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Here’s The BlackBerry KeyOne; The First BB Phone That Wasn’t Made By BlackBerry


It’s been about five months since BlackBerry announced that it will no longer build its iconic smartphones in-house but will rather outsource them while focusing on artificial intelligence and autonomous cars.

Now there’s a new BlackBerry out by TCL and it’s called the BlackBerry KeyOne which they describe as the most secure Android phone there is. While the phone has the traditional BlackBerry look, it comes with some new stuff that may be appealing to both enterprise and individual users and here’s some key features of the KeyOne;

Keyboard: the new keyboard  provides up to 52 shortcuts and this for example means that if you hit the “I” key, you’ll be re-directed to your inbox immediately. The smart keyboard doubles as a typing pad and a short cut to other services on the phone.

Operating system: the latest Android 7.0 (Nougat)

Security: it features DTEK security system. We first learned of this in the BlackBerry Priv which launched in 2015. DTEK protects your device in three ways namely; monitoring, altering and controlling. Under the control, if your device’s security rating shows up as Fair or Poor, DTEK will help you improve it. For example, you can:

  • Enable a screen lock: Protect your PRIV with a password, PIN, pattern or Picture Password. This is one of the easiest and most effective ways to protect yourself.
  • Improve your malware protection: Google Play is a great way to download apps since it automatically screens for malicious software and potential privacy concerns. You can scan for security threats on the device and you can choose to disable unknown sources so that your PRIV only downloads apps from the Google Play store.
  • Enable Factory Reset Protection: If your PRIV is ever stolen, one of the first things the thief will want to do is to reset it to Factory settings in order to remove the screen lock. Factory Reset Protection ensures that the thief cannot reset the device without your Google account information. This is both an effective theft deterrent and a great way to make sure that your data isn’t accidentally wiped by someone using your device.

Still talking about security, the phone features a fingerprint sensor.

Water resistance: It’s not water resistant and this comes as newer devices come with suhc features.

Display: 4.5 inch display with 1620 x 1080 resolution

Camera: 12-megapixel rear camera and 8-megapixel front camera

Storage: 32GB internal storage but can be increased via microSD

Pricing: $549

Availability: April 2017 in the US with other regions following thereafter

This is the first BlackBerry phone that’s not produced by BlackBerry and this will be the Hong Kong based TCL’s first phone under the licensing agreement with the Canadian phone maker. TCL’s ambition to bring back the brand is doable according to analysts. In fact according to USA Today, Ken Hyers, the director of emerging device strategies at Strategy Analytics’ global wireless practice, believes that TCL’s ambition this year to stabilize the brand’s share is doable, especially given BlackBerry’s tiny volumes. The more difficult challenge for TCL, he says, will be to return BlackBerry to growth.

 “They intend to do that as part of an integrated portfolio strategy in which they go to operators with a range of devices for all customers,” Hyers says. “There’s some merit to the strategy, but ultimately it will come down to features and price, as the BlackBerry brand doesn’t retain a strong following anymore, even in the enterprise.”

BlackBerry shares are under water but that hasn’t stopped the brand from looking at other areas like autonomous cars and artificial intelligence (AI). This QNX division of BlackBerry has now tested autonomous cars on Canadian roads as the company plans to spend C$100m/$75m on its Ottawa facility.

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