BlackBerry KEY2 is ‘the most secure Android smartphone’

TCL launches the BlackBerry Key2 for $649

Chinese hardware manufacturer TCL Communications has officially unveiled its latest BlackBerry-branded smartphone: the BlackBerry KEY2.

The new device, which includes a physical keyboard under a 4.5 inch screen and runs the Android operating system updates the first BlackBerry Key released previous year. With a "hardened" operating system to defend against attacks, the KEY2 is described by TCL Communication as "the most secure Android smartphone".

While the KEY2 release includes a new camera and a tweaked QWERTY keyboard, it is clear that TCL is seeking to encourage business users, who once fuelled BlackBerry smartphones' success, by delivering improved security and privacy in an Android phone.

The BlackBerry KEY2 will go on sale later this month for a reasonable $649 - an exact date is not yet known, though. BlackBerry will also be hosting pop-up stores across cities like New York City, a la OnePlus, so potential buyers can come and experience the KEY2. It may not have the power of a Snapdragon 845, but it should make better use of the 3,500 mAh battery, which also supports Quick Charge 3.0.




In the case of the KEY2 specifically, it's a clear evolution over the last BlackBerry. A new Proactive Health check feature promises to make that scanning process even easier.

The keyboard on the BlackBerry Key2, right, sports a very different design from the KeyOne's, left. There are about 15 BlackBerry apps preloaded in total. If you need additional storage, you can pop a microSD card into the KEY2. BlackBerry stripped away the KeyOne's gaudy metallic accents, frets between the key rows and overly rounded edges for a sharper, more minimalist vibe that really lets the 7000-series aluminum frame stand on its own. The bottom part of the phone is occupied by an intelligent QWERTY keypad with 20 percent larger keys and dedicated speed keys which allows users to assign up to 52 customised shortcuts. Those cameras will be able to shoot 4K and 1080p videos. New this time around is that the device ships with Firefox Focus, which Mozilla incidentally updated with cookie management and autocomplete improvements just a couple of weeks ago.

BlackBerry Key2 launch: What to expect?

The KEY2, which retails for US$649, features a BlackBerry app called DTEK that helps users see and manage how data is used by other apps.

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