The BlackBerry KEYone is seemingly nearing market debut as the device was recently certified by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). The BlackBerry KEYone was officially introduced at Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2017 and unlike the company's more recent Android-powered smartphones – the BlackBerry DTEK50 and the DTEK60 – it carries a physical front-facing QWERTY keyboard. The FCC filing refers to the device by the model number "BBB100-1" and in addition, it confirms that the BlackBerry KEYone was manufactured by the same company that built the DTEK series, i.e. China's TCL Corporation.
Indeed, although the BlackBerry brand continues to live on, the new BlackBerry-branded smartphones are manufactured under license by China's TCL and the same goes for the BlackBerry KEYone. Meanwhile, BlackBerry is largely refocusing its efforts on becoming a software company catering to 'Enterprise of Things' security but nevertheless, the BlackBerry KEYone does look like a pure BlackBerry device complete with a physical QWERTY keyboard. In fact, BlackBerry did mention in the past that future smartphones built by partners will continue to rely on BlackBerry's technologies and expertise in creating physical mobile keyboards. Otherwise, as far as hardware specifications are concerned, the BlackBerry KEYone carries a 4.5-inch IPS LCD display with a resolution of 1620 x 1080 and a pixel density of 434 pixels per inch, and is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 System-on-Chip housing eight Cortex-A53 cores clocked at up to 2.0GHz, along with the Adreno 506 graphics chip. The smartphone also carries 3GB of RAM and 32GB of internal storage expandable via a microSD slot. The back panel holds a 12-megapixel main camera with phase detection autofocus and a two-tone dual-LED flash, whereas the front panel accommodates an 8-megapixel sensor with an f/2.2 aperture. The components rely on a 3,505mAh battery and the smartphone runs Android 7.1 Nougat out of the box, preloaded with a variety of BlackBerry applications including Hub and BlackBerry Messenger.
According to the Canadian tech giant, the BlackBerry KEYone will be released in April across the globe. With FCC approvals in tow, the smartphone is now one step closer to market debut and BlackBerry's retail partners could soon begin offering the device on pre-orders. Pricing details are currently unknown but either way, the BlackBerry KEYone is a relatively unique device in the world of Android smartphones where physical QWERTY keyboards have been almost entirely phased out in recent years.