BlackBerry's last internally designed smartphone hits the US next month

Shawn Knight

Posts: 12,680   +124
Staff member

The BlackBerry KEYone, the last phone to be designed internally by the storied Canadian handset maker, finally has a US launch date. BlackBerry and TCL have revealed that the KEYone will land in Canada and the US on May 31 ahead of pre-orders a couple of weeks earlier on May 18.

Originally teased in January under the codename “Mercury” and officially announced in February at Mobile World Congress, the KEYone features a 4.5-inch display with an oddball resolution of 1,620 x 1,080 (3:2 aspect ratio, 433 PPI) that’s powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 octa-core chip ticking along at 2.0GHz alongside 3GB of RAM.

The handset also includes 32GB of local flash storage (expandable via microSD card slot), a 12-megapixel rear-facing camera, an 8-megapixel front-facing shooter, dual-band 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.2 LE, NFC and a 3,505mAh battery. It’ll ship running a customized version of Android 7.1 Nougat and of course, it also carries that all-too-familiar physical keyboard typically associated with BlackBerry phones of yesteryear.

The KEYone will initially only be available at the full unlocked price of $549 in the US but carrier options should arrive shortly after. In Canada, consumers will be able to pick the phone up through Bell, Rogers and SaskTel starting at $199 with a two-year contract.

Although this is the last phone to be designed in-house, it’s not the last BlackBerry-branded handset that’ll ever hit the market. The company announced last year that it was stopping internal phone development to focus on software and services. Moving forward, hardware partners like TCL will design and manufacture smartphones carrying the BlackBerry name.

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psycros

Posts: 3,228   +3,469
There is every indication that this is a fine device in terms of hardware, but as with every modified Android, the software - most importantly the UI - is what makes or breaks it. Samsung has went so far down the craptastic rabbit hole that I wouldn't even consider them as my next device. They can't even sort a contact list properly..I'm not even kidding, pick up an S7 some time and behold the disaster. Then there's Blackberry, the supposed "mobile office" phone maker. If they don't bring back the single-character backspace and other fundamental aspects of text editing (which their competitors ALL still provide) then they have no reason to exist.
 

m4a4

Posts: 2,040   +1,920
TechSpot Elite
Just waiting on more details before I consider this.
The main one being battery life (my current Q10 can go 2 days easy under normal use. Rather not have a phone that can't last through 1 day).
 

Lionvibez

Posts: 2,049   +1,421
There is every indication that this is a fine device in terms of hardware, but as with every modified Android, the software - most importantly the UI - is what makes or breaks it. Samsung has went so far down the craptastic rabbit hole that I wouldn't even consider them as my next device. They can't even sort a contact list properly..I'm not even kidding, pick up an S7 some time and behold the disaster. Then there's Blackberry, the supposed "mobile office" phone maker. If they don't bring back the single-character backspace and other fundamental aspects of text editing (which their competitors ALL still provide) then they have no reason to exist.
I'm not sure you have used andriod on blackberry but its very close to stock andriod think the nexus line and as far away from the bloatware that is samsung as can be.
 

psycros

Posts: 3,228   +3,469
I'm not sure you have used andriod on blackberry but its very close to stock andriod think the nexus line and as far away from the bloatware that is samsung as can be.
I've used it..I was actually describing my experiences with the PRIV. I may not have been too clear. My issue isn't with Android being modified, because God knows its the most unfriendly mobile OS in history. My issue is when its modified poorly, such as with Samsung. I have to have a physical QWERTY - I literally cannot use a glass screen. I lack the robot-like motor control needed to be effective and even when I'm very careful touchscreens simply don't detect my fingers correctly. I'm currently suffering with an S7 and the poorly supported keyboard accessory. I would have went with a PRIV but the editing experience was so crippled that it felt less like a Blackberry than the Samsung did. I'm just praying BB will fix their mistakes with the KeyOne and stop trying to mimic Android with their UI modifications. What I need is something that's actually user-friendly but with Android app support. If iOS had a good QWERTYphone option and supported one app that I can only get on Android I would switch to Apple and never look back. Unfortunately, I'm stuck hoping for a miracle from either Blackberry itself or whoever starts designing their phones.
 

Lionvibez

Posts: 2,049   +1,421
550$ for an Snapdragon 625 with 3GB RAM and 32GB internal storage? does blackberry think ppl are *****s or something?

I do think it could drop in price by $50 but its the best keyboard phone they offer its not going to retail for $350
 

bandit8623

Posts: 219   +95
I'm not sure you have used andriod on blackberry but its very close to stock andriod think the nexus line and as far away from the bloatware that is samsung as can be.
I've used it..I was actually describing my experiences with the PRIV. I may not have been too clear. My issue isn't with Android being modified, because God knows its the most unfriendly mobile OS in history. My issue is when its modified poorly, such as with Samsung. I have to have a physical QWERTY - I literally cannot use a glass screen. I lack the robot-like motor control needed to be effective and even when I'm very careful touchscreens simply don't detect my fingers correctly. I'm currently suffering with an S7 and the poorly supported keyboard accessory. I would have went with a PRIV but the editing experience was so crippled that it felt less like a Blackberry than the Samsung did. I'm just praying BB will fix their mistakes with the KeyOne and stop trying to mimic Android with their UI modifications. What I need is something that's actually user-friendly but with Android app support. If iOS had a good QWERTYphone option and supported one app that I can only get on Android I would switch to Apple and never look back. Unfortunately, I'm stuck hoping for a miracle from either Blackberry itself or whoever starts designing their phones.
I feel like swiftkey would work for u. And ive know about swiftkey for 5 years. I think you are doing something wrong.
 

Reehahs

Posts: 1,012   +626
They should have called the KeyLAST, with those specs and that price it will probably be the last.
 

Puiu

Posts: 4,139   +2,748
TechSpot Elite
I do think it could drop in price by $50 but its the best keyboard phone they offer its not going to retail for $350
I don't think you understand, you can find phones with better specs at 150$. at 350$ you are looking at ultra high end.
a measly physical keyboard is not worth that much.
 

TrexAverell

Posts: 54   +40
I do think it could drop in price by $50 but its the best keyboard phone they offer its not going to retail for $350
I don't think you understand, you can find phones with better specs at 150$. at 350$ you are looking at ultra high end.
a measly physical keyboard is not worth that much.
Those who want a physical keyboard doesn't care much about the specs as long as the phone give a smooth experience in the main purpose of the smartphone. I don't think BB "fans" are so interested in gaming or taking pics
 

Puiu

Posts: 4,139   +2,748
TechSpot Elite
Those who want a physical keyboard doesn't care much about the specs as long as the phone give a smooth experience in the main purpose of the smartphone. I don't think BB "fans" are so interested in gaming or taking pics
that's 100% not true. what's the point of getting a smartphone if just by adding a keyboard you have to pay 3x more. people who used to buy BB did it because they had good and secure phones with the best keyboards on the market. we are talking about smart business people who have already moved on.
it's a shitty phone through and through and no keyboard will save it.
 

Lionvibez

Posts: 2,049   +1,421
I don't think you understand, you can find phones with better specs at 150$. at 350$ you are looking at ultra high end.
a measly physical keyboard is not worth that much.
I understand but I don't think you understand its not always about specs.

Time to broaden your view a physical keyboard is not worth that much to YOU!

There are others that value long battery life and a keyboard over screen resolution and games!

And please show me a "ultra high end" phone that is $350 I'll be waiting.....
 

Puiu

Posts: 4,139   +2,748
TechSpot Elite
I understand but I don't think you understand its not always about specs.

Time to broaden your view a physical keyboard is not worth that much to YOU!

There are others that value long battery life and a keyboard over screen resolution and games!

And please show me a "ultra high end" phone that is $350 I'll be waiting.....
You don't get it. a keyboard is great, but that price even trumps Apple/Samsung in terms of being overpriced.

And just because you are too lazy to check for good phones at good prices, here you go: Huawei P9, OnePlus 3, Nubia Z11, Xiaomi Mi5s Plus, etc. If you want you could even buy the HTC Desire 10 Pro (the more expensive 4GB version) for under 300$. for ~ 200$ you have incredibly powerful phones that beat the crap out of what BB offers.
here's an example: link

Like I said before, for 150$ you can buy phones with the same specs (exact same soc with 3GB, 32GB, 13MP camera, etc). you are effectively paying 400$ for a keyboard :D --> you would have to have a really huge fetish for keyboards to pay for this crap.
 

Lionvibez

Posts: 2,049   +1,421
"Huawei P9, OnePlus 3, Nubia Z11, Xiaomi Mi5s Plus"

All of these phone are mid tier and not highend phones.

When someone spends the majority of their day in court with the need to take notes etc a physical keyboard is a godsend. When I have lawyers that make 6 figures telling me how valuable a phone with a keyboard is I tend to believe them over "you have to have a huge fetish for keyboard to pay for this crap"

Out of the two view points one argument tends to have more legs to stand on!
 
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Puiu

Posts: 4,139   +2,748
TechSpot Elite
"Huawei P9, OnePlus 3, Nubia Z11, Xiaomi Mi5s Plus"

All of these phone are mid tier and not highend phones.

When someone spends the majority of their day in court with the need to take notes etc a physical keyboard is a godsend. When I have lawyers that make 6 figures telling me how valuable a phone with a keyboard is I tend to believe them over "you have to have a huge fetish for keyboard to pay for this crap"

Out of the two view points one argument tends to have more legs to stand on!
"mid tier"
I'm sorry but I can only facepalm at that childish statement. Mid tier are the ~200$ phones, low tier are the 100-150$ phones that have BB's specs.
Just because they don't cost 700-900$ doesn't make them anything less than high end phones. In case you didn't notice these phones have full Snapdragon 821 or 820 SOCs in them (the Samsung Galaxy S7 has 820) with 4-6GB of RAM.
If you want the newest SOC which launched a few weeks ago, the Snapdragon 835, you can go for the Xiaomi Mi6 which is 480$ which is still much cheaper.

Before smartphones became popular people bought BB because it was the best phone for internet usage. The keyboard was also the best on the market. None of these points are true anymore. Only blind fanboys would buy BB because it has "good hardware".
 

Lionvibez

Posts: 2,049   +1,421
"mid tier"
I'm sorry but I can only facepalm at that childish statement. Mid tier are the ~200$ phones, low tier are the 100-150$ phones that have BB's specs.
Just because they don't cost 700-900$ doesn't make them anything less than high end phones. In case you didn't notice these phones have full Snapdragon 821 or 820 SOCs in them (the Samsung Galaxy S7 has 820) with 4-6GB of RAM.
If you want the newest SOC which launched a few weeks ago, the Snapdragon 835, you can go for the Xiaomi Mi6 which is 480$ which is still much cheaper.

Before smartphones became popular people bought BB because it was the best phone for internet usage. The keyboard was also the best on the market. None of these points are true anymore. Only blind fanboys would buy BB because it has "good hardware".
Cost is what determines if the phone is mid-tier or not its not based on your definition of the term.

And again you can only speak for yourself. You don't get to determine what is good for someone else.
 

Puiu

Posts: 4,139   +2,748
TechSpot Elite
Cost is what determines if the phone is mid-tier or not its not based on your definition of the term.

And again you can only speak for yourself. You don't get to determine what is good for someone else.
"Cost is what determines if the phone is mid-tier or not"
pfffff hahahahahahaahah. :D
why are you even on a tech website? aren't you embarrassed to even write that?

thanks for making me laugh. I needed that because my head was hurting from too much work.
 

Lionvibez

Posts: 2,049   +1,421
I'm still waiting for you to provide me with a solid argument which I'm starting to think is futile now.
 

Puiu

Posts: 4,139   +2,748
TechSpot Elite
I'm still waiting for you to provide me with a solid argument which I'm starting to think is futile now.
what argument dude? that mid range is not cost based? :D
are you trolling now or are you really serious?
you are asking me to prove that your "water isn't wet" statement isn't true by saying that my "water is wet" statement isn't true without proof.