The very first Mobile World Congress announcment is here, as Blackberry has held a press conference in the wee hours of the Malaysian time zone, announcing its new smartphone that was previously teased as the Mercury back in CES 2017, the official name for its new smartphone is now called the KEYOne. As you may recall, Blackberry no longer makes its own hardware and China’s TCL Communications has been tasked to build this device. The KEYOne sure looks attractive with its stylish metallic build, it comes with a QWERTY keyboard on the front while being touch sensitive like the Priv’s, it now has a fingerprint scanner embedded on to the space bar. The keyboard alone takes up a certain amount of space on the front, which is why you get a rather small 4.5-inch display to view with a 1620×1080 resolution.
If you are thinking the KEYOne comes with flagship specs, you may be slightly disappointed with Blackberry’s decision to use the Snapdragon 625 CPU, however this is by far one of the most efficient chips that has been used on many premium mid-range flagships, and it still delivers a very decent speed in running applications, hence this should be more than sufficient if Blackberry is intending to target enterprise users. Otherwise, the KEYOne comes with 3GB of RAM, 32GB of onboard storage, a 12-megapixel main f/2.0 camera and 8-megapixel front camera, and a 3505mAh battery with Quick Charge 3.0 support. The KEYOne will run Android 7.1.1 Nougat and as usual, comes preloaded with Blackberry’s DTEK security software preinstalled.
As attractive as the KEYOne’s hardware is, one can be easily turned off by its price tag at US$549 when it gets released in April at the US market, it is no doubt chepaer than the Priv back then, but if you don’t require the physical keyboard and seriously need the secure Blackberry software with flagship specs, the current DTEK60 is already available for around the same price. In terms of local availability, the KEYOne shouldn’t take too long after its US release given the track record of the DTEK60, let’s just pray that the Malaysian currency doesn’t fall against the US currency further by then.