.
BlackBerry KEYone targets BlackBerry owners and those who owned one previously
BlackBerry KEYone is targeted at some of the die-hard BlackBerry fans. The Snapdragon 625 chipset (which generally goes with cheaper handsets) and the 4.5” 1080p display does not qualify for the flagship price, particularly given the price. Thus, if you merely add up the components of the KEYone, the sum may not sit in the neighborhood of $550.
BlackBerry KEYone – What it offers
The BlackBerry KEYone comes with a 4 carrier compatibility for the US customers and the fingerprint scanner goes straight into the spacebar. The rear camera is among the best you can find (same as you will find in Pixel) and a dedicated function key that is programmable and has been the hallmark of BlackBerry devices in the past. QuickCharge 3.0 offers fast charging of the 3505 mAh cell assuring some longevity. The OS is Android 7.1 and there will be monthly patch support for security. With these specifications, TCL and BlackBerry are pitching the KEYone as a device that is good for all phone functions and with these strengths BlackBerry – TCL will hope to succeed in the marketplace.
BlackBerry KEYone – Market Niche
BlackBerry-TCL expects that enterprises will constitute their strongest markets for KEYone where the choice before IT managers lie essentially between Samsung and Apple, presently and many from this class of customers continue to hang on to the older version of BB OS based devices which they are wary of replacing. Though the Priv was expected to come to the aid of this population, the sales figures were disappointing and became the main catalyst for BB to go the licensing route.
BlackBerry KEYone – how does it distinguish from the Priv
Therefore, what are the distinguishing features that the KEYone brings along for those who walked away from the Priv? Well, for one, the Snapdragon 625 is known to be conservative with regard to power consumption and when we put the 3505mAH battery and the 4.5” LCD with 1080 resolution into perspective, the KEYone should last at least two full days for most people. In the days to come, we would expect some of the users with heavy usage to share their experience on the ground.