The few BlackBerry fans in North America will have to wait a little longer than expected for the company's KeyOne smartphone. While it was originally set to launch this month, it will now launch in the U.S. and Canada in May.
The phone will first show up for pre-order in Canada on May 18 for $199 with a two year contract, from carriers such as Rogers, SaskTel, TELUS Business, Bell and Bell MTS. In the United States, the model will be available unlocked starting on May 31st for $549, and is set to work on both CDMA and GSM networks. TCL, the company manufacturing the phone, says that Sprint will carry the device at an unspecified date this summer.
The phone will bring back BlackBerry's famous physical keyboard and will run Android 7.1 along with a set of BlackBerry-branded productivity apps. It has a 4.5-inch touchscreen, Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 CPU, 32GB of storage and 3GB of RAM. It also boasts a 12-megapixel camera and supports microSD cards up to 2TB.
The phone's large 3,505-mAh battery should provide a lot of stamina between charges, which is important for the business-focused user that the phone is designed for.
In December 2016, the Ontario-based BlackBerry licensed the right to manufacture its hardware to Chinese electronic company TCL, though Blackberry is still behind the scenes working on the software. This will be the first BlackBerry phone released by TCL, and I'm sure a number of BlackBerry diehards will be happy to see the trademark keyboard make a comeback.