BlackBerry KEYone is a new Android phone with a physical QWERTY keyboard


UPDATE: It looks like the BlackBerry KEYone will be offered by all four major US carriers.

UPDATE 2: Now TCL is walking back the statement about the KEYone coming to all four US carriers, saying that it may come to all four but confirming that it’ll work on all four.


ORIGINAL: BlackBerry is back with a new phone, and unlike its past couple of releases, this one’s got a physical keyboard.

The BlackBerry KEYone — which is actually made by TCL Communication — runs Android 7.1 Nougat on a 4.5-inch 1620×1080 LCD screen with a 3:2 aspect ratio, and below that display is a physical keyboard with a few tricks. For example, you can program the buttons to be shortcuts to contacts and apps, like making the “B” button launch the browser.

The KEYone’s keyboard also doubles as a trackpad, letting you scroll through webpages and emails without having to touch the screen. You can use the keyboard to flick predictive text onto the display, too, and the keyboard’s space bar includes a fingerprint reader.

Around back, the KEYone’s features a 12-megapixel camera with a Sony IMX378 sensor and large 1.55µm pixels, which is similar to the camera on the Google Pixel. The KEYone’s front-facing camera is of the 8-megapixel variety and it includes a wide angle lens.

The BlackBerry KEYone’s shell includes an aluminum frame and soft textured back. Inside that shell is an octa-core Snapdragon 625 processor, 3GB of RAM, 32GB of storage, a microSD slot, NFC, a 3505mAh battery, Quick Charge support, and USB Type-C. The KEYone’s comes preloaded with Android 7.1 Nougat, which is notable since the only other phones running 7.1 right now are Nexuses and Pixels.

Cellular connectivity on the KEYone includes GSM 850/900/1800/1900, HSPA+ bands 1, 2, 4, 5, and 8, and LTE bands 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 12, 17, 19, 20, 28, 29, 30, 38, 39, 40, and 41.

The BlackBerry KEYone will officially launch in April for $549. With its physical keyboard packed into a candy bar form factor, the KEYone is definitely one of the more interesting Android phones that we’ve seen lately. It’s unclear if the KEYone will be sold by T-Mobile in the US, but buying one unlocked and throwing your T-Mo SIM in it is always an option.

What do you think of the BlackBerry KEYone?

Sources: BlackBerry (1), (2)

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  • Verizonthunder

    Overpriced, just buy a Samsung Galaxy S7 $360, S7 edge $480, or LG G5 for $405. Sadly, another company goes extinct.

    • Bklynman

      They are far from being extinct,they are mainly doing other things than just making handsets.I am glad that they are getting back in the game with handsets,believe or not so is Nokia. You are right it is over price,it should be about $400-$450, Then all android phones are over price,just go to ebay or swappa,see how low the prices are phones from just 1yr ago are going for now,heck even the mighty iphone has taken a hit on the use phone market. The more choices we have,better for us,lower prices,the phones you mention will soon be eol.

      • Verizonthunder

        Nokia is reliable, and well built never compare them to blackberry hehe. Love the Nokia e71 best phone. Yes, I’m aware blackberry dabbles in other business, but management blew it.

      • I agree. Everyone cries that they’re tired of SamApple, but when legit competitors arrive, they complain about price, one or two features, or a couple of tech specs that have very little impact of real world use short of gaming.

        • Bklynman

          I like when I read views about tablets,people complaint about the camera not being all that good, LoL, yea, you buy a tablet because of the camera,give me a break.

  • Jose

    625 chip? Very disappointed. Was hoping for something more. Nice surprise on the camera but still blah.

    • Acdc1a

      The new 600 series are a huge upgrade from the old. Still, at $550 I’d like to see an 821.

    • The focus seems to be on maximizing battery life, which is why the went with IPS over AMOLED this time. While the Priv was really nice for what it was and the battery life was decent after the upgrades, this looks like it’s aimed for people that do a lot of communicating and who want the luxury of going all day without a charge if not longer. I kind of wish it had wireless charging (not that I use it yet, but the option is nice), but the size of this is really nice. I personally don’t care for the larger size of some of these phones.

  • gmo8492

    If it was in the $300 range then this could be a very competitive midranger. But that price definitely needs to come down if they plan on moving these faster than previous BB phones.

    • DCD

      why stop at 300? why not complain that the phone isn’t 100 dollars? or 25?

      • steadymobb

        Realistically it should be around $400 for the specs. BB needs to do something to win back some market.

      • Time for a drink

        They could give ME $400 to take the phone and I still wouldn’t take it.

  • I’m pretty excited to check this out in person along with LG’s phone. I’ll do what I normally do and give a fair look at Samsung and Apple too. I’ve had the Priv for over a year, and it’s been a great phone for me in terms of size and performance, given my lifestyle. If I want to play games, I’ll use my tablet. My phones are for everything else (music, social media, communication, etc.). Going all-in on a PKB with an emphasis on battery life seems *really* appealing right now, especially in light of a good longterm experience with the Priv at the moment.

  • Zacamandapio

    As a BlackBerry user, BlackBerry can’t release a midrange device with premium pricing.
    This would have been perfect at $350 in my opinion.
    However, I’ll buy one when the pricing drops (which will be pretty fast).

  • MidloJagz

    As one that wants a QWERTY and is now accepting WP is dead.. If the camera is good I will be getting this to replace my 950XL.

  • Emerson Haisley

    With the CEO and such, I can’t imagine Chen giving any thought to his company reputation thev’e cost the carriers aa lot of money outsourcing to manufactures for their android device. Chen can lay off his entire hardware department and cost the carriers million’s of dollars to support BlackBerry devices. I wouldn’t be surprised Chen leaves BlackBerry and BlackBerry can become more than a sock puppet with a Mexico stamp