Articles by Crackberry Kevin

JerryRigEverything's KEYone Durability Test has CBK recording a Real World one tomorrow

Ouch. The BlackBerry KEYone made it into JerryRigEverything's test chambers, where it was passing the scratch and burn test with ease. It didn't fare well in the bend test though...

Update - August 17th: JerryRigEverything has posted a second durability test video. This time the KEYone has passed with flying colors. Zack has removed it from his Shelf of Shave and now gives the KEYone a thumbs up declaring it a phone that will stand up to the test of time.

Update - 2:30pm, Saturday, June 10th: So the KEYone Drop Test and Durability video is coming soon, but in the meantime BB Mobile has released a statement about the limited number of defective KEYones with display issues, which you can read about right here.

Update - 5pm, Friday, June 9th: Just finished recording a CBK KEYone Drop Test Video. My editor is going to try and work on the video over the weekend (she has some prior commitments to attend to, but she's going to try and turn around on it as fast as she can - so hopefully ready for early in the week. If you're ok with spoilers, you can read my debrief on this post in the forums. Overall, KEYone held up pretty well - and we did pry a couple apart to take a look at what's under the hood.

I'm a big fan of JerryRigEverything's YouTube channel, where he puts gadgets, including smartphones, through plenty of torture tests to see just how tough they are. For phones, that includes scratching and burning and bending them. The BlackBerry KEYone did well on the scratch tests, and recovered from the burn test in satisfactory time, but when it came to the bend test it didn't fare as well, with the screen popping out of the chassis quite easily. A further tear down revealed a lack of adhesive holding the display firmly in place. I'm pretty sure the folks at BlackBerry Mobile must be aware of this, so I expect we should hear something from them addressing this in the near future.

We've seen a handful of reports in CrackBerry's KEYone forums where KEYone owners have relayed their devices suffering a similar fate - where drops have popped up the display up. On the other hand, I've also seen the KEYone take a helluva beating and keep on ticking without issue. It's really been a solid device in everyday use. After months of using and abusing my KEYone, I've dropped it and sat on it and beat it up now a LOT without any issues (it even saved my face one night when I tripped in a hotel room and I smashed it into the bedside table with the momentum of 200lbs of drunk CBK behind it). Beyond my main KEYone, I've also had many more come through my hands as we've held the CrackBerry Meetup Tours which have held up well and are still pristine.

BlackBerry KEYone's have been precious to come by, so I haven't been in a rush to do the classic BlackBerry drop test yet, but given the attention and questions users are having around the KEYone's durability, tomorrow I'm going to put the KEYone through some real world durability testing (since that's where use the phones). I have a brand new KEYone to use for it (Rogers retail unit) and for good measure I'll put the real world testing side by side to a Galaxy S8+ and iPhone 7 Plus to see how they measure up.

If you have any ideas for real world abuse you'd like to see the KEYone take in the video, let me know and I'll see if I can make it happen.


CrackBerry Podcast: Covfefe

There's only one word that describes that can accurately describe the last week here on CrackBerrry... Covfefe! On this episode we talk about the North American launch of the BlackBerry KEYone (the good and the bad) and answer many questions!

Traveling to Taipei last week for Computex was on my travel agenda for the better part of a year, long before I knew May 31st would be the date the BlackBerry KEYone would become "available" for purchase in Canada and the USA. What a week in turned out to be overseas and on 12 hour difference in time zone. I woke up every morning to sooo many passionate threads in the CrackBerry forums to catch up on! :)

It also turned out to be a perfect week for El Presidente Trump to an invent a new word for me to use for this podcast - as it would prove difficult otherwise to find a single word that could encapsulate all of the thoughts and emotions running among many in the CrackBerry community. The North American market launch has been a mixed bag - we've seen a LOT of excitement from consumers in North America finally getting their hands on the KEYone and absolutely loving it. We've also witnessed some frustration over limited inventory at launch, especially in the US on Amazon and Best Buy, that's made the KEYone a rather exclusive phone to get a hold of thus far (while the GSM version of the KEYone started shipping, CDMA units on Amazon never moved out of backorder status). We talk about all of that and MUCH more on this CrackBerry podcast.

The first half of the show we casually jump around many topics, and Bla1ze -- who everybody always loves -- finally gives us one reason to hate him (pictured below). The back half of the show we jump to answering reader questions, which keeps us pretty on track.

Enjoy the show!

Double Tap if this is the most KEYone boxes you have ever seen in a single photo. Getting ready to send them out to our CrackBerry IOU winners! Swipe Left for more box fun! #KEYone #BlackBerry #BlackBerryKEYone #android

A post shared by CrackBerry Kevin (@crackberrykevin) on Jun 7, 2017 at 9:24pm PDT


The Perfect Amount of Swank... the BlackBerry KEYone launch event in Toronto [Video]

BlackBerry Mobile hosted a swanky KEYone launch party last week in Toronto. The Hazelton Hotel venue was transformed from restaurant/lounge into a proper modern event space complete with thoughtful engagement areas where guests could explore demo devices, partake in bourbon tasting, have KEYone notebooks and luggage tags monogrammed and even take home hand-rolled cigars as a memento. An area was setup with skeleton keys where partygoers could pull a key with #KEYone engraved on the back for a chance to win one of the devices. Nice details made everything feel very cohesive.


From the Editor's Desk: The Final Countdown to KEYone in North America

Hello, CrackBerry Nation!

For those of you in North America, we're into the FINAL COUNTDOWN leading up to the May 31st availability of the BlackBerry KEYone. I've been having some fun on Instagram this week drawing the countdown out using KEYones. That number 8 is a work of art, don't you think? And no, those are not all my personal KEYones - they're the demo units I use at for our CrackBerry Meetups!

Unfortunately, I'm not going to be on US or Canadian soil for the BIG day -- I'll actually be in Taipei, Taiwan attending Computex 2017 -- but I thought I'd pop in to the blogs and say hello before I make the long trip and am living in the future. It's been a crazy few weeks for me - I went from two weeks of being sick to two weeks of insanely busy and fun travel as we completed our Canadian CrackBerry KEYone Meetup tour.

I had a few days to play catch up this week, and now as I type this, I'm actually sitting in the Air Canada lounge at the Vancouver airport, an hour away from making the almost 13-hour hop over to Hong Kong where I'll connect for Taipei.

I haven't had a chance to do much CrackBerry blogging since my BlackBerry KEYone Review went live, so I'll make the most of this airport waiting time. I have lots of little updates and quick thoughts to share, so keep reading!

Lots of Updates:

CrackBerry Meetup Tour

So. Much. Fun. Between our Calgary, Vancouver, Ottawa, Montreal, Kitchener/Waterloo meetups and the Toronto KEYone launch party, I literally met nearly ONE THOUSAND CrackBerry fans over the past two weeks. As much fun as it is to chat with each other online and on social, there's nothing better than meeting and talking in real life. CrackBerry fans are so passionate, so knowledgeable and so nice! Every meetup had a slightly different vibe, but everyone was awesome in its own unique way. The only negatives? I wish I had more time to spend with each person individually and I wish my liver was stronger. :)

Update on BlackBerry KEYone IOUs

As you know, we've been giving away a LOT of IOUs for BlackBerry KEYones this year, both here on the CrackBerry website but also at our various meetup events. Over the next few days Michelle Haag, our Events & Giveaways Coordinator, will be reaching out to all of the IOU winners with a link to a form they can fill out to provide their shipping address. We're working to get all the units acquired and sent out as fast as we possibly can. If you're one of these lucky individuals, congrats again on winning and thanks for the patience!

Save the Date for East Coast US CrackBerry Meetup Tour!

Once I'm back from Taipei, I'll have a little bit of time to recover and then we're going to take the CrackBerry Meetup tour on the road again. We'll be launching proper Meetup Pages soon for each event where you'll be able to RSVP (blog post with full details to come), but in the meantime, I wanted to share our next destinations:

  • June 19th, Boston
  • June 20th, Washington DC
  • June 21st, Atlanta
  • June 22nd, Houston
  • June 23rd, Dallas
  • June 24th, Chicago

These events should be pretty fun as I'll expect many in attendance to also be rocking KEYones. I'm also planning to visit some cities on the West Coast (LA for sure) - dates will get announced later. And Minneapolis, don't you worry, you will get a meetup this year for sure… I'll maybe plan a road trip for that one.

At these meetups I won't have to give out an IOU for a KEYone - somebody will get to take one home with them at the end of the night!

Where to Buy the KEYone on May 31st?

I know there's still some confusion around this. Am pretty sure we'll see more info on this soon clearing up what retail channels it'll be available in, etc. My big recommendation if you want to make sure you get your KEYone asap is to make sure you're watching for the when the links go live and buy asap. It seems pretty clear from what we've seen in the UK so far that the KEYones are moving quick when they get in stock.

If you're not following @crackberrykevin on Instagram & Twitter, you're missing out!

Realization - When I used to be really active on CrackBerry, BlackBerry phones didn't really support social apps like Instagram that well, so the audience for our content on those platforms was almost non-existent. Fast forward to 2017, and so much has changed. People are consuming a lot more content on social, and I'm definitely posting way more there. So if you don't see an article from me on CrackBerry, that doesn't mean I'm not doing something somewhere else worth checking out! So be sure to look for @crackberrykevin on Instagram and Twitter and YouTube and subscribe, so you don't miss out (yes, I'm on BBM Channels too!).

MrMobile Loves the BlackBerry KEYone

If you haven't figured it out yet, I'm a huge fan of Michael Fisher aka MrMobile. In the past year since he launched his new YouTube channel, he's grown leaps and bounds and become one of the top tech reviewers on the scene. His videos are amazing to watch (so much production value) and his opinions are always spot on - he's so unbiased it's almost maddening.

That said, MrMobile LOVES the BlackBerry KEYone, and he's now made it his daily driver, which he hasn't really done in 2017 yet with any phone. For a guy who's constantly swapping phones, to me, this is a BIG deal. It's a huge stamp of approval for the KEYone. Be sure to watch the casual podcast we recorded last night to hear some of Michael's thoughts.

Beyond MrMobile, we're starting to see a bit of a cult following emerge for the KEYone, which I love. Photos like this one from Google I/O last week make me smile!

Until Next Time!

Lots more to chat on, but I'll wind this down for now.

As you know, I've been very lucky to have been rocking the KEYone for months now, since I helped BlackBerry Mobile unveil it at Mobile World Congress.

I'm really excited that we're now starting to move past the waiting for the KEYone phase and into the I have a KEYone, and I'm loving it phase! It's more fun. And it's a great phone. So I'm excited for you to get your hands on one to call your own sooner, rather than later.

Kevin Out!


CrackBerry Podcast: Making Memories w/ MrMobile & More!

MrMobile joins Bla1ze and CrackBerry Kevin for a casual chat and to confess his crush for the BlackBerry KEYone.

It's been a crazy few weeks and the craziness isn't about to slow down. After two weeks on the road for our Canadian CrackBerry KEYone Meetup Tour, I've barely unpacked and I'm off again to the airport, this time for the long flight to Taipei, Taiwan, for Computex 2017. Before leaving though we just had to get a CrackBerry podcast recorded as there's been so much happening and we've been slacking.

In this episode we talk about the final countdown to May 31st when the BlackBerry KEYone will officially become available for purchase on North American soil. I also give a play-by-play of our meetup tour and even drop the cities and dates we'll be visiting next in our upcoming US tour.

Most importantly though, on this show we had MrMobile join us to confess his crush for the new KEYone. For a guy who switches phones as often as most of our change up our underwear, it's been truly awesome to see the KEYone become his daily driver. BlackBerry By Choice For Real. Hmm.. maybe it's time to do another run of those shirts?

Enjoy the show!


CrackBerry Asks: Do you need the Convenience Key?

One of the features on the new BlackBerry KEYone that made a return is the programmable Convenience Key. This is the button on the lower right-hand edge of the phone, which you can program on the KEYone to take actions, such as opening an app.

For many years the Convenience Key was a staple BlackBerry feature, and then it got phased out and we were all forced to get used to it not being there. On the KEYone, I've been loving its return - I initially set it to the launch the Hub, then the camera app, and now I've been using it to launch Voice Search, which I find uber convenient.

Now that so many existing BlackBerry users have gotten used to the Convenience Key not being on the phone, what I'm wondering is how important of a feature is it to you? If your current BlackBerry doesn't have it, are you missing it badly, or did you just get used it? For those lucky people who already have a KEYone, are you finding yourself using it a lot, or is it a meh feature?

Vote on the poll below and drop me a comment on your Convenience Key thoughts. I'm genuinely curious and can't wait to see the results!

How important is the BlackBerry Convenience key to you?

BlackBerry KEYone Coming Soon Pages Come to Canada's Bell, Bell MTS and SaskTel

May 31st is right around the corner, and some carriers are getting a head start on the BlackBerry KEYone

Less than a week ago, Rogers made the BlackBerry KEYone available for pre-order to business users and now some other Canadian carriers are ramping up for the launch as well. Bell, Bell MTS and SaskTel have all put up "coming soon" pages a few days head of the KEYone's official May 31st on sale date.

Both Bell and Bell MTS have put up pages for consumer and business customers, listing the KEYone at $199 on a two-year term or $699 outright. SaskTel looks like they will offer even more options for the KEYone with 1-year or 2-year term, monthly, prepaid or outright. No pricing is listed for any option just yet though, but we can assume they will fall in line with the $199/$699 options.

Things are certainly starting to move along as the KEYone makes its way to the US and Canada next week. We have plenty more to come and we'll continue to keep an eye on carriers across the globe as launch day approaches.

See More on the BlackBerry KEYone

Bell Consumer (English)

Bell Consumer (French)

Bell Business (English)

Bell Business (French)

Bell MTS Residential

Bell MTS Business

Bell MTS Enterprise

SaskTel


BlackBerry KEYone now available for pre-order from Rogers in Canada!

May 18th is here and Rogers is first in line, allowing Canadians to pre-order the BlackBerry KEYone with an availability date of May 31st

Today, Canadian carrier Rogers has officially rolled out pre-orders for the Android-powered BlackBerry KEYone for Consumers, Small Business and Enterprise Customers with an availability date of May 31st.

If you're a Rogers customer and have been waiting for the KEYone this is your opportunity to get it first. We're still a few weeks off from worldwide availability, so I'd highly suggest pre-ordering ASAP so you get to the front of the line. This is the first of many rollouts we'll see in the coming weeks from carriers across the globe. The KEYone is $199 on a standard 2-year contract, and you can buy it outright for $679. As a Rogers customer, I just pre-ordered mine as I wrote this article! :)

Hit the links below for more info and to pre-order. If you pre-order today, be sure to drop a comment.

Pre-Order the BlackBerry KEYone from Rogers:

Consumer KEYone Customers

Small Business KEYone Customers

Enterprise KEYone Customers

Visit BlackBerryMobile.com for more pre-order information


RSVP now for our Ottawa, Montreal & Waterloo/Kitchener BlackBerry KEYone Meetups!

The CrackBerry Meetup Canada tour continues. Calgary, Vancouver, Ottawa, and Montreal were a great success. Next up is Waterloo/Kitchener. RSVP Now!

The CrackBerry Meetup Canada tour continues. Calgary, Vancouver, Ottawa, and Montreal were a great success and the grand finale of the Canada tour takes place in BlackBerry's hometown of Kitchener/Waterloo on Thursday, May 18th!

Be sure to hit the links below for more details and to RSVP. Once the Canada tour is over we'll be announcing dates USA CrackBerry Meetups in June. We look forward to seeing you there!


BlackBerry KEYone Podcast, featuring Android Central, MrMobile, CrackBerry Kevin & Bla1ze! [Must Listen Show!]

Hosted by Android Central, this is a must-listen round table discussion on the new BlackBerry KEYone!

With embargoes lifting on BlackBerry KEYone reviews, the Android Central podcast duo of Daniel Bader and Jerry Hildenbrand needed some reinforcements to dive into the new BlackBerry KEYone, so they called CrackBerry Kevin and Bla1ze of the CrackBerry team and MrMobile himself, Michael Fisher, to help talk it through.

If you're jonesing to get your hands on the new KEYone or are just generally interested in it, this is a must-listen to episode. It's hosted by the very-professional Daniel Bader, so it's a little less chaotic and more on point than our typical CrackBerry podcasts. And between the Android Central crew, CrackBerry crew and MrMobile you get a lot of smart and balanced opinions in the mix. Along with some pretty fun stories.

NOTE - This is an audio only podcast (no video to watch). I hope you enjoy the show!

Listen to the Podcast

Hosts

Show notes


MrMobile's BlackBerry KEYone Review Video is Worth Watching

If you're not yet subscribed to MrMobile on YouTube, you're missing out. Since launching his channel a couple months shy of a year ago, Michael Fisher has emerged as one of the top tech reviewers on YouTube, with videos that are as much works of art as they are informative.

With the BlackBerry KEYone review embargoes lifting this morning, the internet is starting to fill up with reviews of the KEYone. We'll do a roundup of them soon, but in the meantime I wanted to highlight MrMobile's KEYone review video. It's definitely worth watching. Similar to some of the points I highlighted in CrackBerry's KEYone Review, he loves the general form factor, build quality and insanely good battery life that the KEYone offers.

MrMobile is also running a fantastic giveaway right now in celebration of his 100th video. If you want to get onboard for your share of tech loot, watch this video when you're done for all the details.

Follow MrMobile Everywhere


BlackBerry KEYone Review - Pushes All The Right Buttons

Ironically, it took not BlackBerry to make a BlackBerry Smartphone that pushes all the right buttons. The KEYone by BlackBerry Mobile (TCL) merges the best of the classic BlackBerry experience with Android Nougat in a package that is undeniably and distinctly BlackBerry.

The quick take

The KEYone got me out of CrackBerry retirement and using a BlackBerry Smartphone again (and loving it!). I have no shortage of phones at my disposal and can reach for an iPhone or Google Pixel or Samsung Galaxy whenever I want. Since picking up the KEYone, I've never felt that urge. What more can be said than that? With battery life that will last you all day and night (and well into the next day) and a smart physical keyboard that makes typing on buttons feel new school again, it's a communication-centric phone that power users will love.

The Amazing

  • Insanely Good Battery Life
  • Distinct BlackBerry Styling
  • Looks Premium, Feels Premium
  • Comfortable, Accurate keyboard
  • Fingerprint Sensor in Spacebar is Magic
  • Swiping on Keyboard is Magic
  • Android brings with it all the apps
  • Great camera... on a BlackBerry?!! :)
  • 3.5mm headset jack (thank you!)
  • Battery life so good, mention it twice! In the photo above that 24% at 4:07pm is on Day 2!

The Could Be Better

  • 32GB of memory OK; would gladly pay for 64GB or 128GB
  • 3GB of RAM OK; a 4th GB may improve zippiness under heavy load
  • LCD display is really good; OLED could be epic
  • Make it waterproof somehow?
  • Integrate BlackBerry Launcher settings like keyboard shortcuts into System settings
  • Add wireless charging (even though you don't need it)
  • Love to see it in more colors down the road

A New Era of BlackBerry Smartphones

BlackBerry KEYone Full Review

Yes, BlackBerry still exists. No, they don't make smartphones anymore. Yes, there are still BlackBerry Smartphones being made and will be for a long time to come. Spread the word!

Confused? That's ok. You can read this article to clear up the confusion and listen to this podcast if you really want the full explanation. The long story short is that the company known as BlackBerry, who patented push email and helped pioneer the smartphone industry over 15 years ago is now a software company.

The BlackBerry brand to most of us on planet earth, more than software is better known for hardware, specifically BlackBerry Smartphones. So to ensure BlackBerry Smartphones continue for the long haul, BlackBerry has entered into licensing agreements with select manufacturing partners to design, build, market and support BlackBerry Smartphones. The biggest licensee is TCL Communication, and under the brand BlackBerry Mobile the KEYone is the first BlackBerry Smartphone they are bringing to market.

While BlackBerry supports BlackBerry Mobile in the software and security hardening of the KEYone, it's important to know that this really is a BlackBerry Smartphone being brought to market by another company altogether. Their website is www.blackberrymobile.com (not blackberry.com), you can find them on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube under the handles @blackberrymobile or @bbmobile.

BlackBerry Mobile is really being built up as a new team and organization and beyond the KEYone they are committed to bringing more Android-powered BlackBerry Smartphones to market (sorry BlackBerry 10 fans, but that ship has sailed). The KEYone is exciting first phone, and it'll be exciting to see what they offer next.

About This Review

I (CrackBerry Kevin) have been super lucky to have been using the KEYone for over two months now, since it was first announced at Mobile World Congress. I first went hands-on with the KEYone in January in Las Vegas at CES, and liked the pre-production unit so much that I came out of BlackBerry retirement in February to celebrate CrackBerry's 10th Anniversary.

As part of the celebrations, I even had the honor to get up on stage and help officially unveil the BlackBerry KEYone to the world as MC for the launch event. The KEYone units I've had in my possession to date, including my official review unit, are considered pre-production and have still been receiving software updates - that said, my experiences with the KEYone have been super solid throughout - the one you buy should be even better.

Disclosure: In case you didn't figure it out from the BlackBerry KEYone ads on the CrackBerry, BlackBerry Mobile is an advertising partner with CrackBerry (we often see manufacturers buy advertising for their phones across Mobile Nations sites). You can read here for more info on that if you like.

BlackBerry KEYone Video Review

Why read when you can watch a video? In 13 Minutes I highlight what I love and what can be improved on the KEYone. I think the video does a good job of laying out the real value proposition for the KEYone - this is a phone for power communicators who like a physical keyboard (and those people are going to LOVE it).

BlackBerry KEYone Features & Specs

Width Height Thickness 5.87 in
149.1 mm
2.85 in
72.4 mm
0.37 in
9.4 mm
6.35 oz
180 grams
  • Display:
    • 4.5-inch IPS LCD display
    • 1620x1080 resolution
    • 434ppi
  • Chips:
    • Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 processor
    • 8x 2.0Ghz Cortex A53 cores
    • 3GB RAM
    • 32GB internal storage
    • microSD card slot
  • Cameras:
    • 12MP ƒ/20 PDAF rear camera
    • Dual-tone LED flash
    • 8MP ƒ/2.2 front camera
  • Battery:
    • 3505 mAh battery
    • Non-removable
    • USB-C, Quick Charge 3.0 + boost charging
  • Software:
    • Android 7.1.1 Nougat
    • DTEK security suite
    • FIPS 140-2 full disk encryption

BlackBerry KEYone Hardware Impressions

With a name like KEYone, the physical keyboard is clearly the primary story of this phone. When as a phone manufacturer, or as customer, you choose to sacrifice the amount of real estate dedicated to the display to instead have a keyboard there that's always present, you're making a distinct choice to build a phone that's more communication-centric vs. media-centric.

The design of the KEYone is such that you don't feel like you're making a compromise at all. Compared to older QWERTY BlackBerry designs of the past, like the BlackBerry Bold 9900 or even the newer BlackBerry Classic, the KEYone's 4.5" display with 3:2 aspect ratio in portrait orientation feels positively huge. Compared to other popular devices like the standard-sized iPhone 7, Galaxy S7/S8 or Google Pixel, they KEYone's display feels relatively on par. And even compared to large screen devices like the iPhone 7 Plus or Google Pixel XL, which were the two phones I was actively using before upgrading to the KEYone, moving over to the KEYone was easy - I've never yet felt in all my time with the KEYone that the display feels small.

It's a surprising form factor to look at when you first see it -- and photos don't do it justice -- you really need to see the KEYone in person and hold it in your hand to truly appreciate it, but the "form factor" truly works. That the KEYone looks and feels so incredibly premium makes the overall design work that much more. I could see this general device ID working for years to come - I wouldn't be surprised if the KEYtwo (if and when released) would feature a similar hardware design. When you get it right, you get it right.

If you were concerned that not BlackBerry making a BlackBerry Smartphone could result in a phone that feels unBlackBerry-like, those fears are eliminated the moment you pick up the KEYone.

If you were concerned that not BlackBerry making a BlackBerry Smartphone could result in a phone that feels unBlackBerry-like, those fears are eliminated the moment you pick up the KEYone. Clearly, the KEYone looks like a BlackBerry. From the front, the back, the sides, the device is unmistakably a BlackBerry. More importantly though, is the feel of the phone. At 180 grams, the KEYone is a dense phone, in a good way. Picking it up, it has that heft you'd associate with something like an expensive mechanical watch strapped on your wrist. The sizeable battery and BlackBerry's choice of metal frame contribute to the weight and the soft touch rubber backside make it a phone that's comfortable to hold and is easy to grip. The KEYone belongs in your hand.

A Smart Physical KEYboard

I find it magical how BlackBerry continues to pack more and more technology into the physical keyboard. It used to be that programmable shortcuts were the one smart feature of a QWERTY phone like the KEYone. Being able to map dialing contacts or opening apps to the push of a button was the additional benefit beyond the accuracy provided by pressing buttons vs. tapping on glass. And the KEYone does offer plenty of shortcuts - up to 52 to thanks to the ability to distinguish between short press and long press actions, where one button can now serve as two shortcuts. The shortcuts are getting smarter too. For example, pressing H (for home) can open up the maps app with your home location already programmed in. How cool is that?!

The KEYone's keyboard is touch capacitive. Beyond pressing buttons you can actually flick auto-suggested words up onto the display while typing. You can also use the keyboard as trackpad, thumb scrolling your way through your inbox, feeds or webpages. This is an innovation that was first introduced on the BlackBerry Passport and also featured on the BlackBerry Priv and I'm happy to see it on the KEYone. We now live in a smartphone world where far more people have experienced a touchscreen smartphone than a phone with physical buttons and most people don't know a keyboard can work this way - whenever I give a demo of the KEYone to someone who is unfamiliar, swiping on the keyboard blows them away. If typing on buttons could be considered old school in 2017, the ability to swipe on the keyboard makes it it feel new school again.

The newest innovation to the keyboard which is unique to the KEYone, is the implementation of a fingerprint sensor in the space bar of the keyboard. This feature allows you to unlock your phone with your fingerprint. It works incredibly well. There's even the surprise flourish of a tiny LED light on either side of the spacebar that will light up to prompt you to use your fingerprint. It's magical.

I've been really happy overall with the typing experience on the KEYone. I've mainly been on touchscreen smartphones the past few years, so it took me a couple days to get used to typing with buttons again and a couple more days to fall in love with it, but I've been rocking the buttons hard ever since and loving it. There are many areas where typing with buttons trumps typing on glass - be sure to check out this video where I dive into the details.

As for the typing experience itself, I'd rank the KEYone's keyboard right up there among my BlackBerry keyboard favorites. The Bold 9900 still ranks supreme as the best physical keyboard ever built for typing experience, but the KEYone isn't too far behind. The buttons have a good feel and bounce rate when pressed, and there's a nice roll to the buttons as you move your thumbs left and right over them which helps your thumbs dance with rhythm as you type . The keyboard is compact without being too tight, which makes the keyboard efficient to use. I know many BlackBerry Passport users love that device's ultra-wide three row keyboard setup. Personally, while comfortable thanks to the wide grip I always found it a bit inefficient to use because you have to move your thumbs so far for every key press. To me, the ultimate compromise is a keyboard that is small but big enough that you can find and press the buttons accurately. And the KEYone delivers on this well. Based on photos I was initially concerned that the KEYone may feel top heavy while typing, since the display is so tall and the keyboard is mounted quite low on the phone. In use, I've never felt an issue here - it's easy to grip and type on the phone.

Bottom line, if you like a physical keyboard on your smartphone phone, you're going to quickly grow to love the KEYone's keyboard.

All Day, All Night (and then some) Battery Life

This is the killer feature of the BlackBerry KEYone. If you haven't yet, be sure to watch my BlackBerry KEYone review video which is effectively a gush fest for the KEYone's battery life.

BlackBerry packed a LARGE 3505mAh battery into the KEYone, which is the biggest battery ever put into a BlackBerry and is large by any standard. Combined with BlackBerry's choice of energy-efficient Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 chipset and you have battery life that's tough to kill before you go to bed. It really is an all day, all night and good chunk of the next day battery, even under HEAVY use.

With the KEYone, you're never going to get stranded with a dead battery.

It doesn't matter what features or specs a phone has, if the battery is dead it's a paperweight. With the KEYone, you're never going to get stranded with a dead battery. There's no need to subconsciously throttle back your device usage to get you through the day either. You can do whatever you want on the KEYone all day long and it's going to take it and you'll still have juice in the tank when you go to bed.

I love it. I've been traveling a lot in 2017 and I've always found roaming to be typically hard on batteries (coupled with the fact you end up using your phone more for things like Google Maps, don't have WiFi locations saved, etc.). Even in these demanding situations the KEYone battery lives up. I guarantee every review you read about the KEYone is going to highlight the battery life of the phone. It's that good.

If you ever do need to recharge during the day, the KEYone features Quick Charge 3.0 technology and prompts you to select Boost Mode when you plug it in which enables charging up to 50% in 36 minutes. In over two months, I've never needed to use - the battery outlasts me and I plug it into charge at night.

A Very Good Camera

Over my years of reviewing BlackBerry Smartphones, I've always glossed over the camera section of the review. BlackBerry has never had a great reputation for taking amazing photos.

The KEYone changes that with a camera capable of snapping glorious photos. If you check out @crackberrykevin, or better yet, @blackberrymobile on Instagram, you'll find plenty of examples of #ShotOnKEYone photos that will turn your head.

Saw a poll on @mobilesyrup asking Canadians what smartphone they're buying next - @blackberrymobile #KEYone won by a landslide and received more votes than #GalaxyS8 and #iPhone combined! 🇨🇦 . . . #blackberry #android #ShotOnKEYone

A post shared by CrackBerry Kevin (@crackberrykevin) on May 2, 2017 at 11:57am PDT

The KEYone shares the same 12 megapixel Sony IMX378 sensor that is used in the Google Pixel which receives a lot of rave reviews for its camera. It lacks the electronic optical stabilization goodness of the Pixel while recording video (it's really amazingly smooth on the Pixel), but overall takes really nice photos. In outdoor or optimal lighting situations it's fantastic. In low light it's pretty good - there's some room for improvement here compared to the best low light smartphone cameras out there, but again, for a communication-centric device BlackBerry Mobile did damn good on the KEYone's camera, and I can see it improving overtime with continued software rollouts.

Macro foliage #ShotOnKEYone . . . #BlackBerry #Android #BlackBerryMobile #Smartphone #Camera #KEYone

A post shared by BlackBerry Mobile (@blackberrymobile) on Apr 19, 2017 at 12:52pm PDT

The camera app itself is very powerful and easy to use. There is a Pro mode available, so if you know how to take photos you can squeeze every micron of goodness out of the sensor. I'm not that guy though, so I mainly leave the KEYone in auto mode. There are filters you can apply to the camera before you take the photo. With no filter enabled, the colors are quite accurate, if not a little more natural/cooler than compared to the default camera settings on phones like the iPhone, Samsung Galaxy or Google Pixel. If you enable the Vivid filter, the colors will get a little more punched up to be more like these three phones. I usually just leave the camera with no filter, but if I'm looking for that better than real life shot, then I enable the Vivid filter.

As for front facing camera, the 8 megapixel sensor does a good job with selfies - that you can tap the spacebar to snap the photo is a nice touch that helps improve your selfie game when your arm is stretched to the max.

Completing the Hardware Story

For many years, the smartphone race was just that… a race to see who would build the best smartphone, cramming in the latest specs and claiming the title for a few weeks or months until the next competitor crammed even more cutting edge specs in. The smartphone industry is now much more like the automotive industry. It's about choice. It's not about who can build the best vehicle at any expense, but what's the best vehicle for your needs - do you want a $100,000 sports car to rip around in and rack up speeding tickets that runs out of gas in a hurry, or do you need a $35,000 mini-van that can haul the family around to soccer practice back and forth with as minimal trips to the gas station as possible?

With the KEYone, BlackBerry very intentionally picked the specs and hardware components they wanted in this phone based on the target user fitting this power communicator persona. When it comes to chipset, battery size, screen size, and camera, they made all the right choices to deliver a compelling experience for this type of user. This means the KEYone won't be dated in three months - this is a phone that's going to have a long shelf life to it.

Outside of the key hardware specs already highlighted, everything in the KEYone has met or exceeded my expectations through normal use.

The 4.5" LCD display is bright and vibrant, with a pixel density of 443 pixels per inch. The 3:2 aspect ratio means you'll lose a little bit of screen real estate while watching videos in landscape, but it's minimal. Again, if you want a media-centric phone the KEYone may not be for you, but as a phone that puts the priority on communications first this is a tiny compromise compared to the benefits of the design. With their deep blacks and vibrant colors, I do personally love OLED displays - I would put this on my wishlist for the KEYtwo, but overall I have zero complaints about the display.

Many of the BlackBerry faithful were hoping for "stereo speakers" to be present on the KEYone. It doesn't have that, but rather a single downward facing mono speaker. I don't listen to music much on my KEYone, or any smartphone for that matter (tiny smartphone speakers are never going to cut the mustard for my ears). When I do listen to music from my phone it's typically connected to a bluetooth speaker like a UE Boom, my Bose Earbuds or powering my home's Sonos setup, or better yet when I'm putting my audiophile game on I'm plugged into my wired headphones from B&O or Master & Dynamic (yes, the KEYone does have a 3.5 headset jack!). That said, the speaker performance has been pretty solid for when I do watch the odd YouTube video or take calls on speakerphone. It's loud and clear.

Overall telephony and communications with the KEYone have been solid with my time thus far on the KEYone. Calls are crisp whether on the handset or through bluetooth connected in my car (Tesla Model S) and I've had solid bluetooth performance with the variety of bluetooth devices I've used the KEYone with.

I know I'm hardcore teasing with this photo, but the KEYone looks so good mounted in the Tesla I just had to post! :) #blackberry #blackberrymobile #blackberryKEYone #tesla

A post shared by CrackBerry Kevin (@crackberrykevin) on Mar 10, 2017 at 2:25pm PST

The KEYone comes with a 32GB of storage memory and an expandable microSD slot -- in the same tray as the SIM card -- that can handle up to an insanely large 2 terrabyte microSD card. You can't easily find microSD cards that big of course (and I'm assuming they'd probably cost more than the KEYone's $549 price tag itself), but you can pick up a 200GB SanDisk microSD card for about $75. Pretty reasonable, and it's nice to know you can pack a lot of additional storage onto the KEYone. And you'll probably want to. That the Android OS system storage itself consumes nearly 10GB or the 32GB doesn't give you a ton of space if you're the type of person who has a lot of photos and videos on their phone. 32GB is by no means a deal breaker and was a smart call to help keep the KEYone's price tag down -- especially as this will be a phone that makes a lot of inroads into business and enterprises where that extra storage isn't that critical and not something businesses want to pay for if not necessary. That said, I'm the type of person who will always opt for more memory, so I'd happily pay more for the KEYone to ship with 64GB or 128GB of internal memory by default.

The final hardware features I'll mention in this review are much-loved BlackBerry specific features.

The KEYone features the programmable BlackBerry Convenience Key, which used to be ubiquitous on BlackBerry Smartphones but in more recent years disappeared from hardware. Located on the lower right side of the phone, you can customize the Convenience Key like you do a keyboard shortcut, to either open an app or complete an action like speed dialing a contact or viewing today's agenda. Given that the Hub swipe gesture is not present on the KEYone, I think a lot of BlackBerry Hub fans will find themselves setting the Convenience Key to launch the Hub, making it easily accessible regardless of what you're doing on the phone. Other favorites of mine include using it to launch Google Assistant, or to toggle and on off the KEYone's flashlight/torch functionality, for those times when you know you're heading into dark places for the and will be needing a guiding light (which apparently for me happens on a more regular basis than you may think!). When on calls, the Convenience Key also serves as a mute key (note - gone is the play/pause/mute button typically found between the volume up/down keys). It's nice to see the Convenience Key on the KEYone - it further builds into that KEYone name and it's little utility-first features like this that made me a fan of BlackBerry to begin with.

The KEYone also features the infamous LED light, which flashes when you receive notifications. The light is RGB, which in certain apps allows for the color of the light to be customized. To be honest, this feature was one of my favorite features in my early days of BlackBerry, because back then I only received emails or text messages (and the occasional BBM). In 2017, we're so connected and message so much that I have to disable the LED or it would just be constantly. That said, I still love that it's there. Without it, it wouldn't be a BlackBerry!

All the Apps!

BlackBerry Android Software Experience

The BlackBerry KEYone runs Android Nougat, the latest available version of the Android operating system. While many long-term remaining BlackBerry fans would prefer the KEYone run BlackBerry 10, going Android makes the KEYone a far more appealing device to me and many other former and never owned a BlackBerry users. Most former BlackBerry users, myself included, left BlackBerry due to a lack of apps, or at the least were forced to carry a second iOS or Android phone with them in order to have all the apps they needed or wanted.

The adoption of Android by BlackBerry immediately solved this decade-long app problem that plagued BlackBerry. With the KEYone, I'm back to being a BlackBerry user and not needing to lug around a second device.

I refer to my colleagues at Android Central for their expertise on Android, and they agree BlackBerry has a done a good job of leaving the Android Operating system fairly stock while through the BlackBerry launcher adding in features that truly add value while making the experience more BlackBerry-like. From an Android user perspective, one of my favorite features of the BlackBerry Launcher is that they put the the notification badge (aka the BlackBerry "Spark" or "Splat" on) onto the application icon. Stock Android doesn't do this and it drives me nuts. The BlackBerry Launcher also allows for icon packs to be swapped in and out, so if you want a different look you can modify that without losing functionality. Keyboard shortcuts on the KEYone are tied to the BlackBerry Launcher app though, so if you are an Android tweaker and want to use a different Android launcher altogether on the KEYone you are going to lose some of that functionality.

The KEYone comes pre-loaded with many of BlackBerry's apps, including the BlackBerry Hub and DTEK. The Hub is BlackBerry's unified inbox on steroids, which allows you to pretty much connect all of your email, messaging and social accounts to it so all your communications are in one stream. DTEK is BlackBerry's security app, which gives you insight into how locked down (or not) your KEYone is. Now that BlackBerry BlackBerry (not BlackBerry Mobile) is a software company, you're starting to see them ramp up their efforts in app development. BlackBerry Notable is a new app that allows you to mark up screen captures with ease, and Privacy Shade allows you to get your James Bond, blacking on your screen and only revealing content where you drag your finger.

The nice thing about Android compared to other operating systems like BlackBerry 10 or iOS is its flexibility. If you want to change something, you likely can. For example, as much as so many people love the BlackBerry Hub, I personally am not a fan of it. Between all of my communication and social accounts, I simply receive too many messages a day to want to have everything coming into one location. I use my phone in a much more compartmentalized fashion - I check email when I want to do work. I open Instagram or Twitter when I have a few minutes to kill. When it comes to text messages, I want to be notified immediately. On the KEYone, thanks to Android, I simply chose to remove the Hub altogether - something I could never do on BlackBerry 10. I like having the power to choose.

I've watched Android evolve over the years, having even reviewed here on CrackBerry the original Android-powered T-Mobile G1, which ironically in true BlackBerry fashion had a physical keyboard and even a trackball!

Android has come a long way since those early days and with Nougat I feel like it's finally there - it's smooth, it's easy enough to figure out even if you've never used Android before and the availability of all the apps in the Google Play store make it worth any nitpicks you may come across (and again, the general flexibility of Android means you can probably fix anything that bugs you if you want to). We're also crushing here on CrackBerry with BlackBerry KEYone User Guides, so if you're moving over to the KEYone from BlackBerry 10 and have questions, we've got you covered.

BlackBerry is of course known for their industry leading security, and on the security front BlackBerry has Android locked down and has kept their word on staying committed to rolling out Android Security updates in a timely fashion.

Having had the KEYone since February on a pre-release model that still featured a software build from early January, I've watched the software experience improve steadily these past couple of months with every update pushed out. Even during the review period with my official KEYone review unit this past week, on the eve of this review going live a software update became available that seems to have further improved the overall speed and smoothness of the device. I expect we'll see software updates continue to rollout for the KEYone relatively often - there's a lot of new tech and functionality packed into the KEYone and I'm sure as more people log time with the KEYone they'll find more ways to optimize the experience. That said, even on my earliest pre-release build of the KEYone there were no showstoppers in the experience - I've been pretty much addicted to the experience since week 1.

Final Thoughts - Pushing All The Right Buttons

My wife is the best observer as to whether or not I like a tech product and if you ask her she'll tell you how much I love the KEYone, not based on what I say or have written here, but based on the fact that since getting one that it's rarely not in my hand. To quote her, "oh, that CrackBerry guy is really back".

The BlackBerry KEYone has brought back the BlackBerry Addict in me, but it's much better than the "good 'ole days of BlackBerry" because the KEYone is such a better phone than what we used a decade ago. There's something about the KEYone experience, between the look and feel of the hardware, the physical keyboard and that insanely good battery life that just make it a phone you want to hold and use, and even when not in use I catch myself staring at it (it's so much more demanding of my eyeball's attention than a boring slab device).

As I said at the start of this review, the story of the KEYone is the physical keyboard. By default that means it's not a device for everybody, but if you're a former or current BlackBerry user and you like the benefits that a physical keyboard provides, this is the phone for you. Buy it as soon as you can. At $549 outright, it's reasonably priced for a premium feeling phone. Even for those who have never used a physical keyboard on a smartphone before, as long as they're willing to commit a week to it to learn it and get comfortable on it, I could see first timers really falling for the KEYone. I wouldn't call the KEYone a nostalgia device - it's much more than that, but there is a nostalgia factor that does feel compelling and very in right now so I wouldn't be surprised to see first time BlackBerry users on the KEYone simply because it's so distinctly different in an era where smartphones have mainly been about sameness.

Coming into 2017 I wasn't expecting to see a new BlackBerry hit the market, never mind a new BlackBerry that kicks ass and I find myself really loving, so for that I'm thankful and excited to see BlackBerry Mobile picking up on what BlackBerry no longer wanted to be in the business of doing. After a lot of years of BlackBerry heartbreak, the KEYone feels like a fresh start for a new, modern era of BlackBerry Smartphones.

Two CrackBerry Thumbs Up!

BlackBerry KEYone

Learn more at BlackBerry Mobile

Main

Unlock your productivity with the Android-powered BlackBerry KEYone!

Visit BlackBerryMobile.com for purchase information and to register for updates.

Guides

About

DISTINCTLY DIFFERENT, DISTINCTLY BLACKBERRY

BlackBerry KEYone pairs the best of BlackBerry’s software and security with TCL Communication’s commitment to delivering high-quality, reliable smartphones to customers around the world.

Beyond the iconic BlackBerry design that’s been curated for the modern user, the BlackBerry KEYone comes with a number of additional features that truly reinvents communications for the professional consumer.

  • Built to last – An iconic BlackBerry smartphone made reliable for the demanding user, the BlackBerry KEYone combines a sleek aluminum frame and soft grip textured back built to offer the best in durability.
  • Runs Android™ 7.1 Nougat – Giving users access to the entire Google Play store and apps - and will receive Google™ security patch updates.
  • The keyboard reimagined – Forget what you knew about keyboards, the BlackBerry Smart Keyboard goes beyond typing. It can be easily programmed to launch up to 52 customizable shortcuts, providing even greater ease of use. And use it to scroll through web pages, the picture gallery or to take a picture.
  • Loaded with BlackBerry® Hub® – Bringing all your messages into one consolidated place; including emails, texts and messages from any social media account.
  • Unrivaled security features – The BlackBerry KEYone is designed to offer the most secure Android smartphone experience possible.
  • Long battery life – Featuring the largest battery ever found in a BlackBerry smartphone, the BlackBerry KEYone offers roughly 26 hours of mixed use, thanks to its 3505mAh battery.
  • Impressive photo quality – The BlackBerry KEYone includes a 12MP rear camera with an industry leading camera sensor that captures sharp, crisp photos in any light. And for when you have to take a video conference on the go, it includes an 8MP front camera with fixed focus and 84-degree wide angle lens.

Specs

Width Height Thickness 5.87 in
149.1 mm
2.85 in
72.4 mm
0.37 in
9.4 mm
6.35 oz
180 grams
  • Display:
    • 4.5-inch IPS LCD display
    • 1620x1080 resolution
    • 434ppi
  • Chips:
    • Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 processor
    • 8x 2.0Ghz Cortex A53 cores
    • 3GB RAM
    • 32GB internal storage
    • microSD card slot
  • Cameras:
    • 12MP ƒ/20 PDAF rear camera
    • Dual-tone LED flash
    • 8MP ƒ/2.2 front camera
  • Battery:
    • 3505 mAh battery
    • Non-removable
    • USB-C, Quick Charge 3.0 + boost charging
  • Software:
    • Android 7.1.1 Nougat
    • DTEK security suite
    • FIPS 140-2 full disk encryption
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RSVP now for CrackBerry Meetups in Calgary, Vancouver, Ottawa, Montreal & Waterloo!

It's time to continue the CrackBerry Meetup Tour! The Canadian cities of Calgary, Vancouver, Ottawa and Montreal are next on the list before we turn south and visit the USA!

Update: Reminder that the Calgary Meetup is this Friday and Vancouver is this Saturday. And we've added a Kitchener/Waterloo Meetup for Thursday, May 18th!

As promised, it's time to bring the CrackBerry Meetup fun to more cities! After a hiatus in April, we're going to pick it up again in May visiting a handful of Canadian cities first before we take the tour south and visit some US destinations. The next cities we'll be hitting up are Calgary, Vancouver, Ottawa and Montreal!

DATES & RSVP NOW:

Hit the links below to jump over to official Meetup Page for full details and to RSVP. Once you're RSVP'd, you'll receive email updates as we get closer to dates, locking in the location and providing additional info.

Calgary - Friday, May 5th

Vancouver - Saturday, May 6th

Ottawa - Saturday, May 13th

Montreal - Monday, May 15th

Waterloo - Thursday, May 18th

Just as there is competition between Canadian hockey and football teams between cities, I'm thinking there's a bit of city pride on the line here with these meetups being back to back to back to back. Which city can bring you the biggest crew of BlackBerry fans?! That's the one that will win epic CrackBerry bragging rights! So be sure to spread the word, and RSVP!

Remember, all attendees will have a chance to go hands on with the BlackBerry KEYone and enter a draw where they could win a free BlackBerry KEYone!

SIGN UP TO CRACKBERRY MEETUP GROUP NEAR YOU

If you haven't yet, be sure to visit our global CrackBerry Meetup Groups page, where you can sign up for your city. If an official CrackBerry Meetup is coming your way, we'll be sure to let you know.

Register for a CrackBerry Meetup Group In Your City

Visit the CrackBerry Meetup Groups Forum

What to Expect at a CrackBerry Meetup

Watch the videos for highlights from our NYC and Miami meetups!


The BlackBerry #KEYone is #WorthTheWait Giveaway! [Winners Announced]

I know, I know... waiting is HARD and so many of you want your new BlackBerry KEYone NOOOOOW! To pass the time in true CrackBerry fashion, we're giving away chance to win not one, but THREE IOU's for a KEYone courtesy of CrackBerry Kevin!

WINNERS ANNOUNCED: Eduard P. (@epertinez), Jean H. (Sigewif), Chris R. (Gelatinous). Congrats!!

Update: May 1st, 2017 - Thanks for participating in our BlackBerry KEYone #WORTHTHEWAIT Giveaway! The winners are Eduard P. (@epertinez), Jean H. (Sigewif), Chris R. (Gelatinous). Congrats to them all. We're already cooking up our next giveaway, so keep it locked to CrackBerry for your next chance to win!

Original Post: You know that saying time is relative? I think the wait for the BlackBerry KEYone is a good illustration of that. For hardcore BlackBerry fans that have been following the journey all the way back to 2015 when leaks of the then-codenamed "BlackBerry Vienna" surfaced, it has been a lonnng time yearning for this new phone. For others, the waiting began in January when it was teased as the BlackBerry Mercury, not by BlackBerry but by BlackBerry Mobile. For some the wait began at the end of February when the phone was officially unveiled as the BlackBerry KEYone at Mobile World Congress. And for many more people, the waiting has yet to begin - it won't be until the KEYone hits store shelves and official marketing ramps up that they'll realize BlackBerry is back with a kick ass Android-powered smartphone. What wait?! :)

Since the waiting is hardest for those wanting the KEYone the most, it's time to celebrate the wait with another chance to win an IOU for a BlackBerry KEYone courtesy of CBK. This time around I'm going to give you lots of options to enter.

Eight Ways To Enter the BlackBerry KEYone #WorthTheWait Giveaway

KEYone WORTH THE WAIT giveaway!

For this giveaway, we'll be using the fancy giveaway widget above. There are EIGHT ways to enter and gain entries for your chance to win. We're running this giveaway until the end of April and will announce three winners on May 1st, who will each receive an IOU for the BlackBerry KEYone.

Each method of entry will earn you a specific number of entries. If you're socially minded, you can earn over 30 entries by following BlackBerry Mobile, CrackBerry and CrackBerry Kevin in our various locations on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and Youtube.

If you're more of a CrackBerry Forums type of user, you can earn 2 entries per day by participating on our Happy Thoughts CrackBerry KEYone Waiting Room Thread! This needs to be verified via the widget above as well to count.

To get started with your entries, just hit the links on the widget and follow the instructions. Good luck!!


CrackBerry Podcast - Regroup

Bla1ze is back from vacation, CBK is (mainly) back to health, and Adam Zeis is out of CrackBerry retirement! The trio regroups on this episode to talk BlackBerry UK Launch, North American availability and more!

We fired up the CrackBerry Podcast machine Sunday evening to catch up on the BlackBerry news of the week, which was dominated by the BlackBerry KEYone which began it's global rollout, becoming available for purchase in the UK.

Continuing the 10 Years of CrackBerry fun, finally joining Bla1ze and CrackBerry Kevin on this episode was Adam Zeis, long-time CrackBerry Editor. With Bla1ze just back from vacation, Kevin still recovering from a cold and Adam a little bit out of the BlackBerry loop still, it was a bit of a messy show but fun all the same. We hope you enjoy it!


BlackBerry KEYone Unboxing Video Roundup

The BlackBerry KEYone was officially launched in the UK yesterday at Selfridges. The cozy rooftop venue was the perfect place to celebrate bringing the KEYone to the region. I wanted to be there in person and was booked to do so, but had to cancel my flight last minute (getting sick is the worst!).

That said, I still managed to get a CBK-certified KEYone unboxing up for your viewing pleasure. And I wasn't alone hitting the YouTube with KEYone unboxing goodness, check out these other unboxings to calm your KEYone nerve while you hold over for the device to go on sale in North America starting May 31st.


CrackBerry's BlackBerry KEYone Unboxing

It's time... to unbox... the BlackBerry KEYone!

April 27th marks a big day in BlackBerry KEYone history with the device officially going on sale in the UK. It also marks a day when you'll start to see more BlackBerry KEYone content popping up online and on social channels as UK customers buy the device and the tech review process begins.

Yes, the KEYone has now made its way into the hands of many tech reviewers around the globe and while the reviews will be coming soon, today I can share with you my unboxing. Hit play on the video above to watch! Keep in mind, this was a review unit and not a retail store unit, so I'd expect to see some differences in packaging when you're able to pick up a KEYone for yourself. Our friends at AndroidCentral made it to the Selfridges event in London, so they should be following up soon with a proper look at retail packaging.

As for my full KEYone review thoughts, you'll have to wait on those, but I think the photo below sums it up nicely :)


BlackBerry KEYone will go on-sale in the U.S. starting on May 31

BlackBerry Mobile's press announcements today centered around UK and Canada launches of the BlackBerry KEYone but BlackBerry Mobile has also clarified on-sale availability for BlackBerry KEYone in the United States. The added information explains that additional carriers will be on board to support the BlackBerry KEYone including Sprint in the U.S. later this summer. Some key details include that there will be both GSM and CDMA unlocked variants available for purchase starting on May 31st for around $549.

In addition to the news related to our BlackBerry KEYone launch in Canada, we can confirm that the BlackBerry KEYone will go on-sale in the U.S. starting on May 31. This will include both GSM and CDMA unlocked variants, with the BlackBerry KEYone also coming to additional carriers – including Sprint – later this summer. We'll have further details to share as we get closer to the end of May.

While we don't have official details as to the exact pricing or where users can buy unlocked we expect as the date approaches those final details will be ironed out so users know exactly where to go once the KEYone hits open market availability.

In the past, Sprint was notably absent from support of BlackBerry devices. The last BlackBerry device Sprint carried was the BlackBerry Q10 back in 2013. Hopefully we'll see more US carriers announce their support soon.

Be sure you're registered for updates on BlackBerryMobile.com so you'll be the first to know when more details become publicly available closer to the end of May.


BlackBerry KEYone Canadian carrier partners and availability announced

Pre-Orders begin May 18; on-sale availability begins May 31st; and you'll be able to buy the KEYone for $199 on a 2-year term from Bell, Bell MTS, Rogers, SaskTel and Telus

Less than six months after TCL Communications signed a global smartphone licensing partnership with BlackBerry Limited we now have availability details announced for North America. By the end of May users in the region will finally be able to purchase their very own BlackBerry KEYone smartphone running Android Nougat 7.1.1.

TCL Communications has announced that the BlackBerry KEYone will be available for pre-order on May 18th, 2017 through select partners in Canada. On-sale availability for the U.S and Canada will begin on May 31st, 2017. The device will go on sale next month at Bell, Bell MTS, Rogers, SaskTel and TELUS Business starting at $199 CAD on a two-year term. With BlackBerry's Canadian heritage in mind, it's great to see all the support for this new era of BlackBerry smartphones on the homefront.

AWARD-WINNING BLACKBERRY® KEYONE OFFICIAL ON-SALE DETAILS ANNOUNCED FOR CANADA

IRVINE, Calif. and TORONTO – April 27, 2017 – As one of the highlights of this year's Mobile World Congress, the BlackBerry KEYone captured global attention and acclaim, ushering in a new era of BlackBerry smartphones. Today, TCL Communication, a leading global smartphone manufacturer and global smartphone licensing partner of BlackBerry Limited, is announcing that the BlackBerry KEYone will officially be on-sale in Canada next month at Bell, Bell MTS, Rogers, SaskTel and TELUS Business starting at $199 CAD on a two year term.

Ahead of next month's official on-sale date, the BlackBerry KEYone will be available for pre-order starting May 18 from select partners.

"After all the anticipation and positive response received from the BlackBerry community on the BlackBerry KEYone, it's an honor to offer this all-new Android-powered BlackBerry smartphone to customers across Canada," said Steve Cistulli, President and General Manager for TCL Communication (TCT), North America. "The BlackBerry story has such a rich history here in Canada, and we're proud to be part of the new evolution of BlackBerry smartphones that reimagine how we communicate and stay connected with a device that is so distinctly different."

"BlackBerry fans in Canada will be extremely excited to have the BlackBerry KEYone available in their market," said Alex Thurber, Sr. Vice President and General Manager of the Mobility Solutions at BlackBerry. "Anyone who is an Android loyalist and values the mobile security and productivity that BlackBerry software brings will love this smartphone."

BUILT TO LAST

An iconic BlackBerry smartphone made for the modern user, the BlackBerry KEYone combines a sleek aluminum frame and soft grip textured back built to offer the best in durability. It also has a 4.5-inch touch display that features Corning® Gorilla® Glass 4, offering greater impact and scratch resistance.

KEYBOARD REIMAGINED

The BlackBerry® KEYone reimagines how we communicate with a Smart Keyboard that goes beyond typing. Up to 52 customizable shortcuts transform each letter key for quick access to your favorite apps and most important contacts. Touch navigation responds to touch gestures like a trackpad, to quickly scroll through webpages or emails. Flick typing offers predictive text, made even faster with the ability to flick words onto your screen as you type. The device includes the world's first keyboard-embedded fingerprint sensor conveniently located in the spacebar and provides added device security.

POWERED BY ANDROID

Enjoy the familiarity and functionality of Android™ 7.1 Nougat giving users access to the entire Google Play™ store and over one million apps. This includes BlackBerry® Hub which brings all your messages into one consolidated place. This includes emails, texts and messages from any social media account.

OUTSTANDING BATTERY LIFE

Featuring the largest battery ever found in a BlackBerry smartphone, the BlackBerry KEYone offers all-day use and then some, with up to 26+ hours of mixed use, thanks to the 3505mAh battery. Qualcomm® Quick Charge™ 3.0 technology enables up to 50 percent charge in roughly 36 minutes. In times when you only have a few moments to charge up, BlackBerry® Boost is optimized to get you the most charge with the limited time you have.

WORLD'S MOST SECURE ANDROID SMARTPHONE

What really sets a BlackBerry smartphone apart from any other Android device, are the enhanced security features built into every device, right from the start. From a hardened operating system to BlackBerry Limited's proprietary technique for establishing a hardware root of trust adding security keys to the processor, the BlackBerry KEYone is designed to offer the most secure Android smartphone experience possible. This device comes pre-loaded with DTEK™ by BlackBerry, offering constant security monitoring and protection of your operating system and apps by letting you know when your privacy could be at risk and how you can take action to improve it. A quick glimpse lets you see the overall security rating for your device and provides simple access allowing you to easily improve your security status. This BlackBerry security application monitors your other apps, alerting you if one is accessing your camera to take a picture or video, turning your microphone on, sending a text message, accessing your contacts or location.

IMPRESSIVE PHOTO QUALITY

The BlackBerry KEYone includes a 12MP rear camera with an industry leading camera sensor (Sony IMX378) that captures sharp, crisp photos in any light. The wide aperture lens with large 1.55μm pixels and dual-tone flash ensures your photos will have superior color and clarity. For times when you have to take a video conference on the go, the device includes an 8MP front camera with fixed focus, LCD Flash, and 84-degree wide angle lens.

QUALCOMM® SNAPDRAGON™ POWER

At the core of this new BlackBerry smartphone is the Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 mobile platform with the Qualcomm® Adreno™ 506 GPU. This means BlackBerry KEYone users will enjoy a powerful combination of optimized battery efficiency and usage and fast LTE speeds for super-fast file sharing.

The BlackBerry KEYone will be on-sale in Canada and the U.S. starting on May 31, 2017. For more information about the BlackBerry KEYone and to register for pre-order updates, please visit www.BlackBerryMobile.com.

About TCL Communication

TCL Communication Technology Holdings Limited (TCL Communication) designs, manufactures and markets an expanding portfolio of mobile and internet products and services worldwide under three key brands – TCL, Alcatel and BlackBerry. The company's portfolio of products are currently sold in over 160 countries throughout North America, Latin America, Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia Pacific, TCL Communication ranked as a top-10 global smartphone manufacturer by IDC. Headquartered in Hong Kong, TCL Communication operates nine R&D centers worldwide, employing more than 13,500 people across the globe. For more information, please visit www.tclcom.com.

TCL is a registered trademark of TCL Corporation. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners. Alcatel is a trademark of Alcatel-Lucent used under license by TCL Communication.

Trademarks, including but not limited to BLACKBERRY and EMBLEM Design are the trademarks or registered trademarks of BlackBerry Limited, used under license, and the exclusive rights to such trademarks are expressly reserved. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners. BlackBerry is not responsible for any third-party products or services.

Qualcomm, Snapdragon and Adreno are trademarks of Qualcomm Incorporated, registered in the United States and other countries. Quick Charge is a trademark of Qualcomm Incorporated. Qualcomm Snapdragon, Qualcomm Adreno and Qualcomm Quick Charge are products of Qualcomm Technologies, Inc.


BlackBerry KEYone now available in the UK in retail first at Selfridges

Today, TCL Communication, a leading global smartphone manufacturer and global smartphone licensing partner of BlackBerry Limited, celebrates the UK launch of its new BlackBerry smartphone – BlackBerry KEYone, at Selfridges, Oxford Street, London.

After the official BlackBerry KEYone unveiling during MWC 2017 in Barcelona, TCL Communications is now celebrating the UK launch of its new Android powered BlackBerry smartphone at Selfridges, Oxford Street store in London. BlackBerry KEYone will be available in limited quantities for £499 GBP at Selfridges and will be available to purchase from Carephone Warehouse stores nationwide starting May 5th.

In addition, the BlackBerry KEYone is also listed on the staging page at Vodafone UK. KEYone offers the best of the BlackBerry-Android software experience with the premium build quality and features you'd expect from a modern smartphone.

BLACKBERRY KEYone NOW AVAILABLE IN THE UK IN RETAIL FIRST AT SELFRIDGES

London – 27th April 2017 – Today, TCL Communication, a leading global smartphone manufacturer and global smartphone licensing partner of BlackBerry Limited, celebrates the UK launch of its new BlackBerry smartphone – BlackBerry KEYone, at Selfridges, Oxford Street, London. It is the first of our retail launches globally of the BlackBerry KEYone, released from TCL Communication under a new brand licensing agreement signed in December 2016 with BlackBerry Limited. Following the Selfridges launch, the BlackBerry KEYone will be available to purchase from Carphone Warehouse stores nationwide from May the 5th.

Speaking at the BlackBerry KEYone launch event at Selfridges, Johnathan Young, UK Country Manager for BlackBerry Mobile said "We are delighted to launch the BlackBerry KEYone first in the UK with Selfridges. Selfridges, voted world's best department store three times consecutively have been a longtime supporter of BlackBerry. Our retail strategy is to be where our customers are and, as a multichannel retailer dealing in the premium end of the market, Selfridges reflects BlackBerry KEYone's identity in the smartphone market."

"We want to congratulate BlackBerry Mobile on the UK launch of the BlackBerry KEYone." said Bosse Myhr, Selfridges Director of Technology, Home and Menswear "We are thrilled to be the first UK retailer to offer customers the BlackBerry KEYone at our flagship Oxford Street store and provide them with a premium smartphone that aligns with their unique and discerning style."

DISTINCTLY DIFFERENT, DISTINCTLY BLACKBERRY

BlackBerry KEYone pairs the best of BlackBerry's software and security with TCL Communication's commitment to delivering high-quality, reliable smartphones to customers around the world.

Beyond the iconic BlackBerry design that's been curated for the modern user, the BlackBerry KEYone comes with a number of additional features that truly reinvents communications for the professional consumer.

  • Built to last – An iconic BlackBerry smartphone made reliable for the demanding user, the BlackBerry KEYone combines a sleek aluminum frame and soft grip textured back built to offer the best in durability.

  • Runs Android™ 7.1 Nougat – giving users access to the entire Google Play store and apps - and will receive Google™ security patch updates.

  • The keyboard reimagined – Forget what you knew about keyboards, the BlackBerry Smart Keyboard goes beyond typing. It can be easily programmed to launch up to 52 customizable shortcuts, providing even greater ease of use. …And use it to scroll through web pages, the picture gallery or to take a picture.

  • Loaded with BlackBerry® Hub® – Bringing all your messages into one consolidated place; including emails, texts and messages from any social media account.

  • Unrivalled security features – The BlackBerry KEYone is designed to offer the most secure Android smartphone experience possible.

  • Long battery life – Featuring the largest battery ever found in a BlackBerry smartphone, the BlackBerry KEYone offers roughly 26 hours of mixed use, thanks to its 3505mAh battery.

  • Impressive photo quality – The BlackBerry KEYone includes a 12MP rear camera with an industry leading camera sensor that captures sharp, crisp photos in any light. And for when you have to take a video conference on the go, it includes an 8MP front camera with fixed focus and 84-degree wide angle lens.

The BlackBerry KEYone is available exclusively at the Home and Tech department at Selfridges, Oxford Street, London for a limited period, at the price of £499 GBP.

For more information about the BlackBerry KEYone please visit www.BlackBerryMobile.com.

About TCL Communication TCL Communication Technology Holdings Limited (TCL Communication) designs, manufactures and markets an expanding portfolio of mobile and internet products and services worldwide under three key brands – TCL, Alcatel and BlackBerry. The company's portfolio of products are currently sold in over 160 countries throughout North America, Latin America, Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia Pacific, TCL Communication ranked as a top-10 global smartphone manufacturer by IDC. Headquartered in Hong Kong, TCL Communication operates nine R&D centers worldwide, employing more than 13,500 people across the globe. For more information, please visit www.tclcom.com.

TCL is a registered trademark of TCL Corporation. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners. Alcatel is a trademark of Alcatel-Lucent used under license by TCL Communication.

Trademarks, including but not limited to BLACKBERRY and EMBLEM Design are the trademarks or registered trademarks of BlackBerry Limited, used under license, and the exclusive rights to such trademarks are expressly reserved. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners. BlackBerry is not responsible for any third-party products or services.


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