BlackBerry CEO John Chen recently announced that the BlackBerry KEYone will not be hitting shelves in April as previously expected. Instead, the smartphone has now been slated to ship in certain regions within the May timeframe. The CEO also revealed that the smartphone will likely enter mass production at the end of April, so worldwide availability will not be taking place earlier than May.
The BlackBerry KEYone is the company’s second Android-powered smartphone to be equipped with a QWERTY physical keyboard after the BlackBerry PRIV, and it’s the first Android device bearing the BlackBerry logo to carry an exposed physical keyboard on the front panel below the display. This form factor has become a rarity in the world of smartphones, with manufacturers now focusing on increasing the area of the screen while keeping the overall dimensions of devices to a minimum. Point in case, the LG G6 and the Samsung Galaxy S8 are fundamentally very different from the BlackBerry KEYone, in that they feature extremely thin, or no bezels at all. With that in mind, the BlackBerry KEYone virtually has no competition, but nevertheless, it might still be better off hitting the shelves at a time when more powerful and highly-anticipated premium devices – such as the Samsung Galaxy S8 – won’t steal the spotlight. Whether or not the BlackBerry KEYone will catch the attention of prospective customers remains to be seen, and the exact reasons behind the release pushback have not been revealed.
The BlackBerry KEYone was officially unveiled earlier this year by the Canadian company and China’s TCL at Mobile World Congress 2017 in Barcelona, Spain. TCL is the company responsible for manufacturing the smartphone under the BlackBerry badge, as the Canadian company is now more focused on developing software and security solutions for the so-called ‘Enterprise of Things’ market. Spec-wise, the BlackBerry KEYone features a 4.5-inch IPS LCD display with a resolution of 1620 x 1080, a Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 system-on-chip housing eight ARM Cortex-A53 CPU cores clocked at 2.0 GHz, an Adreno 506 graphics chip, and 3 GB of RAM. Its 4-row QWERTY keyboard is touch-sensitive and includes a fingerprint scanner. The smartphone is expected to hit the market for the price of $549 in the US, €599 in Europe, and £499 in the UK.