BlackBerry's KEYone with physical buttons now in SA

Johannesburg - Smartphone maker BlackBerry has released its latest device with full physical keyboard, the KEYone, to the South African market with availability from Tuesday.

The BlackBerry KEYone is the first smartphone released from Chinese manufacturer TCL Communication under a new brand licensing agreement signed in December 2016 with BlackBerry Limited. It will be available exclusively to Vodacom stores and partner outlets. 

“With our new Android-powered BlackBerry smartphone, we’ve built a highly reliable and durable device with a strong display that packs enough battery life to get you through a busy day,” said Bob El-Hawary, EMEA head of carrier operations for BlackBerry Mobile, a business unit within TCL Communication. 

The KEYone will be one of the only smartphones on the market to offer a full physical QWERTY keyboard. What is different about this device is that the keys are touch sensitive, with a fingerprint scanner embed in the space button. 

Logan Bell, senior product manager at BlackBerry mobile, said there is a demand in the market for smartphones with a full physical keyboard. 

He explained that with a device featuring a 4.5 inch display, the screen gives the user more visibility of content when compared to full touch screen smartphones when the keyboard is active. Each button on the keyboard also acts as a shortcut for settings and apps. 

The KEYone is built with an aluminium frame and soft grip textured back built for more durability and comfort in the user’s hand. 

The device runs Android 7.1 Nougat, with access to all Android apps in the Google Play store. BlackBerry makes use of a vanilla form of Android in the KEYone, without being layered by any BlackBerry software. 

The KEYone also features a 3505mAh battery offering roughly 26 hours of mixed use, with a Sony 12 megapixel camera and 8 megapixel selfie camera with fixed focus and 84-degree wide angle lens.

Pre-orders for BlackBerry KEYone are now open on Cellucity’s website.

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