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 …

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@ Shogunate:Re: Hyped up nonsense...

Shogunate,

err, because some people DON'T LIKE touchscreens, or have physical coordination problems that make them a complete pain in the derriere to use...

FYI on a bad day, I find it f'ing difficult to type on my MBP, can you imagine what it would be like on a touchscreen that is trying to 'help'

Horses for courses my friend!

Cheers,

Jay

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Re: @ Shogunate:Hyped up nonsense...

The physical keyboards allow users to develop a skill for text entry without having to look at the phone.

Which is surprisingly useful.

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Re: @ Shogunate:Hyped up nonsense...

Its called touch typing. They were doing it on typeriters when they were invented.

Wifey in her 50's has been doing it since she was at school. Her party trick is to hold 2 conversations at the same time, looking at both parties and not the screen, and still type with 100% accuracy at stupid fast wpm. She still maintains the DOS version of WordPerfect was THE best word processor by a mile, btw. Says it knocks the stuffing out of Word. Even today.

And she has a BB Classic and says its the best phone she's ever owned. And I still love my Z10 I bought 2 days after release.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Hyped up nonsense...

When I was having chemo it did something to my skin and most touch screens (the ones with pressure sensors or ir grid overlay were the exception) would not register that I had touched them. It took months before the damage was reversed. I needed a phone with a physocal keyboard then or I would not have been able to use it at all.

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Re: Hyped up nonsense...

Say, do you still use a computer? Because if you don't get the whole idea of a keyboard, you might want to try one.

T= go to top of page or list

B = go to bottom

C = create new message

U = next unread

D = delete

M = mark read/unread

CTRL + B, I, U = bold, italic, underline

CTRL + Z= undo

CTRL + X, C, V = you know the drill

For me, the keyboard doubling as cursor keys plus the "T" and "B" buttons alone make the whole physical thing a worthwhile addition. I so miss all that on a smudgey screen, from which you can't help feeling strangely divorced a lot of the time.

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I'm not sure it matters, how many people will ever see one?

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Critical question

There's one critical question I'm not seeing covered anywhere:

Will it get OS updates, or will Blackberry leave people out to dry once they have your money, like 90% of other android manufacturers do?

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Re: Critical question

Well, I don't know if they've anounced anything about this phone in particular, but on the PRIV, there have been regular updates. Security updates every month (most of the time in the first week of the month, even). I've had my PRIV since December, it had Android 5 out of the box, immediately upgradeable to Android 6. 7 is rumored to be coming this summer.

If that is how they treat this phone as well, you should be covered quite neatly, I'd say.

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Re: Critical question

I'd be more confident that blackberry will keep updating compared to the others out there, they are more business user orientated than the other consumer based companies who want you to update the device rather than the OS

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Re: Critical question

My wife has been using the Blackberry DTek60 since last year. I can tell you that Blackberry has been updating the software regularly, right now it is on Marshmellow Android 6.0.1 and the Security Patch is 5 March this year ( compare it with my HONOR 7 - Huawei the Security Patch is still June 2016, I presume Huawei has abandoned it ). I know that SONY is also good with software updates.

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Reduced crapware

At last, a phone without twaddle and farcebook baked in and unremovable! I'd almost buy it for that alone

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Buttons?

They go to all the trouble to design a new keyboard and leave out a red and green one that might come defaulted to answer and hang up a call? I can't think of how they decide "we want to make a phone for people who like buttons" and then seem to forget that the phones can be used to make phone calls and people who like buttons might want a button or two for the primary purpose of the device.

Hopefully soon someone is going to come out with a low cost raspberry hat that can do 4G. With a decent API and then maybe we will see some decent progress made though the hackerspace type groups.

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I will be getting one on AT&T, and my wife on Verizon. No doubt about it. Physical Keyboard for the Win. Yeah, it'll be difficult, switching from BB10 to Android; but that keyboard. To me (personally, so don't flame because you think otherwise!) that is the saving grace.

Business phone, not an iPhone or a Samsung phone. Had a Note 2 - didnt like it, couldnt work with the keyboard. Now running on a Passport, and a BB10 Classic...

So yeah, bring it on.

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Colour me impressed!

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I'll take one, as soon as Sprint starts selling them.

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Sorry, nope, the keyboard is still on the wrong side...

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I agree, but unfortunately it's necessary to convince all the Android developers to support landscape phones - and they don't. Went to the Priv, and whilst it's not perfect, it was the best option when I got it.

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If the smaller screen + keyboard = the best battery life on the market...

Color me intrigued. I always liked having a real keyboard.

My biggest problem is I want Google's App Store minus the security issues. Unless they fork Android I don't know how that happens. It needs some kind of built in security analyzer. I.e. Did an app open a port, try to access other data on the phone, send data out... what/where?

Also, I didn't see a price mentioned. $199 is what I'm willing to pay for an Andriod phone. Anything more and I'd be going with an iPhone SE.

The latest and greatest = a poor value

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So—why not a flip?

This just deepens my puzzlement about why the flip (clamshell) form factor hasn't returned bigtime.

Yes, I know that for a decade manufacturers and marketurds have slavishly followed Apple's vulnerable-slab-of-glass approach, but Samsung's half-hearted efforts aside, no one seems to have stood back and said: "Wait a mo: we could do flip-phone really, really well now".

The advantages remain obvious:

* Protecting the single most expensive vulnerabilty, the screen, when not in use (and even when in use for making those old fashioned phone call things, if you like)

* Double the amount of available console (input+output) area in an instant—in this case, the keyboard could have been nicely sized without compromising the screen, but the possibilities are almost endless

* Miniaturisation has come so far that everything from feature- to really powerful smart-phone could be implemented in a wide variety of sizes and overall designs

* Supplementary user aids include flip answering/closing calls; having a low power notifications display on the exterior; using voice/BT/whatever to make and receive calls without even touching the phone, let alone opening it ... lots of opportunities here

* Most important, you can make it innately more robust than anything with a screen smeared all over its exterior, which, if you think about, its a bit daft.

Make sure you add a headphone socket, removable battery, memory card slots etc, and you have a potential set of winners that you could spread across a broad range of physical sizes, features, screen sizes etc—and for the market segment that wants it, a good way to implement a really oustanbding keyboard.

Why not?

PS—Maybe even a market for VR-specialty flips: using both inner surfaces as HD+ screens, the (potentially vanishingly narrow, if Samsung were on the case) bezel in the middle rendered irrelevant with a goggle attachment ... reinforcing my frustrated point that flip offers vast possibilities and flexibility, and is nowhere to be seen while the lemmings keep pumping out Apple clones.

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My guess is because they're thick and unreliable

A flip phone is necessarily much thicker than a slabphone, simply to make the two parts both physically strong enough.

For some reason, being "very thin" is an important marketing spec point.

Moving parts are much more expensive and break far more often than non-moving parts.

So a double whammy. I am disappointed of course, because "open to answer, close to hang up" is a beautiful and intuitive UI.

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Re: So—why not a flip?

I agree. The cleverest of the flip phones was the Samsung Alias 2. It opened both ways, with a clever dual hinge. Its keyboard half had e-paper buttons which could be a dial pad when opened vertically or a QWERTY keyboard when opened horizontally. I'd love to see a similar phone, with just a bigger screen (and thus a bit wider overall), running a decent version of Android.

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Minor design flaw...

It's only single SIM?

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Re: Minor design flaw...

BlackBerry have a solution to that, called WorkLife. It amounts to virtualising SIMs on the handset. Works with iOS, Android, BB10, doesn't need BES as far as I know.

BlackBerry are the only people out there that have properly tackled BYOD. BlackBerry Balance is brilliant on BB10, WorkLife is another thing that removes the need to carry two phones.

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Looks nice but..

£500 for an Android phone? (Presumably with a single sim slot)

I would have bought a passport, had it been dual sim, (possibly even a single sim one had the OS not been dropped).

And given how many features never made it over to BB 10 from BB 6 (etc), (each update got better though, until they pulled the plug), the playbook being dropped before it got BB10, and then the plugs being pulled on BB10 I would be very dubious about another BB, unless the price was rock bottom.

If I am forced to choose between iOS and Android, then I will stick to cheap dual sim phones, because then when something annoys me it is only tens of pounds, not hundreds.

(I'd quite happily get an old qwerty symbian phone if telegram supported it.)

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Anonymous Coward

What a load of bollocks. I'm not giving up a 3rd of my screen for a 2005 shitty plastic keyboard. Blackberry was shit the first time round. Beyond acceptable mail it was utter shite.

BB needs to die. I actually thought it was happily dead. Apparently not.

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Why, what harm are they doing to you?

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Oh great… wait, HOW much?

€600? Seriously?

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Good infromation

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Dual SIM 2g 4g Archos - but is android

As usual I'm late to the party, but for 80 quid at Dixons at the airport a few months ago I bought a Helium 50 by Archos

This is dual sim - one is 2g the other 4g.

So what? Well, you can fit your 3g/4g data slurping sim for when you want data, but switch the 3g/4g sim off and have just 2g for receiving calls. Then turn the 3g/4g back on when you want.

The battery seems to last ages now with only 2g on - (thanks to an El Reg reader who pointed this out apropos something else).

Sure, the camera and sound aren't as good as a 600 pound phone, and for some reason it won't run NavMii - but for most data stuff it seems OK. And no Facebook built in.

I like my key board HTCs but age and eye sight mean a large screen is good for me.

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I'm happy this exists to keep the Blackberry infrastructure going, but will be sticking to my Priv until it dies.

Although early the Priv had heating issues, it's been fixed in software - the phone throttles back if it starts getting too hot, and it's not a problem.

If I was buying now it'd be a more difficult decision, the Priv is top heavy with the keyboard open, something that's not the same in later models I believe. Course, the Priv was ridiculously expensive on release, and I only weakened because of a £200 discount on Black Friday..

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How blackberry blew it

https://beta.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/the-inside-story-of-why-blackberry-is-failing/article14563602/?ref=http://www.theglobeandmail.com&service=mobile

BlackBerry sued by over 300 employees

http://www.cbc.ca/beta/news/canada/ottawa/blackberry-employees-class-action-lawsuit-1.3986344

How Canadian Police Intercept and Read Encrypted BlackBerry Messages

https://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/article/rcmp-blackberry-project-clemenza-global-encryption-key-canada

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7 reasons why you shouldn't buy

http://mashable.com/2017/05/04/blackberry-keyone-review-worst-features/#szPfoO6dgaq8

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T-UI Launcher

Dammit! I hadn't heard of it until this review - now I'm curiously addicted...

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