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MWC 2017: BlackBerry launches KEYone smartphone for $549

Chaitanya Gudipaty
Chillicious News

The launch of KEYone smartphone brings to a close BlackBerry’s in-house manufacturing and designing. Unlike the models of the past, BlackBerry KEYone has been developed and manufactured by partner TCL. The company had in September announced its decision to move away from designing and producing smartphone and partner with brands like TCL.

The 4.5-inch BlackBerry KEYone sports an upgraded version of physical keyboard that made the brand iconic. BlackBerry’s latest smartphone will hit the markets from April 2017 and will be priced at USD 549 in the US, £499 in the UK, and EUR 599 in Europe.

BlackBerry didn’t reveal plans for India sales at the pre-briefing event held ahead of the commencement of Mobile World Congress 2017 (MWC 2017) in Barcelona.

The Keyboard and Fingerprint Sensor

The physical smart keyboard mimics the heritage of the BlackBerry trackpad by responding to touch gestures, making web browsing, reading, and writing with flick typing a much easier and more intuitive experience.

“The keyboard also can be easily programmed to launch up to 52 customisable shortcuts, such as pressing “I” for your inbox or “M” to access maps. In addition, KEYone is the first smartphone to build a fingerprint sensor directly into the keyboard spacebar for added functionality and security,” BlackBerry said in a blog note.

Other Specifications

The BlackBerry KEYone runs Android 7.1 Nougat OS coupled with the Canadian company’s enterprised and producitivity apps such as such as the BlackBerry Hub and DETK security monitoring app.

The KEYone has a 4.5-inch full-HD (1620×1080 pixels) IPS display with a pixel density of 433ppi. For rigidity and sturdiness, KEYone banks on its ‘impact-resistant nature’and an aluminium frame. Under the hood, the KEYone is powered by a 2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 octacore chip, a 3GB of RAM and an Adreno 506 GPU. It comes with 32GB storage which can be expanded by upto 2 TB via microSD slot.

The smartphone has a 12-megapixel rear camera with a Sony IMX378 sensor — reportedly the same one present on the Google Pixel. It sports an 8-megapixel front camera offering a wide-angle lens and flash.

Connectivity options include 4G LTE, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and a USB Type-C port. For charging purposes, KEYone has a 3505mAh battery that supports QuickCharge 3.0 which offers a 50 percent charge in just over 30 minutes.