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Blackberry KEYone with Snapdragon 625 launched at MWC 2017

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Official renders of Black Berry Mecury posted by TCL President

BlackBerry has launched their latest product, BlackBerry KeyOne, long rumoured the BlackBerry Mercury in the market right ahead of MWC 2017.

BlackBerry has unveiled what is touted as its last in-house designed and developed smartphone, the KEYone.

Customizable QWERTY keyboard: The idea behind the phone seems to be retaining BlackBerry's old school charm from back in the day - the KEYone comes with a full QWERTY keyboard accompanying its 4.5-inch display.

The device sports a 12-megapixel rear camera featuring Sony IMX378 sensor along with a front-facing 8-megapixel fixed focus camera.

The choice of Snapdragon 625 processor is certainly not top-end considering the smartphone has debuted at a time when a number of new Android smartphones running Qualcomm's top-end 835 processor will be announced. It comes with 32GB storage which can be expanded by upto 2 TB via microSD slot. The BlackBerry KeyOne will be priced at $549 in the USA, £499 in the United Kingdom, and 599 Euro in Europe. But those phones didn't have a physical keyboard.

The keyboard is capacitive in nature, like the one on the BlackBerry Passport. "But TCL must be careful not to price itself out of its target segment", Ian Fogg, head of mobile analysis at IHS, said, adding: "Microsoft's failure to establish Windows 10 Mobile as the enterprise smartphone OS provides a second chance for BlackBerry to re-establish its mobile market presence". In terms of style, BlackBerry KeyOne has a metal frame, while the back of the phone is textured which not only gives the phone a premium look but help with grip as well.

Under the agreement, BlackBerry will remain in control of software and security on smartphones, while TCL will handle creating handsets powered by Google Android software.

After that, BlackBerry will market to consumers who are in the bring-your-own-device market, he said.

Although bearing the BlackBerry name, the new phone has actually been pieced together by third party manufacturer TCL as the first device of a partnership between the two companies.

Coming to the major aspect of the phone, the trademark Blackberry Keyboard, which can be tweaked to perform several operations such as quick launch apps, "Flick Typing"- a gesture that can be used for predictive texting. It is the newest addition to the Canadian behemoth's growing lineup of Android smartphones.

On the KEYone, the physical keyboard has been turbo-charged, allowing you to use each key as a shortcut, assigning keys to apps and actions. All the keys on the keyboard are therefore programmable. It promises "unparalleled security", thanks to its "hardened" version of Android, which includes unique protective features not available on other Android devices.

"We have worked closely with TCL to build security and the BlackBerry experience into every layer of KEYone, so the BlackBerry DNA remains very much in place", BlackBerry mobility solutions senior vice president Alex Thurber said in the statement.

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