THE BLACK­BERRY IS BACK

Focus-Science and Technology - - Innovations -

This year, nos­tal­gia dom­i­nated Mo­bile World Congress – the largest mo­bile tech­nol­ogy con­fer­ence in the world. Com­pa­nies vied for the pub­lic’s at­ten­tion with the likes of 5G net­works, au­ton­o­mous rac­ing cars and smart wear­ables, but the un­de­ni­able stars of the show were two re­ha­bil­i­tated gad­gets from the past: the Nokia 3310 (turn to p29) and the Black­Berry KEYOne.

You’d be for­given for think­ing that Black­Berry had been con­signed to the big tech rub­bish heap in the sky, along with the likes of Palm Pi­lots and Google Glass. But the Black­Berry brand was re­cently bought by Chi­nese com­pany TCL, which wants to res­ur­rect the de­vice for the sur­pris­ing num­ber of peo­ple who still pine after diminu­tive phys­i­cal key­boards on their smart­phones.

The de­vice isn’t on sale yet, so we can’t of­fer full judg­ment, but we can say that it seems like the phone’s aimed at the busi­ness users that made Black­Berry so pop­u­lar in the first place. The qw­erty key­board dou­bles as a gi­ant track­pad, let­ting you browse the web with touch ges­tures. Mean­while, its keys can be pro­grammed to launch apps and there’s a fin­ger­print sen­sor built in to the space­bar. Since se­cu­rity is im­por­tant for a work phone, the KEYOne comes loaded with soft­ware called DTEK, which is sup­posed to con­stantly mon­i­tor for se­cu­rity threats – Black­Berry claims it’ll be the most se­cure An­droid de­vice in the world.

Yep, that’s right, the phone runs on An­droid. This is in con­trast to most re­cent Black­Berry it­er­a­tions, which were bereft of apps due to its own-brand op­er­at­ing sys­tem. The phone’s hard­ware is on par with most cur­rent An­droid phones and it’ll hold the same great cam­era found in Google’s Pixel phone. Out at the end of April, the KEYOne prob­a­bly won’t have us giv­ing up our iPhones or Google Pix­els any time soon, but it will ap­peal to the com­pany’s cult across Europe.

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