BlackBerry's 'Mercury' phone is now the KEYone

The physical keyboard is back.

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Nick Summers
February 25, 2017 1:31 PM
BlackBerry's 'Mercury' phone is now the KEYone

What was once known as the BlackBerry "Mercury" is now the KEYone. (Yeah, I don't like the name either.) At a press conference in Barcelona, TCL -- the new steward of BlackBerry's hardware efforts -- introduced, or rather re-introduced, its first Android handset with a QWERTY keyboard. It's a tall, enterprise-friendly smartphone with BlackBerry's DTEK software dumped on top of the OS. You can expect a fairly clean version of Android, but with the BlackBerry Hub and a few other apps aimed at business types. Clearly, this is a niche device: Unlike the DTEK50 and DTEK60, which ditched the physical keyboard, this is a phone for the BlackBerry purists.

The keyboard is more than just a simple typing machine. It also serves as a touch-sensitive control pad, making it easier to adjust the cursor in long-winded emails and text documents. All 52 letter keys can also be programmed to launch specific apps when you tap or long-press them. F for Facebook, U for Uber -- you get the idea. Above the nifty keys is a 4.5-inch, 1080p display, which is small by modern standards but necessary to stop the phone from becoming a monster like the BlackBerry Passport. Buried inside is a Snapdragon 625 processor and 3,505mAh battery, which you can top up with "Boost," BlackBerry's take on fast charging.

The BlackBerry Mercury will be going on sale this April for $549/£499/€599. It will be available worldwide through various retailers and carriers -- exclusively in black, of course.

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