BlackBerry launches latest phone with appeal to the security-conscious

Judy Cobb
June 8, 2018

Alain Lejeune, Senior Vice President at BlackBerry Mobile calls this "a distinct smartphone that captures all the traits that have made BlackBerry smartphones iconic", no doubt referring to the BlackBerry KEY2's new touch-enabled, 35 key backlit version of BlackBerry's unique physical keyboard.

TCL unveiled the BlackBerry KEY2, which runs on Alphabet Inc.'s widely used Android operating system, amid tensions between Washington and Beijing over the sale of Chinese telecommunications equipment in the United States.

The KEY2 retains the same 4.5-inch display with 3:2 aspect ratio and 1080 x 1620 pixels resolution. But the unique feature is the Speed Key, situated in the bottom right-hand corner of the keyboard.

The KEY2 also reportedly comes with enhanced privacy and security features, with the maker stating that the "BlackBerry KEY2 is the most secure Android smartphone".

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On the BlackBerry KeyOne, each key was customizable, meaning you could set it up as a shortcut to access from your home screen. It includes a Qualcomm Snapdragon 660 chipset, and Quick Charge 3.0 to charge the 3,500mAh battery. BlackBerry has also added in portrait mode so that you can add a blurry background to your photos if you'd like. All we know is the BlackBerry Key2 will start to arrive later this month in select markets and will roll out globally next month. For the most part, the BlackBerry KEY2 remains the same as KEYone, but BlackBerry has taken the feedback it received for the KEYone and implemented the same on the KEY2. It comes preloaded with DTEK by BlackBerry application that removes the complexity of security by providing an "at a glance" security meter.

Rounding things out is a 3500mAh battery, USB-C port, 3.5mm headphone jack, a Series 7 aluminum frame, and Android 8.1 Oreo. You can record video in 4K at 30 FPS, dual-tone flash helps to brighten dark scenes, and there's Phase Detection Autofocus.

The front gets an 8-megapixel fixed focus camera with 1080/30p video recording. If you need additional storage, you can pop a microSD card into the KEY2. As a reference, the previous BlackBerry KEYone was launched in Malaysia for RM2,688 with 6% GST. We've even heard prices rumored, with the latest leaks suggesting the BlackBerry Key2 could cost $649 / £579 (around AU$1,015).

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