A special variant of the BlackBerry KEYone is slated to launch in India in the coming weeks, industry sources said on Tuesday, adding that the device will feature more RAM than the international model and also ship with a number of other improvements. The handset won’t be manufactured by TCL Communication as the Huizhou, China-based tech giant doesn’t hold the rights to sell BlackBerry-branded devices in India, Bangladesh, Nepal, and Sri Lanka. Instead, the Indian variant of the KEYone will be made by Optiemus Infracom, as previously announced by the New Delhi-based original design manufacturer (ODM). The Indian company is hence allowed some liberties with the product and will equip it with 4GB of RAM, 1GB more compared to the international model.
The handset will also ship with Dual-SIM Standby (DSS) support, offer 4G VoLTE compatibility, and run Android 7.1 Nougat out of the box, industry sources said, adding that the KEYone will likely retail for 39,999 rupees, which translates to approximately $620. The Indian version of the handset will be only the second BlackBerry device with dual SIM support after the BlackBerry Aurora offered the same feature to Indonesian consumers earlier this year, courtesy of BB Merah Putih. BlackBerry will provide software support for the handset on a regular basis, people with knowledge of the matter said, asserting that the phone will likely receive monthly security patches. The KEYone is currently expected to launch in India next month, possibly in the second week of July. The device will likely be available for pre-orders for a short period before officially hitting the market in late July or early August, though it’s currently unclear whether consumers who place advanced orders on the phone will be eligible for some benefits.
While BlackBerry changed its product strategy in a rather significant manner since the turn of the year and outsourced smartphone production to other companies while simultaneously limiting its focus markets, the Canadian tech giant is still adamant to compete in India, the second largest handset market in the world that still isn’t showing major signs of saturation. An update on the commercial performance and local availability of the KEYone is expected to follow in the coming weeks.