BlackBerry has me excited about a phone. Don’t worry, you read that right the first time. I’m excited about the KeyOne coming out next month (recently delayed to May). Many of us haven’t been able to utter those words in a very long time, but the KeyOne has rekindled the Palm/BlackBerry fanboy in me. I’d like to share just a few of my reasons with you for the next few minutes.
I think the biggest reason is I love the mobile past and their pioneers. BlackBerry was the first giant of this industry and cemented the market. It was my first smartphone. Their dominance challenged the likes of Apple and Google to set sail into the waters of handsets. Sometimes I simply miss seeing the Nokia, BlackBerry, and Palm headlining CES to show us what the next great device was supposed to look like.
Before all the “I can type faster and better with virtual keys” people start hounding me, just hear me out. I know that argument is most likely true, but the satisfaction of tactile keys just can’t be matched to me. Much like I don’t ever want to be in a world where the main interaction with my laptop is a touchscreen, I applaud BlackBerry for bringing back a true QWERTY candybar to the fold. It’s a true differentiator to the current crowd of glass and metal slabs.
They have also added a great deal of updated functionality to it recently as well. The ability to scroll using a swipe on the keys without the need to reach for the touchscreen is one of my favorite features of the Passport. Another addition is the space bar will double as the fingerprint scanner using existing real estate without sacrificing another location. Whether it’s the previously mentioned nostalgia, or I’m just a glutton for punishment, I want that keyboard.
While this most likely won’t be an upgrade from my Moto Z Play, it’s in almost the exact same internals…and that is fine by me. With the combination of the Qualcomm 625 chip and 3500mAh battery, the KeyOne should last a full day plus. On normal usage, I tend to only reach for a charger every other day with the Z Play. I don’t need a huge spec just to be pleased, and I value battery life over almost any other spec. I work long days in a metal box of a warehouse ─ I need my phone to not fail me midday due to battery drain.
Security is BlackBerry’s bread and butter. They have set a standard for what security in mobile should look like and their transition to Android hasn’t weakened this stance. They offer a hardened Android kernel, update to the latest security patches faster than almost any OEM, and offer a DTEK privacy app that monitors your online life to make sure you are using the most secure settings.
All these things alone make for some pretty good features, but together they make for a very nice offering. The BlackBerry KeyOne contains many things the inner smartphone nerd in me wants to see returned. Great physical keyboard…check. Superb battery life…got it. Package it all up with the outstanding OS that Android has matured into, and you have what seems to be an amazing throwback device with a modern software set. It may not be for everyone, but I can’t wait to get my hands on the keys of the BlackBerry KeyOne.