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BlackBerry KEYone released in the UK next week

BlackBerry’s latest Android smartphone, the keyboarded KEYone, will be available from next week in the UK at a SIM-free price of £499. 

The Nougat-powered smartphone arrives as BlackBerry’s latest Android device to pack a full QWERTY keyboard. 

Codenamed ‘Mercury’, the device had been showcased at this year’s Mobile World Congress (MWC) by its maker, TCL Communications. 

BlackBerry had promised the KEYone would go on sale in April, but has since pushed its appearance back into May. The reason for the delay has not been explained, but the company claimed that there had been an “overwhelmingly positive” response to the KeyOne so far, adding that demand for the smartphone has exceeded its initial supply.

In the UK, Carphone Warehouse has promised a shipment date of 5 May, and the company has already started taking pre-orders for SIM-free versions

The BlackBerry KeyOne’s QWERTY keyboard doubles up as a makeshift trackpad, mimicking the BlackBerry trackpad of old, and all 52 buttons can be programmed for customisable shortcuts. There’s also a fingerprint scanner built into the spacebar.

A 4.5in 1620×1080 display sits above the retro keys and the device is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 processor and a 3,505mAh battery. The BlackBerry KeyOne is the first device to feature the company’s new ‘Boost’ charging technology, which promises to charge to 50 per cent power in precisely 36 minutes.

The handset runs Android Nougat, but also offers the BlackBerry Hub, BlackBerry Messenger and BlackBerry’s privacy-focused DTEK app, which provides more granular control of which apps have access to your personal information on the device, such as location data and phone number.

According to TCL, the KeyOne “is intentionally designed to offer the most secure Android smartphone experience possible,” as the firm remains keen to push the smartphone towards business customers.

Rounding off the KeyOne’s specs is a 12MP rear-facing camera, complete with phase detection autofocus, while an 8MP camera sits on the front, and features an 84-degree wide-angle lens for those who want to “video conference on the go”. 

The BlackBerry KeyOne has been the subject of a hands-on review by Computing’s sister site The Inquirer

Computing IT Leaders Forum logo

Computing’s IT Leaders Forum 2017 is coming on 24 May 2017. 

The theme this year is “Going Digital: Why your most difficult customer is your best friend”. 

Attendence is free, but strictly limited to IT Leaders. To find out more and to apply for your place, check out the IT Leaders Forum website

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