back to article BlackBerry Key2: Clickier, nippier, but how many people still want a QWERTY?

Warm reviews and good wishes didn't help the newly formed BlackBerry Mobile sell bucket loads of phones in its first year, but a strong second attempt might. The new Key2 lends weight to the idea that the TCL-owned brand – a wholly separate entity to the old Canadian BlackBerry – is in it for the long run. Although strongly …

  1. AMBxx Silver badge
    Coat

    I'll take one

    Currently have a Priv. Only reason I put up with Android is to have the physical keyboard.

    Shame that by the time the price comes down to something I can afford, BB will have decided to no longer issue OS updates.

    1. TheVogon Silver badge

      Re: I'll take one

      I'm guessing it has "Nearer, My God, to Thee" as the default ringtone.

  2. ArrZarr Silver badge
    Meh

    The Blackberry Priv

    To my mind, the Priv's sliding keyboard is the best of both worlds. Tthe much bigger screen makes reading wonderful (the spacebar on the keyboard turns pages in the kindle app, which is a nice touch).

    When the Priv breaks, I'll probably go for another BB with a hardware keyboard but I would almost certainly choose a slider (if one exists) over something with a hardware keyboard taking up screen space.

  3. TheRealRoland

    I would love to have one, but i just got one year into my KeyOne.

    Is it me or are these product iterations getting shorter and shorter? Built-in obsolescence becoming an issue?

    Looks nice and shiny, though. And while the BB apps on Android are still not what BB10 used to be (how integrated everything was in BB10!), it has improved a bunch over the last year.

  4. seven of five

    "but how many people still want a QWERTY?"

    I, here, ME! *hops, waves*

    I don´t *want* a qwerty phone, I NEED one.

    and jftr: wives Priv yesterday got an OS update from Blackberry. Yes, we were surprised as well.

    1. onefang Silver badge

      Re: "but how many people still want a QWERTY?"

      Nah, gimme a Dvorak instead.

    2. Dabooka Silver badge
      Trollface

      Re: "but how many people still want a QWERTY?"

      Bigamist!

    3. DropBear Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: "but how many people still want a QWERTY?"

      No, here, here please! Just let me have my portrait full-qwerty, pretty please, whit a cherry on top! Look, I know this is a pre-owned soul but I swear it's barely used, you can have it...! Where do I sign...?

      1. seven of five
        Joke

        pre-owned soul, barely used

        "a pre-owned soul but I swear it's barely used"

        Are you sure this isn´t "a conscience" you are talking about?

        1. DropBear Silver badge
          Joke

          Re: pre-owned soul, barely used

          Let's not get bogged down in semantics - I personally guarantee any scratches will buff right out, it's almost as good as new!

  5. James 51 Silver badge

    The live presentation was woeful and I had to stop the stream about five seconds into the ad as it was painful. Hope that all the effort went into the phone. It does look like something that might take over from my Q10 when it dies. If only it wasn't so incredibly expensive. That's more than £100 more expensive than a S8.

    1. TheRealRoland

      >If only it wasn't so incredibly expensive

      Look into getting a KeyOne - it's still a good phone even though a newer one came out.

      It's been working fine for me, having moved from a Passport, and wife from a Classic (or Q10, now i can't remember...)

      Main reason for me dropping the Passport was that apps would no longer run in the older-Android-VM that the Passport was using. Not because it was a crap phone :-(

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        I'm still using my old Passport; I'm dreading the day that the phone finally dies.

    2. 0laf Silver badge

      Yep, I'm probably due a new phone this year and the keyboard appeals but this is a bit expensive.

  6. Jess

    "but how many people still want a QWERTY?"

    Me.

    But I'm not paying hundreds of quid for an Android phone to get one.

    I did buy a Q5 and it was starting to look good with all the updates fixing the omissions and then they pulled the plug.

    So I got a cheap (dual sim) Android tablet phone. I don't see myself changing, (maybe a Gemini).

    1. DJO Silver badge

      Re: "but how many people still want a QWERTY?"

      I backed the Gemini so it cost me ~£300 which was a bargain, they are still available from the Indigogo backer site for $599 (~£450) which is a fair price. The full UK retail is £600 which I think is too much for the device. So if you want one act quickly.

      The Mk1 has a few drawbacks, the USB is weird, 2 C sockets but they are of limited function, the forward facing camera is absolute pants, just adequate for video chat or grabbing QRs but that's about it, no idea how good or bad the optional rear camera is. Due to the magnets holding the case shut they've disabled the compass which is a bit of a bugger. Other than those caveats it's a great toy - excellent keyboard, absurdly high resolution screen (but aren't they all), fast processor and a big (& heavy) battery.

      1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

        Re: "but how many people still want a QWERTY?"

        2 C sockets but they are of limited function

        I'll second that: you can charge the phone and do MTP with the one on the left (you might have to reboot), and use the one on the right for HDMI or the dongle. And you only find this out through trial and error.

  7. JassMan Silver badge

    I don't even want a querty OSK

    Having spent a number of years on Nokias with T9 I have found that predictive text just gets in the way. Why don't OS writers for mobiles accept that qwerty is not a necessity and that making virtual keys smaller than human digits leads to more mistakes than can be fixed by autocorrection. As a downside I do accept that T9 does require a basic grasp of spelling but if they word you expect doesn't come up, the chances are you spelt it wrong.

    A virtual T9 would leave space for fat fingered people and still leave space on the side for a couple of function keys such as Sym(bol), Undo, Dict(ionary options), and maybe even a quick paste key so that you don't have to wait for the fone to decide that yes the bit of text you just cut wants to be pasted.

    Also with a but of just positioning it could sit on the right (or left) in landscape mode instead of wasting 55% of the screen by spreading across the entire width.

    1. onefang Silver badge

      Re: I don't even want a querty OSK

      You can write keyboard apps, at least for Android. Don't think I've ever seen an Android T9 app, but I haven't looked.

    2. ArrZarr Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: I don't even want a querty OSK

      Having *not* spent much time on T9, having QWERTY means I didn't need to learn the bloody thing.

  8. jonathan keith

    Battery

    User replaceable or sealed? It's important.

    1. Jamesit

      Re: Battery

      On the Keyone it's sealed. I hope they make one with a replaceable battery.

      1. Bronek Kozicki Silver badge

        Re: Battery

        Sadly I think not - otherwise, it would be a talking point.

  9. 89724102371719531892324I9755670349743096734346773478647852349863592355648544996313855148583659264921

    Mousepads too.

  10. steviebuk Silver badge

    I'd love one

    If someone gave me one for free. I like my Samsung s8 but Still can't stand touchscreen keyboards. Either something is wrong with my fingers or its just so inaccurate. And for the love of fucking god please stop randomly putting in fall stops when I don't want one!!

    And that is why I'd love a physical keyboard back.

  11. Bad Beaver
    Facepalm

    I'm glad they changed the pricing

    The overcooked price really put me off last time around, I'm glad they fixed that.

    Wait… what? Even more? Seesh!

    I'm the type of person that constantly needs to type stuff a predictive / swipe keyboard simply cannot guess right, so QWERTZ (these do come localized to other languages, right?) is very much appreciated – but not €550+ appreciated.

    I'm sure it will sell well to folks who do not have to pay for it with their own money though.

    Otherwise, what's not to like? It looks neat, it has a big battery, headphone jack, NFC, they even bothered to make a real leather flipcase for it. At this price, the latter should be included for free but of course if will be extra.

    1. Captain Scarlet Silver badge
      Coffee/keyboard

      Re: I'm glad they changed the pricing

      Nah, company phones that price will be an iPhones

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Coat

    QWERTY Yes

    I'd love a phone with a physical keyboard... but Blackberry doesn't support custom ROMs, and I'm never going back to stock Android again.

    Mine's the one with the cheap-ass Moto in the pocket, running LineageOS.

    1. Bronek Kozicki Silver badge

      Re: QWERTY Yes

      BlackBerry is not stock Android - its software is pretty good actually (especially Hub and DTEK). They learned to do it right, well before Google did. Luckily BlackBerry is still doing the software and it appears that, on the hardware side, TCL is not too bad either.

  13. Jah

    Choice and variety

    We now have 2 great Android keyboard devices, the Key2 and the Gemini. I'll probably stick with the Gemini.

  14. Chris Wren

    Plenty of us want a physical keyboard

    Not sure why a BlackBerry having a physical keyboard is gets the Apple fan boys in such a tiz, they were never going to buy a BlackBerry anyway so why to they F-ing care? It's not as though there aren't enough touchscreen only phones for them to choose from.

    Yes it might be a niche set of users that prefer a physical keyboard but you will never understand why, you are missing out and you should fear us as we are smarter than you

  15. Afflicted.John

    Price Nonesense

    I'm looking at those pics thinking "crap. I have new phone envy already and only 2 weeks into my oneplus 6"

    But at that price? No. I'll keep my hub+ subscription though.

  16. -tim
    Unhappy

    Still missing some buttons...

    The thing needs a red and green physical buttons.

  17. cupperty

    The BB10 virtual kbd was awesome ...

    I reluctantly upgraded from a Q10 to a Z30 2 or 3 years back.

    Boy was I impressed with that virtual keyboard. It knew practically every time what my next word was going to be.

    Swype on android is a poor replacement; if only BB would release that keyboard for vanilla android.

    1. cupperty

      Re: The BB10 virtual kbd was awesome ...

      I just discovered that the BB.10 keyboard is installable on generic Android. Lovin' it!

  18. davews

    That is not a QWERTY keyboard since it has the keys in vertical columns and is totally unusable by those of us who touchtype. And yes, my fingers are far too big for touch screen keypads.

  19. AK565

    Fat-fingered.... <sigh>

    MessageEase is the only touch screen keyboard for which I've developed any kind of muscle memory. It's also the easiest to override when its spell check thinks it knows the English language better than you do.

    That said, a physical keyboard lets me type more quickly & more easily than any touchscreen I've encountered.

    I'd love a small and cheaper BB I could use with one hand.

  20. PaulR79

    Give me a slider and I'll be happy

    I may be alone but I really like the sliding form factor like the HTC Dream / G1 and Motorola Droid / Milestone. Unfortunately, with the perceived desire for ultra-thin phones (I know nobody that has ever said "my phone is too thick") I think it's unlikely we'll see them any more outside of a custom project. I don't like the keypad being visible all the time the way it is on this but it's good to see at least one company still pushing out QWERTY keypads.

    1. Joe Werner
      Joke

      Re: Give me a slider and I'll be happy

      Well, my phone is really thick, with the strange dictionaries and spelling autocorrections they included - but my tablet is worse as it launches the camera app whenever it feels like it might be a good idea (hint: it is never.).

  21. onefang Silver badge

    I had a slider once, not surprisingly the slider mechanism eventually failed. I no longer buy phones with moving parts.

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