The BlackBerry KeyOne is Here and It Just Might Give You Keyboard FOMO
BlackBerry’s Android-powered smartphone, the KeyOne, is now available. Will anyone buy it?
BlackBerry just dropped the KeyOne smartphone—a device that consumer electronics experts are calling a suped-up take on the utilitarian products that helped the brand soar leading up to its peak in the late 2000s, along with some much-needed upgrades.
Times are a little different for BlackBerry since its time in the sun prior to the smartphone revolution. For one, the devices are made by TCL (a hardware company based in Hong Kong), not BlackBerry, and they run on Google’s Android OS. Still, BlackBerry supporters—and maybe some people who simply want to kick it old school—will appreciate the key product features.
For starters, the phone looks like a BlackBerry of yesteryear, most notably due to the inclusion of a QWERTY keyboard (whoa, throwback!). Verge writer Dan Seifert astutely points out that one of the leading benefits of BlackBerry’s original keyboard was the feeling that you were “getting shit done” while using it. This adrenaline boost from the clickety-click of a BlackBerry will be relatable to a certain consumer persona who loved the productivity afforded by products like the BlackBerry bold, with some hangers-on using the devices to this day.
Still, these people are few and far between. Very few and very far. In February, Recode reported that the Canadian company’s market share had fallen to 0.0 percent. BlackBerry had, quite literally, fallen off the map with just 200,000 global device sales in Q1 2016, per the research firm Gartner.
Naturally, BlackBerry hopes to turn a new page with KeyOne, which retails for $549. A few of its other leading features include a battery that supposedly lasts “all day,” a wider screen (4.5 inch display with 3:2 aspect ratio), and a more “corporate” aesthetic. The somewhat-cramped screen size makes the KeyOne less ideal for consuming video content, but that doesn’t seem to be what they’re after. Several reviewers agree that the phone is for people who live and breathe their work lives via email.
It’s not for the Slack generation, but a certain breed of workaholics might appreciate it all the same.
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