While China-based TCL is technically in charge of “global” BlackBerry smartphone production, distribution and marketing, literally just confirming the MWC 2017-unveiled KEYone is merely the beginning of its classic brand-reviving efforts, there are also two other companies licensed to use the same name on future handsets.
What you see above is most likely the first budget-friendly design from one of these regional BB hardware partners, and not some sort of TCL-made KEYone sequel or spin-off. Known only as the BBC100-1, this all-touchscreen affair should commercially debut soon enough… in Indonesia.
The odds of the (not so) mysterious device ever moving away from local exclusivity are slim, to say the least, although who knows, maybe BB Merah Putih will end up selling the rights it bought from the larger Canadian company to TCL if the phone proves popular.
The newly formed joint venture, led by PT Tiphone Mobile, an Indonesia-based telecommunication outfit with the country’s largest distribution network, seems keen on following the aesthetic direction of 2013’s BlackBerry Z10, believe it or not.
That iconic logo is returning to the front panel, while the back cover certainly looks… original. All in all, it’s not a terrible design for a presumably low-cost product, with rumors on specifications sounding decent as well, 5.5-inch 720p display, Snapdragon 425 SoC, 4GB RAM, 32GB internal storage, 13/8MP cameras, dual SIM slots, and 3,000 mAh battery included. Just remember you may never see this released outside of a single Asian market. Sad!