A TCL Communication-made device identified by the model number BBF100-4 that's widely believed to be the successor to last year's BlackBerry KEYone was certified by China's telecom regulator TENAA earlier this week, suggesting its commercial launch in the Far Eastern country is drawing near. The original BlackBerry KEYone was also known as the BBF100-1 and made its debut over a year ago at Mobile World Congress 2017, with rumors about its follow-up circulating the industry for months now.
The upcoming device is said to be code-named "Athena" and will retain the physical QWERTY/QWERTZ (depending on the region) keyboard of its predecessor, with the newly sighted certificate also coming with a number of real-life images depicting the handset. The source hence suggests the BlackBerry KEYone 2, KEYtwo, or however TCL opts to call the smartphone will upgrade the single-camera setup of the original model with a two-lens system and feature a display aspect ratio that's longer than the 3:2 screen of the previous handset, in addition to boasting relatively minimal bezels. Recent reports are indicative of a June launch, with the handset being expected to eventually be available on an international level, even though it's unlikely to be treated to a global release, much like the first BlackBerry KEYone which took months until it was commercialized in some 50 countries.
Just like Nokia, BlackBerry officially exited the smartphone market as a manufacturer but is still licensing its name and co-designing mobile devices, with its main ODM partner being China's TCL. Last year's KEYone didn't break sales records but was still labeled a success by the company and even received a bronze revamp several months back. Besides the KEYone 2, TCL is expected to introduce several other BlackBerry-branded offerings over the course of this year, including a follow-up to the BlackBerry Motion mid-ranger, a more traditional Android smartphone which lacks a physical keyboard and is presently being retailed in dozens of markets.