The smartphone scene has already seen great contenders this year with the LG G6 and the Samsung Galaxy S8 series, but BlackBerry has a new midranger in tow.
The BlackBerry KeyOne, also known by the codename "Mercury," has been expected for a good while now and it could be the last BlackBerry QWERTY device we see for a good while.
Even when it was known only as Mercury, the smartphone leaked extensively and created quite some hype. An official page briefly went live back in February, revealing that the smartphone will officially launch as the BlackBerry KeyOne, and the company then made it official at the Mobile World Congress 2017 when it promised an April launch.
BlackBerry KeyOne Release Delayed
As it turns out, however, it now looks like the BlackBerry KeyOne is facing some delays and will not be arriving this month after all. During the company's latest earnings call, BlackBerry CEO John Chen said that the KeyOne release was pushed back by a month and the handset will hit the scene in May rather than April.
The news unsurprisingly sparked some questions and perhaps some disappointment, so Steve Cistulli, the president and general manager of the North American branch of TCL, the company releasing BlackBerry-branded devices, took to Twitter to clear the air.
.@BBMobile Therefore the U.S. and Canadian KEYone launches will be in May 5/
— Steve Cistulli (@SteveCistulli) March 31, 2017
The official reason for this delay is to better prepare for the unexpectedly high demand for the handset. Truth be told, it's probably better this way anyway since the Galaxy S8 hits the market later this month and a BlackBerry release the same month could go unnoticed, paling in comparison.
BlackBerry was once at the top of the food chain, renowned worldwide for its sophisticated smartphones suitable for enterprise customers and regular users alike, but it lost significant ground to rivals in recent years.
In an increasingly competitive smartphone market, BlackBerry has been trying to make a comeback for years but has yet to come up with the hit products it needs to relive its glory days. The company has tried various strategies, including releasing smartphones without the iconic BlackBerry QWERTY keyboard, to no avail.
More recently, BlackBerry moved to the Android platform in a last attempt to adapt to current trends and the upcoming BlackBerry KeyOne will run Android as well. Cistulli notes that BlackBerry has seen an "overwhelmingly positive" response to the KeyOne and demand has exceeded the initial supply.
Consequently, to avoid launching the smartphone only to run out of stock in no time, BlackBerry has decided to postpone the KeyOne release to May so it can stock up on more units.
BlackBerry KeyOne Specs
As a reminder, the BlackBerry KeyOne product page that briefly went live in February revealed the handset's specifications and the KeyOne will fit the midrange segment of the smartphone market.
The KeyOne will feature a 4.5-inch display with a 1,620 x 1,080 pixel resolution and a 3:2 aspect ratio, an octa-core Snapdragon 625 processor, 3 GB of RAM, 32 GB of internal storage, a 12-megapixel main camera with 4K video recording capabilities, an 8-megapixel selfie cam, a 3,505 mAh battery and USB Type-C. The smartphone will run Android Nougat out of the box and will have a full QWERTY keyboard with customizable actions for each key.
Cistulli notes that the BlackBerry KeyOne will hit the United States and Canada on May 5. Other markets could get it on or around that date as well.