The next BlackBerry phone is supposed to be announced later
this week, but thanks
to VentureBeat reporter Evan Blass, we’re getting
an early look at it. The new phone is called the BlackBerry
Key2, and leaked images make it look like a refined version of
the KeyOne, with a subdued gray and black appearance, fewer
conspicuous holes and sensors, and perhaps even a slightly more
spacious keyboard layout.
The keyboard is, of course, the highlight of this device. While
modern BlackBerry phones come with additional security features
that harken back to BlackBerry’s legacy, they’re otherwise
pretty generic Android phones that really only stand out thanks
to the BlackBerry name. (And they’re not even built by
BlackBerry, but by TCL.)
To give the phones some kind of edge, the Key line has brought
back BlackBerry’s trademark keyboard. I’m not sure how many
people will still agree that tiny physical keyboards are better
than on-screen ones, but the Key phones at least give you the
option to choose.
This time around, TCL has also added dual cameras to the phone.
It doesn’t look like there are other major changes externally,
though TCL appears to have changed the keyboard’s bottom-right
shift button into something that looks like a shortcut key — it
seems to resemble an app launcher.
The original version of the phone, the Key One, had a 4.5-inch
screen and a mid-range Snapdragon 625 processor. The Key2 is
rumored to keep the 4.5-inch size but upgrade to
the more recent Snapdragon 660.
TCL is supposed to announce the new phone
this Thursday, June 7th.