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BlackBerry’s brand continues to live in the form of its latest smartphone, KEYone, which was unveiled by Alcatel phone maker ‘TCL’ at MWC’17 earlier this year. This new device, with the iconic physical keyboard, was initially expected to be currently for sale but the company delayed the launch until May.

As announced today in an official statement from TCL, the BlackBerry KEYone will be available for purchase in the U.S and Canada starting on May 31st. The phone maker is currently favoring the Canadians – the origins of this iconic brand – by launching the device in partnership with several telecom carriers. It has partnered with Bell, Bell MTS, Rogers, SaskTel, and TELUS Business to offer you the device at $199 with a two-year contract.

The U.S netizens will have to shell out $549 to purchase an unlocked version of KEYone at this instant. But, rest assured, the Chinese upstart is hard at work and one should expect a Sprint carrier deal sometime later in Summer. And as the pricing already suggests, it will a flagship device but will cost quite less than other competitors – which could definitely be its strategy. It is also being said that the device will support both CDMA and GSM networks, thus supporting major networks in America.

Commenting on the official launch, Steve Cistulli, President and GM for TCL Communication, North America said:

After all the anticipation and positive response received from the BlackBerry community on the BlackBerry KEYone, it’s an honor to offer this all-new Android-powered BlackBerry smartphone to customers across Canada (and the U.S).

BlackBerry is no longer building hardware stuff but its brand name is being carried forth by Chinese hardware manufacturer — TCL. The KEYone is the company’s latest (and probably the final) bet that’ll define the future of BlackBerry as a brand in today’s intensely competitive market. Especially when the trend has shifted towards a large screen, bezel-less phones like the Galaxy S8 or LG G6. The company is most likely still targeting the professional and enthusiastic crowd, but telecom partnership will enable it to gain visibility among general masses.

BlackBerry KEYone sports a crisp 4.5-inch FullHD IPS touchscreen along with the highlight of this device — the physical keyboard. The device is powered by an octa-core Snapdragon 625 processor, clocked at 2.0 GHz and coupled with 64-bit Adreno 605 GPU. It includes 3GB RAM and 32 GB onboard storage, which is expandable up to 2 TB using a MicroSD card.

The device is powered by the latest flavor of Android 7.1 Nougat. It includes a 12MP Sony IMX378 rear camera and an 8MP snapper on the front. It also packs in a 3,505 mAh battery which supports Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0 Technology and enables you to gain 50 percent charge in just about 30 minutes. You can find the full specifications of the right here.

Finally, if you’ve been eager and looking forward to the launch of the BlackBerry KEYone then you can pre-order the device on May 18th (restricted to Canada). So, what would it be — Will you pitch in to keep the BlackBerry-branded hardware alive? Comment your thoughts down below.

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