As we all know by now, the new BlackBerry KEYone was officially announced on Friday with a lot of interest shown worldwide. The new physical keyboard Android device was designed by BlackBerry and produced by TCL under licence and with a new brand, BlackBerry Mobile. Here’s my opinion on why I believe it will sell well.
Why Did BlackBerry Exit the Hardware Business?
Due to market share ever diminishing for BlackBerry, the cost of sourcing components for a smaller number of devices produced is increased. This in turn forces BlackBerry to have to charge higher prices for their devices. A classic example was with the Priv. A very unique device, a full touch with a curved edge screen and a slide out touch enabled keyboard. This gave users the best of both worlds. It was very thin even for a slider, had great specs at the time of release, it was, and still is a beautiful looking device.
But having all those features pushed up the price. Probably more than what a lot of users were willing to pay. But when compared to the price of a new iPhone or Samsung, both of these devices being a basic slab, it was priced a little cheaper. Considering what features it had, I believed it was far better value. But BlackBerry users weren’t used to paying such high prices. And other non BlackBerry users chose to stick with the more popular Samsung or iPhone. While I don’t think it was necessary, had it been released at $100 or even $200 cheaper I think it would have sold a lot better. But then BlackBerry would have been losing money on it, something that they really couldn’t afford to do.
Another factor was that due to the company being in the process of a turnaround and trying to stop the bleeding of cash, there was hardly any marketing budget. People were under the impression that BlackBerry no longer even made devices and simply weren’t aware of it.
And so BlackBerry decided to stop producing the hardware themselves and decided to focus on their core strengths. Software and security became their main focus. This is what they excel at, no one even comes close.
Devices were now outsourced. The DTEK50 and then the DTEK60 were rebranded Alcatel phones. Security hardened in the hardware, with BlackBerry secured Android OS. They were mainly sold online through Shop BlackBerry but were available through some carriers.
The TCL/BlackBerry partnership
Back in December 2016 BlackBerry and TCL announced their Global Smart Phone Software and Brand Licensing Agreement. Blackberry will maintain control of the worlds leading security and software development while TCL will produce, market and distribute the phones.
TCL is one of the largest manufactures of mobile devices and consumer electronics. They have the ability to mass produce goods, and in doing so can source components in huge quantities at discounted prices. Therefore production costs are lower than what BlackBerry could expect to achieve. The end result is quality devices at cheaper pricing.
My Opinion On Why This New Device Will Sell?
The BlackBerry KEYone is one sexy BlackBerry, no doubt about that. This phone will definitely appeal to die hard BlackBerry fans and physical keyboard lovers. It will also draw the attention of people looking for something different than the typical boring slab style phone. It is a quality looking device with great features such as the touch sensitive keyboard with built in fingerprint scanner, 12mp camera with Sony sensor and of course BlackBerry software including the Hub.
The KEYone features the iconic BlackBerry keyboard that we have all grown to love. This is a smartphone that was designed with productivity in mind. It is running Android 7.1 Nougat out ofthe box. The renowned BlackBerry Hub keeps all your messages in one handy location. Access it by swiping up from the menu icon, tapping the on screen Hub icon, or even via the productivity tab at the edge of screen.
The Productivity Tab is a great feature in itself. Drag it from the edge of the screen to open and gain easy access to all your important information. Messages, Contacts, Tasks and Calendar appointments are always only a swipe away no matter where in the OS you are.
The DTEK app keeps you informed at all times of how secure your device is. It notifies you of apps that are accessing certain features of your phone such as the microphone, location, contacts etc. It will tell you many times those features are accessed. This allows you to constantly monitor your phone to make sure that your personal information remains just that – YOURS! Until you see the DTEK app in action, you’ll never really appreciate the efforts that BlackBerry is making to look after your privacy.
Now, all of the above features are available with ALL BlackBerry Android Smartphones. So What makes the KEYone so special?
The beautiful large screen and touch enabled keyboard with fingerprint reader are housed in a stunning anodized aluminium frame. The keyboard is the World’s most advanced physical keyboard ever used in a mobile device. Touch navigation, customisable keyboard shortcuts, predictive text and flick typing make using the keyboard an absolute pleasure while being at the forefront of productivity. The back of the device has a grippy soft touch to keep it safely in your hands.
The biggest battery ever to be put in a BlackBerry at 3505mAh is sure to keep you powered through the busiest of days. And if you need to quickly top up your charge, it has Qualcomm Quickcharge 3.0 compatibility with an added “Boost” feature that will put your device into battery saving mode to charge your device super quick.
This is the most secure Android device on the market. With BlackBerry security software you can rest assured you are safe. Best-in-class monthly Android security updates keep your device up to date with all the required security fixes.
This is a mid range device aimed at consumers and Enterprise customers who value productivity while keeping their personal information safe. Check out the full specs HERE.
TCL Produced, Distributed and Marketed Under a New Brand, BlackBerry Mobile
With TCL having worldwide reach, all the marketing tools/budget, distribution network and carrier/retail accessibility, the KEYone should be freely available pretty much anywhere. With BlackBerry mobile already showing strong signs of marketing, here’s no doubt that everyone will soon be aware there is a new kind of BlackBerry, the new BlackBerry Mobile on the market.
With beautiful styling, great features and the best security, this is a smartphone with class! Why wouldn’t you want to buy one? And at a suggested price of $549USD, this is fantastic value for money that is definitely affordable. With availability through carriers it will also be great for those looking to pay for it monthly on a plan.
Could this be the start of great things to come? I believe so.