BlackBerry Makes a Good Effort but It’s Probably Not Enough
A few hours ago BlackBerry announced their newest offering, the BlackBerry KeyOne. It brings back the physical keyboard and they’ve fully adapted it to the modern age by enabling custom shortcuts and it’s also touch sensitive (you can use it to scroll the screen without touching the glass). It’s a fresh take on the beloved QWERTY keyboard that made BlackBerry rise to prominence a decade ago. However despite the innovations on the keyboard, we feel that this one is going to fall flat if and when it launches in the Philippines.
Three key reasons why we feel it just won’t fly:
Camera Tech is Behind
All the phone manufacturers are moving to dual and even triple camera set-ups. The 12MP rear camera (Sony IMX378 sensor) with 4K video at 30 fps, f/2.0 lens camera of the KeyOne is decent for a flagship two years ago. But you can’t expect it to compete with the cameras being packed by the iPhone or the Android flagships.
Priced as a Flagship
Priced at $549 (27k direct conversion), the KeyOne competes head-on with the flagships offered by Apple, Samsung, and the like. It will probably debut in the PH at an even higher price given taxes and custom duties (we’re seeing 33k up). It’s just not competitive at that price range. At best it will appeal to die-hard BlackBerry fans but we don’t see people coming back to it just because of the spiffy new keyboard.
The Keyboard Isn’t Enough
Lastly, the main selling point of the KeyOne is not strong enough to win back previous BlackBerry users and glass screen smartphone lovers. Like what we mentioned earlier, it’s a great offer for die-hard BlackBerry fans, but it lives and dies with them.
Over-all it was a great effort by BlackBerry to come back to the market with an offer. If you’re dying to get a smartphone with a physical keyboard, this might be for you. The 2-day battery life and the enterprise-level security is also a big plus especially if you just want a reliable workhorse. It’s niche product at best but at least those who want a phone like this one now have a good option.