There's a brand new BlackBerry on the way

TCL launches the BlackBerry Key2 for $649

TCL launches the BlackBerry Key2 for $649

TCL also sells low-end phones in the United States under the French brand Alcatel, which are mainly used with prepaid carriers.

But that doesn't mean BlackBerries don't exist anymore.

BlackBerry announced the KEY2 smartphone at an event in NY on Thursday. Moving on to the performance, the BlackBerry KEY2 gets a 64-bit octa-core Snapdragon 660 processor backed by Adreno 512 GPU.

All of this is juiced up by a 3,500mAh power unit which looks relatively standard on paper but BlackBerry claims that the KEY² will be able to last for up to two days on a single charge.

TCL and BlackBerry executive Alain Lejeune said the Key2 offered something different to the all-screen smartphones now dominating the market.

The Hybrid dual SIM phone runs Android 8.1 Oreo. "BlackBerry has been iterating and perfecting our approach to mobile security for decades, and we're excited to have this new genuine, modern BlackBerry smartphone available for our fans around the world to enjoy", said Alex Thurber, SVP and GM of Mobility Solutions at BlackBerry.

The BlackBerry Key2 is to go on sale in the USA market, priced at $659 (£490), at a time when the U.S. government has limited access by larger Chinese phone makers such as ZTE and Huawei over national security concerns. For its part, BlackBerry provides the software and services. But we'll know the whole story tomorrow, as BlackBerry unveils the phone. The phone also has a textured back, and is lighter, thinner compared to the KEYone.

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But the Key2 is not supposed to have mass appeal. This is very different from every other Android phone out there for the simple reason that it has a physical keyboard. "So now you can easily see and manage how your downloaded apps access your personal mobile data such as your location, access to your camera, microphone and more, with active controls over your mobile privacy and safety". TCL says that's to help make typing on this device even easier. The app can now also store your private applications and browsers. Locker can only be accessed with your fingerprint or passcode.

The BlackBerry KEY2 will begin shipping globally this month with the suggested retail price starting at £579 / €649.

David McQueen, research director at ABI Research, said the smartphone market has moved on "immeasurably" since the brand's heyday.

The successor to TCL's flagship KeyOne smartphone, the Key2 is continuing the focus on a candybar design complete with a physical QWERTY keyboard.

Obviously, the trademark keyboard represents the highlight of the device.

But it's unclear how successful the KeyOne really phone was.

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