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Blackberry KEYone Brings Back The Physical Keyboard At MWC 2017

28 February 2017

The smartphone is aimed at establishing BlackBerry's phased out brand especially in the corporate sector by TCL which signed a deal with BlackBerry to design, build and sell the branded mobile devices. Called KEYone, for BlackBerry this phone marks a return to its roots.

TCL announced its first BlackBerry smartphone with the BlackBerry KEYone during MWC 2017. It has a 32GB of inbuilt storage that is expandable via microSD card (up to 2TB).

Rear camera capacity reaches 12MP on its Sony IMX378 sensor, which also has 4k recording and f/2.0 aperture. It also comes with support for flick typing.

Powering the phone is a 35-5 mAh battery, the largest ever used in any Blackberry device, also boasts a fast-charging mode. It has a 3505mAh battery that's claimed to give all-day battery life with QuickCharge 3.0 and an additional "Boost" charging feature that gives 50 percent charge in 36 minutes.

BlackBerry says that you can assign up to 52 shortcuts on this keyboard, which is far more than anyone might need. 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". The back offers a soft texture, which is pretty Blackberry-ish, again. A lot of people are perfectly happy to tap out their text on glass, but for folks that like the feel of a physical keyboard and miss the old days of BlackBerry, the KEYone could be a nice daily driver.

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TCL and BlackBerry have tweaked the stock Android code to make it more secure, and added a special security dashboard, DTEK, which allows users to check what security permissions each app has requested, said Alex Thurber, a BlackBerry Senior Vice President and General Manager of BlackBerry Mobility Solutions. Lastly, there's a fingerprint reader, NFC, and a USB Type-C port. BlackBerry KEYone will be available globally starting from April and will be priced at $549. The new BlackBerry device is equipped with all the features consumers have come to expect from premium smartphones. Keypad is traditionally the strength of BlackBerry and BlackBerry KeyOne exploits it to the fullest.

Blackberry has also loaded the KEYone with the Blackberry Hub that syncs all your emails, messages and social apps in one place, and the DTEK application to scan and monitor security and privacy of the smartphone.

The device is a little bit on the thicker side, but that provides plenty of space for a headphone jack that is placed up top.

These features were available on the Priv - the last BlackBerry phone that was made by BlackBerry - but they're worth bringing back here.