A comeback for BlackBerry? Chinese firm TCL launched its first smartphone since a licensing agreement allowed the company to take over the hardware for the BlackBerry brand, introducing the KEYone, which is billed as the most secure Android phone anywhere. CEO Nicolas Zibell tells USA Today the KEYone is the "beginning of a new story" for the once-dominant BlackBerry brand, which saw its market share gobbled up by Apple and Samsung. The smartphone, aimed at the enterprise market, comes loaded with Google's latest Android 7 operating system and security software called DTEK produced by BlackBerry Canada. It will be sold in the US for $549 starting in April.
Unveiled at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona on Saturday, the KEYone keeps BlackBerry's trademark QWERTY keyboard and adds programmable keys; it also adds touch gestures that recall the old BlackBerry trackpad, per CNBC. Other features include:
- A 4.5-inch touch screen display
- A charger that powers up to 50% in 36 minutes
- A 12-megapixel camera plus an 8-megapixel camera facing forward for selfies
A rep at the Hong Hong-based company says more BlackBerry products are coming aimed at consumers, per CNBC.