Opinion: Why I Believe the New BlackBerry KEYone Will Sell Well.

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 Software:

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 device:

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.


Long time lover of all things BlackBerry, from the Bold 9000 thru to the Passport and now the Priv. Always dreaming of the next new BlackBerry to add to my collection. Had the rest, now got the best!

  • MePiikan LzBolaz

    Nice opinion piece Wayno. The device is new, sexy, different and most important…secure. I saw a lot of backlash regarding the price and that’s mainly because people fail to consider all the points you made in your post. As for the Priv, it could have been cheaper but the screen alone was half the price of the device. I have them all and I must say that being able to drop my phones without worry of breakage (unlike others) is another key factor. If you want something cheap then cheap is what you get.

    I for one agree with you and expect the KEYone to do well even though it would do better if they left the name Mercury. I’m ordering 3 of these and can’t wait to grow my collection.

  • Kevin Button

    Well stated Wayno. I agree that this device has the opportunity to sell and sell big. TCL already seems to be advertising it tons and I’m sure once we get carrier buy-in it will be getting the attention it deserves.

  • Peter Mariano Brito

    Good analysis Wayno, you touched on many valid points. I think there are more people who would buy this phone than the iPhone/Samsung loving Media realize…or maybe care to admit, this phone will grow on the 50+ demographic because of great looks, ease of use and long battery life.

  • Roy shpitalnik

    Very comprehensive article. BlackBerry Mobile should market the device with the unique features. It can bring the BlackBerry brand to its glory. Love it

  • Speedie20

    An insightful and well written article Wayno that provides a valuable clarification as to why and how BlackBerry is now approaching future sales and marketing of BlackBerry designed and inspired smartphone devices for the consumer market, whilst retaining the very DNA of what BlackBerry stands for! Well done!
    Cheers, Speedie20 :)

    • Prem_Watsapp

      Don’t give him too much praise or he’ll turn slack… ;-D

  • Prem_Watsapp

    Biggest battery of any BlackBerry ever… good stuff!

    55mAh above our ageing Passport batteries. Might still be holding out for a price drop… :-D

  • Martin

    I’m genuinely excited about the KEYone, reasonably priced, decent specs, excellent design, great battery life and best of all…a BlackBerry physical keyboard! I can’t wait to get my hands on the KEYone.

  • tonkerdog1 .

    I’ve had mine 5 days, and charged it twice. Beautify made, keyboard short cuts are brilliant.