BlackBerry's KEYone goes official in South Africa; price and launch date revealed

TCL Communications’ BlackBerry Mobile has officially launched the BlackBerry KEYone in South Africa, revealing the device’s retail price and availability.

BlackBerry has had an interesting foray into the Android world; we had our hands on the company’s first effort, the Priv, last year, and since then the firm has assaulted the market with not only new entries in its DTEK line, but further with a new handset dubbed the KEYone.
The KEYone launched earlier this year to critical praise as a return to BlackBerry’s glory days, when the company was renowned for its focus on communications with both BBM and the presence of physical keyboards on its handsets.
Read: BlackBerry releases its core apps on Android, with a new subscription model
The KEYone is BlackBerry Mobile’s newest Android champion, packing in Android 7.1 Nougat with a customisable hardware keyboard. The device, significantly, is the firm’s first hardware effort to be designed top-to-bottom since the debut of the Priv.
In an exclusive press briefing this week, TCL Communications confirmed that the KEYone would become available in South Africa from the 7th of August, and would initially be exclusive to Vodacom.
The handset is expected to cost R479 ZAR per month on Vodacom’s uChoose Flexi 200 contract, and will sell for an expected R9,649 ZAR at retail – marking one of BlackBerry’s most affordable flagship devices in recent years.
The KEYone packs in Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 625 SoC in addition to 3GB of RAM, 32GB of expandable storage, and a large 3,505mAh battery. Further, the handset carries a 12-megapixel primary camera, 8-megapixel selfie unit, and a fingerprint scanner cleverly embedded beneath its spacebar key.
BlackBerry Mobile – under TCL – hopes to attract consumers to the offering for its range of convenience features (including customisable hot keys and a user-assigned convenience key), sizeable battery, and the security features offered by BlackBerry’s DTEK suite.
Read: BlackBerry is reportedly getting back into tablets
Stay tuned for a hands-on preview next week, and tune into Bandwidth Blog On Air for our early thoughts on BlackBerry’s return to market.
What are your thoughts? Be sure to let us know your opinion in the comments below!
Follow Bryan Smith on Twitter: @bryansmithSA