The Android-powered BlackBerry KEYone is now officially available from Sprint’s physical retail locations across the United States. Sprint was the first carrier in the country to offer the BlackBerry KEYone, as it started selling the smartphone earlier this month. Up until now, however, the handset was only available online, with Sprint only saying that it will start offering the device in-store later in July. That day has now finally arrived and the BlackBerry KEYone is now available in Sprint's brick-and-mortar stores so that interested customers can just walk in, try it out, and get it on the spot. The BlackBerry KEYone is one of the few recently released smartphones that boast a full QWERTY keyboard, defying the general trend of smartphones with large screens and as few physical buttons as possible.
Hardware-wise, the handset doesn’t come with top-notch specifications, but it doesn’t carry a flagship price either. The BlackBerry KEYone sports a 4.5-inch display with Gorilla Glass 4 protection and a resolution of 1,620 by 1,080 pixels, and it’s powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 processor, paired with 3GB of RAM. Other key specs include 32GB of expandable storage, a 12-megapixel rear camera with a Sony IMX378 sensor, a wide aperture, and dual-tone flash, and a 5-megapixel front shooter. The BlackBerry KEYone further comes with a 3,505 mAh battery, the largest ever to grace a BlackBerry handset, and it should last approximately 26 hours on a single charge with normal use, the company claims. On the software side, the smartphone runs Android 7.1 Nougat out of the box, coupled with BlackBerry's proprietary security and productivity features.
BlackBerry was once at the top of the smartphone market and its handsets were considered specifically suitable for enterprise use thanks to their high software security and powerful features. As the smartphone market shifted and evolved, however, BlackBerry lost significant ground and fell behind rivals such as Apple and Samsung. The company has been trying to make a comeback for years now and it even switched over to the Android side. The BlackBerry KEYone will not compete with high-end Android flagships such as the Galaxy S8 series, but it doesn’t try to do that, either. Sprint is offering the smartphone for $528 at a full retail price, or at $22 per month on a two-year contract.