We have some bad news for BlackBerry fans: It looks like the upcoming KeyOne flagship won't be shipped in April after all.
At the company's fiscal Q4 2017 earnings call, CEO John Chen confirmed that the new device wouldn't be shipped in April as planned, but instead, will be released sometime in May. TCL, BlackBerry's manufacturing partner, won't even start producing the phone until the end of April.
This comes after months of teasing about the company's fourth Android-powered smartphone, which was initially code-named "Mercury" and finally debuted at MWC in February. Speaking about the new plan, Chen commented:
We just launched two phones, or we helped our partners launch two phones. One in Indonesia and that one is shipping already. The second one, that TCL announced at Mobile World Congress which is the physical keyboard on an Android, that one is not going to be slated to ship until probably the May timeframe. I think the first manufacturing production run is at the end of April. So the product looks pretty good, but the worldwide availability is going to be later than May."
We have to say we're very disappointed with this news. The KeyOne is like an old-school BlackBerry with its 4.5" screen and physical QWERTY keyboard. It really is a throwback model in the best possible way, albeit with all the latest smartphone bells and whistles.
The physical keyboard has to be one of our favorite aspects of this phone, which allows users to navigate the phone by swiping across the buttons. The retro-style space bar also acts as a fingerprint scanner, whilst the keys themselves can act as shortcuts to some apps, which is another handy feature.
However, the main thing about this phone that we're looking forward to is the camera. BlackBerry evidently wanted to be competitive when it came to the KeyOne's rear camera sensor, as they used the Sony IMX378. This is the very same one found in Google's Pixel, which received DxOMark's highest ever score for a smartphone camera. And there's an additional 8-megapixel front camera for us selfie-enthusiasts. What's not to like?
To help tide you over that extra month, check out the KeyOne's full spec sheet below:
- screen: 4.5" 1080p LCD (3:2 aspect ratio)
- processor: 2.0 GHz Snapdragon 625 with Adreno 506 graphics
- RAM: 3 GB
- storage: 32 GB (expandable to 2 TB via microSD)
- rear camera: 12 MP, 1.55 µm pixel size, f/2.0 aperture, dual LED flash
- front camera: 8 MP, 1.12 µm pixel size, f/2.2 aperture, front-facing flash
- battery: 3,505 mAh (QuickCharge 3.0)
- dimensions: 5.87" x 2.85" x 0.37"
- weight: 6.35 ounces
Safe to say, the suspense is killing us. BlackBerry's flagship handset is still priced at $549 and should be available nationwide from May 2017.