Tuesday, 19 June, 2018

BlackBerry goes back to QWERTY with new KEY2 device

06-blackberry-key2 The Black Berry Key2's keyboard buttons are 20 percent larger than the KeyOne's. Sarah Tew CNET
Mandy Jefferson | 08 June, 2018, 08:28

After some leaks, BlackBerry today formally announced its latest smartphone, the KEY2.

TCL unveiled the BlackBerry KEY2, which runs on Alphabet Inc.'s widely used Android operating system, amid tensions between Washington and Beijing over the sale of Chinese telecommunications equipment in the United States.

It will also include a new shortcut called Speed Key, that will allow uses to instantly access apps, contacts and functions from anywhere on the device at any time.

Termed "the most powerful BlackBerry ever", Alain Lejeune, President, BlackBerry Mobile at TCL Communication, described the phone as the "most secured phone" as well.

Featuring an iconic BlackBerry physical keyboard and loaded with BlackBerry Limited's best security and privacy enhancements, this all-new BlackBerry smartphone packs a number of features that are firsts for any BlackBerry smartphone. It will still get a 4.5-inch 1080 x1620 pixels display in a 3:2 aspect ratio, and a 35-key touch-enabled QWERTY keypad with an integrated fingerprint sensor on the bottom. Although the KEY2 will be available for buying in the West this month, in global markets (including in India), the phone will be available for buying in July, BlackBerry has confirmed.

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Around back, BlackBerry's outfitted the KEY2 with dual 12MP sensors. It is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 660 processor with 6GB RAM. There are about 15 BlackBerry apps preloaded in total.

Coming to the handset, BlackBerry KEY2 looks exactly like the KEYone, although a few changes that have been brought in, this year, should help improve ergonomics and hand-hold feel. The rear camera is capable of shooting 4K videos at 30fps and 1080p videos at 60fps. The phone is backed by a 3,500mAh battery with support for Quick Charge 3.0 over USB Type-C. You also have your choice between 64 or 128GB of internal storage, both of which can be upgraded to 256GB via a microSD card.

Additionally, the device comes with Firefox Focus, a privacy browser by Mozilla that prevents web browsing sessions from being tracked. As a reference, the previous BlackBerry KEYone was launched in Malaysia for RM2,688 with 6% GST.

Keyboard has bigger keys with matte finish, and there's a new shortcut key.

We do know the price for the BlackBerry KEY2, though, which will be set at $649.

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