back to article Well, hot-diggity-damn, BlackBerry's KEYone is one hell of a comeback

The hottest phone in town this week isn't the new Samsung but, improbably, BlackBerry's comeback device. Partly this is a quirk of a staggered rollout by TCL, which has awarded the UK virtual exclusivity for a month before the US gets it. But it's not entirely down to production issues. After 24 hours with the KEYone as a main …

It's not a BlackBerry...

It's an Android phone with a keyboard.

There won't ever be a KEYtwo.

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Big Brother

Re: It's not a BlackBerry...

Yes, but keyboard + decent screens are so rare, I'd nearly take windows. I don't want to pay a premium for an Apple Inc (who NEVER have made a phone with a decent amount of buttons) so an Android with keypad & decent screen is better than nothing, which seems to be the alternative.

I use my Android Sony as a feature phone. No Wifi or BT or Mobile Data. Save photos / load music via USB. Has nice FM radio too and a Notepad app.

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Re: It's not a BlackBerry...

Well, but BlackBerry is known for having particularly bad versions of Android which deliberately locks you out. The official reason is that managers, who have no idea of IT, cannot easily break them, but the "paranoid" reason is that they can hide their backdoors more easily.

Yes, a small mobile computer with a tiny keyboard would be desperately needed, particularly since with an actual keyboard you can actually enter moderately strong encryption keys... but this isn't it yet.

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Re: It's not a BlackBerry...

I was excited for a few seconds, I though I'd found an alternative phone.

Then I saw the photo and an Android screen.

Ah well, I'll just keep waiting then.

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Re: It's not a BlackBerry...

Exactly, and my Passport is superior due to its advanced OS. Android is shite no matter how much better BlackBerry makes it. Stopped reading at, "Typing is slower..." Have raced many and nobody can touch my speed or accuracy on the Passport's awesome keyboard. Keyboard shortcuts are awesome, but so is actually being able to type without staring at your keyboard, and a real BlackBerry has more and more programmable shortcuts.

Y'all missed the bus if you didn't get you some BB10. Such a pity. I'll be on this Passport for five more years and, sadly, it will still be the best mobile computing device ever made.

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Re: It's not a BlackBerry...

And, yes, I typed the above on my Passport... very quickly

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Re: It's not a BlackBerry...

Yeah, Blandroid is still a dud compared to a real BlackBerry.

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Anonymous Coward

Android

Regardless of all the bells and whistles, it's still Android.

As much as they try to polish that particular turd... it's still Android.

Therefore it's a (albeit well polished) crock of shit.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Android

IKR, but what else are you going to run on it?

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Re: Android

Sailfish

J/K obviously.

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Re: Android

BlackBerry 10, the best OS mobile or otherwise ever devised.

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Thumb Down

Rule one of tea club

Hang on, was that a cup of tea with milk in it where the teabag is still present? What sort of philistine are you?

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Devil

Re: Rule one of tea club

I tend to put hot water in and then a quick stir before putting in the milk.

I find this temperature change draws more tea into the water, a squeeze of the bag and binger Builders Tea.

Now I will hide as a lynch mob forms to tell me I'm doing it wrong.

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Re: Rule one of tea club

"I'm doing it wrong"

Where's Steve Jobs when you need him?

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Re: Rule one of tea club

No no. Rule zero is milk before hot water. How can you define the strength of your tea without consistent milk level? You need jedi skills to do hot water with the tea bag first.

However, I love how tea is more relevant than a Blackberry phone in 2017. Shows how much the Apple/Google brigade has hit hard on the legacy brands.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Rule one of tea club

>Now I will hide as a lynch mob forms to tell me I'm doing it wrong

Yeah you did it wrong when put tea leaves instead of gound up coffee beans in the hot water (or even better in my climate skip heating the water and just put room temp water and grounds in the fridge for a day or so).

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Re: Rule one of tea club

Rule zero is milk before hot water.

Can't agree, this should only be allowed when the tea has been brewed in a pot first, otherwise you are chilling the water before you add the teabag.

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Facepalm

Re: Rule one of tea club

Rule zero is surely don't go to Starbucks.

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Re: Rule one of tea club

"You need jedi skills to do hot water with the tea bag first."

How so? You just need to be able to consistently pour the water onto the teabag up to the same depth each time. As long as you squeeze about the same amount of liquid out of the bag when you remove it, then you can reliably keep the same milk/tea ratio to within a couple of percent.

Variations in the type of milk used, or the contents of the tea bag will make more of a difference.

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Re: Rule one of tea club

Hang on, was that a cup of tea with milk in it where the teabag is still present? What sort of philistine are you?

Indeed. Teabags? The work of Chtulu Himself!

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Anonymous Coward

or rather good as it's Android. .

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Almost certain...

That Andrew also said the Priv was 'phone of the year' too, when it was released. Or at least 'is a very strong contender for', which it proved very much not to be.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Almost certain...

The original headline in my RSS feed was "Well, hot-diggity-damn, BlackBerry's KEYone is smartphone of the year".

Methinks someone changed the articles headline.

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Listen to all the Android whingers....

The only viable phone OS options out there now (unless you have xBILLION for a whole new App store, ongoing dev and PR campaign) are Android or iOS

Seeing as the latter isnt sharing anytime soon and you are free to customise the living bollocks out of the former, the choice is obvious. They tried cooking up there own, and look at how that ended up (Cries of "it isnt well supported"..... "Where are all the Apps?"...... "Why doesnt it update like Android / Apple?") etc.

For BlackBerry to keep going (and pay employees) they made the most logical choice, and spotted a gap in the market for a phone with a keyboard. If you want blackberry to thrive, support them.

If not, go back to your iPhone.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Listen to all the Android whingers....

So you mean the only viable desktop OS were - and are - Windows and macOS, and because "seeing as the latter isnt sharing anytime soon and you are free to customise the living bollocks out of the former, the choice is obvious." people should really stop whining about Windows, even if it now slurps as much as Android?

It' really a poor mobile world where the only mobile OS choice is Android... just like as on PC is Windows.

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Re: "It' really a poor mobile world where the only mobile OS choice is Android..."

Maybe so, but that's the world in which we live. Others have tried and failed, it's no surprise that Blackberry have admitted defeat in the OS arena.

The third option on the desktop is pretty mature, has a healthy app ecosystem, and you can fudge Windows applications onto it if needs be - there is no equivalent OS for phones . Blackberry tried having their own OS that also runs Android applications, but that didn't go so well, and all other efforts have failed, so you can't blame them for throwing in the towel.

Canonical look to be the best hope for getting an alternative phone OS off the ground, but overcoming Android's market dominance is going to be quite the feat.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Listen to all the Android whingers....

@AC - "It' really a poor mobile world where the only mobile OS choice is Android... just like as on PC is Windows."

That's only true if you're someone who can't figure out how to run a proper GNU/Linux desktop or BSD. Tons of choices.

And if you don't like Android, then either root it and change it or get a flip phone. Do you really need a laptop in your pocket anyway?

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Re: "It' really a poor mobile world where the only mobile OS choice is Android..."

Canonical looked to be the best hope for getting an alternative phone OS off the ground

FTFY. Unfortunately the past tense seems to apply here. AFAIK they've thrown in the towel.

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Re: If not, go back to your iPhone.

I can't see Apple making a phone with a QWERTY built in. Likely they will have a phone with NO connectors at all and no buttons soon (Inductive so called wireless charging and various wireless techs for all I/O).

Apple might even ditch touch screen and insist you use voice + guesture (video camera)

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Anonymous Coward

Re: If not, go back to your iPhone.

I can't see Apple making a phone with a QWERTY built in. Likely they will have a phone with NO connectors at all and no buttons soon

Surely a single button:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BGGOn-H7s3Q

Or possibly a wheel:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9BnLbv6QYcA

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Listen to all the Android whingers....

BB have spent billions on an alternative OS and they were deserted by users for iOS and Android.

Nokia have spent billions on an alternative OS and they were deserted by users for iOS and Android.

MS have spent billions on an alternative OS and they were deserted by users for iOS and Android.

So rather than complaining about only 2 choices remaining, go and raise billions in funding to market one of the other choices out there, and probably witness those billions simply disappear. Alternatively, stop talking out of your orifice.

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Re: Listen to all the Android whingers....

Yep, just accept the mediocrity that is Android, keep on buying it and Google won't have any incentive to fix it, ever.

Every time they do a major update on Android I try it again, and one time I stuck with it for 6 whole weeks before I ran out of goodwill. Absolutely unbearable, with snooping thrown in.

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Re: Listen to all the Android whingers....

True enough. But the tragedy is that they let BB10 die because Google wouldn't let them run full Android on it. I have a Classic and the BB10 OS, with its QNX kernel, is far smoother than anything copied from a patent office's 1969 TTY-machine time sharing word processing system. It runs some Android apps, and can even access the Play store if you install the modified version that somebody called Cobalt posted. But without full Google Play Services, many apps fail.

Well, now BB and Google seem to have made peace enough to do a BB-flavored version of Android, so why couldn't Google also let the whole subsystem run in BB10? It wasn't exactly taking away much market share.

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499 units of Doctor Who Money

Screw that. Above my pay bracket.

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Meh

non-replaceable battery

After reading Andrew's article the other day, I searched a bit for the KeyOne. Looks good, except for one big thing - the battery can't be replaced. I'm not a big smart-phone user, so the one I have (my first!), a Samsung S4, is what I'm still using. I wouldn't be using it if I couldn't have replaced the battery when it was dying. I'll spend money on a new phone at some point, but I don't want to be doing it every 2 or 3 years just because the battery dies!

And yes, I do realize I'm not the target demographic.

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Re: non-replaceable battery

I would have agreed with you a few years ago but unless the battery flips to hand-warmer mode in the first few weeks/months then it is likely to last quite some time. I currently have a Q10 which is still on the original battery but am likely to get a KEYOne because the Q10 is getting a bit battered and the USB connector is iffy but I want a phone with a physical keyboard.

If I have not needed to replace the replaceable battery in the four years I have had the phone then it disappears as a significant factor. Thinking back I have only ever once had an extra battery for a phone and that was a long way back when I was using a phone a lot and needed the comfort factor of spare power 'just in case'. These days I carry an emergency battery thing which covers that role for all my devices.

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Childcatcher

Re: non-replaceable battery

My quibble with this new device is the screen: it is a "4.5” scratch-resistant display". As mentioned in the article, this is a business device, but who doesn't ask for the biggest screen they can get from their workplace? I would like a phone with a real keyboard, but not at the expense of the screen. If it was all about the keyboard, we could make a fold-out model with a recycled flop phone screen stuck on top and clean up. Not likely!

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Boffin

Re: non-replaceable battery

If/when you get desperate, this non-replaceable battery claim might not be so.

Now this is definitely not for the average Joe, but I replaced the battery on a Nexus 4 and a Nexus 5 armed with nothing more than a £10 mobile phone "toolkit" from eBay, the batteries themselves, and a well executed YouTube video. And I'm the most hamfisted caveman you could meet. They are funny looking things actually, for a start they are not solid, they bend about like a packet of paste. Their connectors are fiddly too. But both worked first time and ones still in daily use. Just sayin' !

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There is no such thing as a non-replaceable battery

There are some you can't pop out and replace in five seconds, and any modern phone that's got a decent installed base can have its battery replaced while you wait at a mall kiosk or DIY if you are as capable as the typical Reg reader (i.e. more capable than the average person)

You most certainly don't have to toss out a phone with a non-replaceable battery if the battery starts to go on it.

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Re: There is no such thing as a non-replaceable battery

iPhone battery replacement is a 5 minute DIY job and child's play as long as you have you near vision.

Or at least it was up to iPhone 7 when Apple added water resistance, replacing gaskets might make waterproof phones a trickier battery change job.

Once out of warranty 7s appear, I'll be attempting one.

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FAIL

If only it was the KEYone

"not the expensive and flawed Priv slider, that had launched some 18 months ago, I wonder where the company would be today on the comeback trail"

It was called the Q10, it was a brilliant phone but only three people (Including me) brought it.

In the comeback trail they would be exactly the same place as current just with less money.

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Vive BB10

I have played with 4 phones over the last few years and am currently using 2 as daily drivers. 1 is a Z10 that I have had so long that the otter case is wearing out and the other is a priv. Nevertheless, when I want to do anything serious I always go back to my passport.

When I got the priv I could not believe that you couldn't open the ports for samba without rooting it (something that I had taken for granted on BB10 and that I make use of every single day [I cannot piss about in the registry on a customers computer just so I can use some bastardised version of samba on my droid]). I have warmed to android and Blackberry have done a good job of securing it, but I would go back to BB10 tomorrow if it had decent app support.

Getting music off iTunes using blackberry link was so piss poor that I wrote my own software to parse the playlists and then used rsync to dump the files across, but for my music now, it is unbeatable. Syncing to android was no better anyway.

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Anonymous Coward

I would go back to BB10 tomorrow if it had decent app support

Well it will never happen.

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Pint

Never Blackberry

They will always and forever be RIM to me.

Stories here about lost RIM jobs got me through many a work day with a smile on my face.

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Re: Never Blackberry

They will always and forever be "Lawsuits In Motion" to me. I'm not unhappy to see them flailing about before finally going under.

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Re: Never Blackberry

I think you mixed up here, it was NTP that was the patent troll suing RIM

(RIM had to pay ~$612 mill, for using email on a mobile device, NTP later settled and lured money from the rest of the tech industry, a major fault in the legal system, let us never experience this again)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NTP,_Inc.#RIM_patent_infringement_litigation

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Hyped up nonsense...

Can anyone tell me why a keyboard is a necessity for an Android device?

I mean seriously the entire OS and its attendant apps are all predicated on touch screen interaction, not a PKB.

And all this talk of the keyboard being a trackpad is just the same trackball nonsense the company used in earlier devices.

Bottom line is that this phone is of appeal mainly to QWERTY diehards and no doubt it'll sell to that crowd but to the rest, no much chance of a success at all. It'll flop.

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Re: Hyped up nonsense...

"Can anyone tell me why a keyboard is a necessity for an Android device?"

Entering lots of text.

You may be able to type lengthy paragraphs, with eloquence and style, on a phone touchscreen, but I for one find it laborious. I am not a die hard blackberry user. I left BB and went to android. My first smart phone was not a blackberry.

So these people exist. These people will buy the KeyOne. If it flops, then you can stand there and point and say a great big "See? SEE? I was right to ridicule it. "

It will be a good day for you.

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Re: Hyped up nonsense...

Why do some insist that they're the only ones who should be catered for?

If you want a shiny, grubby, slab of glass to mush your fingers against you've got lots of choice -- why not let those of us who know the advantages of hardware qwerty get what we want also?

Sadly I don't actually think that the minority would be so small if more people forgot what the marketroids at Apple told them used physical keyboards for a week or so.

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Re: Hyped up nonsense...

"Can anyone tell me why a keyboard is a necessity for an Android device?"

It's a lot easier to enter a wodge of text for me. I'm the customer, why shouldn't I have the choice?

"And all this talk of the keyboard being a trackpad is just the same trackball nonsense the company used in earlier devices."

It's not nonsense. I often hit something unintentionally when scrolling on a touchscreen. The ability to use the keyboard to scroll avoids that completely.

I have a BB Passport and my above points reflect my experience with it.

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