China’s TCL launches high-end BlackBerry smartphone in U.S.

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BlackBerry Key2 will make its official debut in NY on June 7, which is today.

The KEY2 runs on the new Android Oreo 8.1 operating system and has 6GB of RAM, with 64GB and 128GB storage options and expandable MicroSD storage.

Also of note about the keyboard is that it's got a new Speed Key that'll let you access your programmable shortcut keys without having to return to the home screen of your device.

TCL and BlackBerry Mobile says the Key2 will be released globally at some point in June, but hasn't given a concrete date.

While BlackBerry no longer makes smartphones, it does license its name to a company called TCL which makes Android devices that carry the branding - and sometimes, a physical keyboard. It will still get a 4.5-inch 1080 x1620 pixels display in a 3:2 aspect ratio, and a 35-key touch-enabled QWERTY keypad with an integrated fingerprint sensor on the bottom. The BlackBerry KEY2 will start at $649, and you can register for pre-order updates here.

BlackBerry KEY2 is built around an aluminium alloy frame with a form factor of 151.4mm x 71.8mm x 8.5mm and a textured back for better grip. Actually, these TCL devices have been fairly well received thanks to an adherence to traditional BlackBerry designs.

The KEY2 doesn't do too much that's different to the KEYone, but it improves everything in either minor or major ways.

Keyboard has bigger keys with matte finish, and there's a new shortcut key. You can record video in 4K at 30 FPS, dual-tone flash helps to brighten dark scenes, and there's Phase Detection Autofocus.

Powering the KEY2 is a 3,500mAh battery which is rated to last up to 2 days on a single charge.

Critics have argued that DTEK is simply window dressing - that it merely promotes awareness about security, but actually does very little to make BlackBerry's newest phones any safer than their Android counterparts from rival companies.

Additionally, the device comes with Firefox Focus, a privacy browser by Mozilla that prevents web browsing sessions from being tracked.

In the United States, the BlackBerry KEY2 will sell at a starting price of $649 which roughly translates to Rs 43,726. This should offer some pretty decent portrait performance, but I don't expect anything groundbreaking, considering that photography has never been a core concern of BlackBerry's userbase.

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