Back in September 2016, Blackberry had officially announced that they would quit the smartphone hardware business. However, it had entered into agreement with TCL, Optiemus Infracom, and BB Merah Putih to design, manufacture, and sell the BlackBerry-branded smartphones. While the Optiemus Infracom and BB Merah Putih holds the exclusive rights for the Indian subcontinent and Indonesia respectively, TCL will be selling the Blackberry devices in rest of the markets. All these devices will be running on the tweaked Android OS and Blackberry will be providing the software support for these devices like the Android OS and security updates.
At the MWC 2017, TCL has announced a new QWERTY smartphone called as the Blackberry KEYone. It was first teased at the CES 2017 event held in Las Vegas in early January 2017. Before launching the KEYone, TCL launched the Blackberry DTEK50 and DTEK60 smartphones that are just the rebranded devices. Though the KEYone is designed and manufactured by TCL, it includes all the Blackberry features along with the iconic QWERTY keyboard. A few weeks back, the Blackberry KEYone was made available in the U.S and Canada retailing at $549 (that comes to approx Rs. 35,500).
Our source has Exclusively confirmed with us at PhoneRadar that the Blackberry KEYone QWERTY smartphone will be launching in India. The device is going to be an upgraded KEYone that would be manufactured in India and the work begins around Mid May while the phones are expected to launch around the 2nd week of June in the country. TCL has no rights to sell the Blackberry KEYone in India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, and Nepal. This is reason Optiemus Infracom is expected to work on the device and will sell them in India. As of now, there is no information about the availability of the KEYone in Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, and Nepal where the Optiemus Infracom is the official partner. One interesting point to note is that the Indian variant of the Blackberry KEYone will pack slightly better specifications than the global variant.
It comes with dual SIM dual standby support and offers 4G VoLTE connectivity. The Blackberry Aurora Smartphone that was manufactured by the BB Merah Putih in Indonesia is the first ever Blackberry device to offer dual SIM support. While the KEYone was launched with just 3GB of RAM, the Indian variant will feature an extra gig of RAM. Since the OS is taken care by Blackberry itself, the device will be running on Android 7.1 Nougat out of the box and will receive the monthly security updates as well. The Blackberry KEYone is said to cost Rs. 39,999 in India and will be available in the market from next month.
TL;DR (PhoneRadar Exclusive)
- Upgraded RAM
- Dual-SIM Support
- Manufactured in India
- Rs 39,999 Price
- Launching in June 2017
The device sports a 4.5-inch Full HD (1620 x 1080 pixels) IPS display with unusual 3:2 aspect ratio. The square shaped display should be good for using productivity apps, but not while consuming multimedia content. Beneath the display is the four-row QWERTY keyboard that supports capacitive gestures and every button can be customized for two shortcuts. The Space bar in the fourth row also comes integrated with a fingerprint sensor and also acts as a shutter button in the camera app. There is a 12MP rear camera with PDAF and an 8MP selfie camera on the front with 84-degree wide angle lens.
Under the hood is the power efficient Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 SoC coupled with Adreno 506 GPU. The 3,505 mAh battery capacity is also largest we have ever seen on a Blackberry smartphone. It also supports Quick Charge 3.0 with the USB Type-C 3.0 port that can charge from 0% to 50% in just 36 minutes. Along with the basic connectivity options like Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.2, and GPS; it also has NFC support for authorizing payments via mobile payment services like Android Pay. Apart from the regular power button and volume rocker, we can also find the Blackberry’s Convenience Key.
Stay tuned on PhoneRadar for the official launch date of the Blackberry KEYone in India. How many of you would be interested in buying the Blackberry KEYone for Rs 39,999, let us know in the comments section below.