BlackBerry KEY2 Announced With Android Oreo and Snapdragon 660

Posted June 08, 2018

After some leaks, BlackBerry today formally announced its latest smartphone, the 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 a year ago.

Featuring an iconic BlackBerry physical keyboard and loaded with BlackBerry Limited's best security and privacy enhancements, this all-new BlackBerry smartphone packs a number of features that are firsts for any BlackBerry smartphone. "Upfront, they have kept the same 4.5" 3:2 display that pushes 1620×1080 pixels resolution.

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BlackBerry Key2 will be available for pre-order in select markets like US, China, UAE in June, while its global launch will begin in early July. 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. For the most part, the BlackBerry KEY2 remains the same as KEYone, but BlackBerry has taken the feedback it received for the KEYone and implemented the same on the KEY2. Unlike the BlackBerry deal, TCL controls the software on Alcatel devices, TCL said. The KEY2 also comes preloaded with a DTEK app that shows the phone's overall security rating and provides insight into how apps are using data, as well as managing app permissions.

For changes over last year's KeyOne, BlackBerry highlights an improved physical keyboard with Speed Key, which allows you to utilize shortcuts and gestures to open apps regardless of what screen you're on.

The Key2 launches with Android 8.1 Oreo on board, and BlackBerry says owners can expect one guaranteed update to Android P. Customizations to the stock Android experience are mostly light, though BlackBerry has added a new shortcut key to the right of the spacebar that can be held and combined with one of the other 52 keys to trigger shortcuts from any screen.

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Powering the KEY2 is a 3,500mAh battery which is rated to last up to 2 days on a single charge. If you need additional storage, you can pop a microSD card into the KEY2.

On the front of the device, there's an 8 megapixel fixed-focus camera, which can record full 1080p video. But the unique feature is the Speed Key, situated in the bottom right-hand corner of the keyboard.

According to TCL, the Blackberry KEY2 will be shipping globally starting this month.

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What do you think of the BlackBerry KEY2?