BlackBerry KeyOne Is Back in Black, Though Not in US

Senior Editor
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BERLIN — BlackBerry KeyOne, the keyboard-equipped Android phone, that phone maker TCL Communications launched earlier this year, is getting a new version that offers more memory and storage space than the current model. And unfortunately, it doesn't sound likely to land in the U.S.

BlackBerry KeyOne Black Edition (Credit: Philip Michaels)BlackBerry KeyOne Black Edition (Credit: Philip Michaels)At the IFA trade show here today, TCL took the wraps off BlackBerry KeyOne Black Edition, which introduces a slick matte black finish to the phone. More important than the new look, the latest KeyOne also augments the Snapdragon 625 mobile processor with 4GB of RAM while providing 64GB of storage. The KeyOne that debuted this past spring featured 3GB of memory and 32GB of on-board storage.

This higher-capacity black matte BlackBerry KeyOne is headed to the UK, France, Germany, Canada, UAE, Saudi Arabia and Japan by the end of September. And it'll reach other markets in Europe, Asia and Latin America later this year, TCL says.

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The U.S. is conspicuously missing from that list, but there's a pretty good reason for it — there's already a black version of the KeyOne available in the U.S., though it notably lacks the higher memory and capacity of this new edition.

Earlier this month, AT&T announced it would start offering a space black version of the KeyOne, joining Sprint as one of the carriers to offer the phone. (The BlackBerry KeyOne is also available unlocked through Amazon and Best Buy. While the black version of the KeyOne is unique to AT&T, it's otherwise no different from the silver-accented KeyOne available elsewhere. And that includes the 3GB of RAM and 32GB of storage.

It's not outside the realm of possibility that the BlackBerry KeyOne Black Edition could reach the U.S. one day, though right now, the black version of the phone that TCL is going to promote in the U.S. is the one available through one of its carrier partners.

At least the Black Edition's absence from the U.S. isn't due to lack of interest. TCL officials say the release of the BlackBerry-branded phone has topped their expectations with the biggest issue being a supply that couldn't' meet the demand. That issue has since been fixed, TCL said. In addition to its physical keyboard, which doubles as a trackpad and can trigger different shortcuts for each key, the KeyOne impressed us with its epic battery life and built-in BlackBerry software.

If you're mourning the absence of the BlackBerry KeyOne Black Edition in this country, there's always Canada, where the black matte phone will sell for $799 Canadian. That's only $637 in US dollars.