BlackBerry announces the KEY2 with its physical keyboard, starting at $649

BlackBerry announces the KEY2 with its physical keyboard, starting at $649

The BlackBerry Key2 is being announced today in NY and we'll bring you all the news as it happens. It also includes the introduction of Speed Key, a universal shortcut key that now makes it possible to instantly access the apps, contacts and functions you use most from anywhere on your device at any time.

TCL shares the following significant specifications. The BlackBerry KEY2 will start at $649, and you can register for pre-order updates here. We'll keep you posted as we learn specifics. Interestingly, BlackBerry also tells us this is the first new key on one of the company's smartphones in a decade. If you are into BlackBerrys and you long for the feel of physical keys below your thumbs, though, the KEY2 looks to be a nice upgrade over the KEYone. How many more of these the duo will make is anyone's guess.

So, a quick rundown.

It's all reportedly powered by Qualcomm's Snapdragon 660 SoC and Kryo 260 graphics mated to 6GB of RAM and either 64GB or 128GB of local storage that's expandable via microSD card slot.

In regards to the selfie camera, you're looking at an 8MP sensor that's capable of recording 1080p video at 30 FPS.

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The KEY2 measures in at 151.4 mm x 71.8mm x 8.5mm, making it taller, yet thinner, than the KEYone.

While TCL boasted new features, including a dual-rear camera and enhanced privacy controls, it's the keyboard that highlights the launch. Though the mystery behind a new button right at the bottom right of the keyboard still remains, and we expect it to be solved at the launch event itself.

TCL is set to announce the BlackBerry Key2 on June 7. 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. There's also a new button called the Speed Key, which acts as a shortcut button to quickly switch between apps. Unveiled in NY today, the TCL-made smartphone delivers what we've come to expect from the BlackBerry brand of late: the combination of a touchscreen and a QWERTY keyboard in a minimalistically-handsome design, along with the latest version of Google's OS. If you want a hardware keyboard, or just yearn for the good old days of owning a BlackBerry, TCL has you covered.

"They're going to meet more scrutiny than they would have even a year ago", Mr. Sacks said.

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