BlackBerry’s new keyboard phone is doomed to be a noble failure

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I’ve just returned from BlackBerry’s Mobile World Congress event, where I got to spend some time with the new BlackBerry KeyOne, an Android phone with an obvious difference. The KeyOne is a return to classic BlackBerry form, hitching a full physical keyboard to the bottom of a solidly built, decently specced Android device with a layer of BlackBerry security and apps spread atop Google’s Nougat. I like this phone for daring to be meaningfully distinctive, but I fear its fate has already been sealed by factors outside of its maker’s control.

TCL is the company that BlackBerry licensed its brand to for this model, and the KeyOne is the first fruit of that partnership that people can actually feel attracted to (as opposed to just being okay…

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