BlackBerry is back this July

01 June 2017

BlackBerry KEYone

If you're still lusting after the reassuring feel of a physical keyboard on your smartphone, you don't have to wait much longer to get your hands on BlackBerry's comeback device, the Android-powered KEYone. 

Presales will kick off in the middle of June ahead of a launch in July. JB Hi-Fi will be the first to range the phone, where it will set you back $899 outright.

"We are thrilled to be able to bring the highly anticipated all-new Android-powered BlackBerry KEYone smartphone to Australian consumers," said BlackBerry's head for Asia Pacific, Sam Skontos. "We have witnessed an incredible response to pre-sale orders across other leading global markets, and have no doubt that the BlackBerry will very rapidly reinstate itself as a firm Aussie favourite, with both BlackBerry aficionados and a new generation of devoted fans."

"Distinctively different with a focus on productivity and security, the KEYone's enhanced feature-set and trademark modified keyboard, truly set it apart from any mobile device on the market."

The KEYone is BlackBerry's first new smartphone since TCL Communication acquired the rights to the BlackBerry name. Blending Android, a 4.5-inch touchscreen display, and a classic BlackBerry keyboard, the KEYone is essentially a much more modern take on the BlackBerries of old.

The KEYone's keyboard takes inspiration from older BlackBerry devices, incorporating gestures similar to BlackBerry's old trackpad for faster messaging, web browsing and emails. 52 of the phone's buttons can be used as customisable shortcuts (hold "m" to launch email, for example), and spacebar also doubles as a fingerprint reader.

While BlackBerry isn't manufacturing its own smartphones anymore, it still makes the software. The KEYone runs a customised version of Android with a number of enhanced security features. These include a "hardware root of trust" where security keys have been added to the phone's processor, and a preloaded app for continuously monitoring the operating system and apps for any potentially privacy and security risks.

Other key specifications include a 4.5-inch 1620x1080 display, a Snapdragon 625 processor, 32GB of expandable storage, 3GB of RAM, a 3,505mAh battery with quick-charging, a 12MP rear-facing camera, an 8MP selfie shooter, and an operating system based on Android Nougat 7.1.

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