TCL carries flickering BlackBerry flame with new phone launch

Published: 07:55 GMT, Feb 26, 2017 |

The new BlackBerry KEYone smartphone was unveiled in Barcelona on Saturday (February), ahead of the Mobile World Congress, Europe’s largest annual trade fair.

TCL Communications, which struck a brand licensing deal with BlackBerry Ltd. in December, is focusing the phone’s marketing around security – one of the key factors that underpinned the Canadian company’s phenomenal success in the pre-smartphone era.

“The BlackBerry KEYone is and will be the most secure Android device on the market, full stop. To make sure we can keep that promise we have two elements, one is BlackBerry Company is taking care of the software, making sure the software is at the best level in terms of security and having monthly updates on the security, this is the really, really key,” said Chief Executive Office of TCL communication, Nicolas Ziebell.

The device runs Android 7.1 – giving users access to the Google Play store and apps – and receives Google security patch updates, which many Android smartphones lack.

The KEYone combines a touch display with a physical keyboard to give users more useable space for typing than a typical 5.5-inch all-touch smartphone

“It combines the best of a smartphone with a smart keyboard. It’s a keyboard that you can use, of course, for typing, but you can use it also for swiping and you can use it also to have direct access all your key apps. So for instance, you can say the “u” becomes Uber, the “i” becomes Instagram, the “f” becomes Facebook,” Ziebell said.

TCL is best known as the maker of Alcatel handsets and ranked as the world’s No. 7 phone maker, according to recent IDC data.

The KEYone is set be launched in April with a price tag of $549.