With all the fuss and attention being showered on the Samsung Galaxy S8, it’s almost too easy to forget that there are other flagship smartphones that have yet to launch as well. Take, for example, the BlackBerry KEYone, formerly known as “Mercury”, perhaps the last QWERTY BlackBerry we will be seeing in a while. Initially promised to launch this month, the company has revealed they are pushing back the date by a good month. Officially, it’s to better meet the unexpectedly high demand. It probably won’t hurt either that it will be steering clear of the Galaxy S8’s launch as well.
At its latest earnings call, BlackBerry CEO John Chen mentioned that the KEYone will go on sale in May instead of the April date he gave at MWC 2017. Naturally, there have been questions, if not disappointment, which was fielded by TCL North America President and General Manager Steve Cistulli on Twitter.
According to Cistulli, there has been an “overwhelmingly positive” response to the KEYone announcement, and that has exceeded the manufacturer’s initial supply. In order to not run out of stocks quickly, TCL and BlackBerry decided to postpone the launch by a month so that it could produce more devices. So, at least for the US and Canada, the KEYone will launch in May, not earlier. No exact date has been given.
While it may be avoiding the Galaxy S8’s launch window, the BlackBerry KEYone still has a herculean task ahead of it. Although it’s still too early to tell if the Galaxy S8 will be a runaway success in terms of sales, the KEYone is unlikely to get anywhere near Samsung’s lowest numbers. The physical QWERTY keyboard will undoubtedly appeal to a particular group of users, but the smartphone’s relatively steep price tag but less than premium specs might drive most other buyers away.
Check out our initial hands-on of the BlackBerry KEYone to see why we aren’t completely convinced with this “end of an era” BlackBerry device.