June 21, 2018

BlackBerry KEY2 Announced With Android Oreo and Snapdragon 660

10 June 2018, 02:43 | Yvette Williams

BlackBerry Key2 specs, photos leak ahead of June 7 reveal

TCL launches the BlackBerry Key2 for $649

BlackBerry's share of the global smartphone market has fallen to virtually zero from a peak of more than half a decade ago.

The Blackberry KEY2 should be arriving in the coming weeks.

As for specs, the Key2 comes with an upgraded Snapdragon 660 processor and an impressive 6GB of RAM. Arriving just after a year, the BlackBerry Key2 carries the same design as that of its ancestor with a lot of fine notable enhancements. The phone comes in 64GB and 128GB storage models with option to expand storage up to 2TB with microSD card. There is also a dual-tone LED flash, HDR shooting and 4K video recording at 30fps. The new Key2 runs Android Oreo 8.1 with the BlackBerry features also included. Will that keyboard and BlackBerry's serious focus on security be enough to help it stand out?

Like the KeyOne, the Key2 isn't your typical Android phone: it harks back to BB's glory days but ditches the proprietary software for Android. This includes a more compact chassis and a re-positioned convenience key, that's now located on the right along with the power and volume rocker. The phone is manufactured using 7000 series Aluminum frame. It's hard to look at the KEY2 and not see the keyboard, as it is literally the main selling point with the phone.

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New to the BlackBerry Key2 is the speed key. The space bar still doubles as a fingerprint scanner. The keys have a matte finish as well this time and the new speed key can launch an app, or call a favourite contact or access functions from anywhere in the UI. The screen is protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 3.

Featuring a BlackBerry physical keyboard and loaded with BlackBerry's best security and privacy enhancements, the all-new smartphone packs a number of features that are firsts for any BlackBerry smartphone, the company said in a statement. "We design them for security from the inside out and we're proud to partner with TCL Communication on the launch of their all-new BlackBerry KEY2", BlackBerry Mobility Solution SVP and GM Alex Thurber said. BlackBerry says the cameras are capable of taking portrait mode photographs and lossless zoom thanks to the onboard "Optical Superzoom" mode. Google Lens is also integrated into the cameras, allowing users to quickly search and get information on things that they have photographed.

While the BlackBerry Key2 technically bears the BlackBerry name, it's made by Chinese electronics company TCL. Optiemus Infracom is the home-grown telecom enterprise, responsible for manufacturing BlackBerry Android handsets in India, Sri Lanka, Nepal and Bangladesh.

With the revival of the BlackBerry brand as a Android phone, market share has started creeping back up, reaching three per cent in Canada previous year, according to comScore.

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