You read that right. No, this is not a post from 2012. BlackBerry, the smartphone company originally known as Research In Motion (RIM), is gearing up to release a space black version of its KeyOne device on AT&T. According to the cellular provider, the smartphone will be made available on September 1.
The device was released back in May, but due to BlackBerry’s lack of support from cell service providers, it was sold through the company’s website as an unlocked smartphone. Now it seems that AT&T sees something in the smartphone that others don’t, so they’ve decided to stock up. The company could be on to something. AT&T takes risks. Remember the iPhone?
Could this be the BlackBerry comeback no one expected?
We shouldn’t get our hopes up, but this very well could be considered a comeback for the company. After all, they are collaborating with one of the top service providers on this deal. If they didn’t mean business, perhaps we’d see the KeyOne in the window display of the local MetroPCS or Cricket Wireless store (nothing against subsidiaries).
As it turns out, partnering with AT&T could be just the beginning of the company’s return. “We have a number of different contracts that we are working on right now. We expect some to be announced soon,” said Alex Thurber, the company’s Senior Vice President and General Manager of Mobility Solutions. The manufacturer is even going global. “We have an agreement with Optiemus for the India market for BlackBerry Secure,” he continued.
There are also similar partnerships with BB Merah Putih for the Indonesian market and China’s TCL for rest of the global markets.
“We have three partners today that cover the world. We are not looking at any other partners for pure BlackBerry brand,” Thurber said.
Expectations for the KeyOne on AT&T
As a whole, we lost hope for BlackBerry a while ago. That being said, this comeback is still as exciting as it is surprising. The smartphone is actually kind of awesome when you really look at it.
Features for the KeyOne include a physical keyboard (old school, right?), Android Nougat operating system, and some mid range graphics color quality for the 4.5in touchscreen. The black color option has only been made available overseas until now, which makes it pretty exclusive for AT&T customers who want to go back to the BB system. The provider says the KeyOne will cost $16.67 for 30 months, or $500, through AT&T Next.
With BlackBerry’s somewhat tarnished reputation over the past few years – which included bankruptcy allegations, failed device launches, and more – it’s refreshing to see the company hasn’t give up the fight. They haven’t even replaced their CEO. Now that’s dedication.
While we know the specs of the KeyOne, we won’t be able to really know what all it can do until we get our hands on it September 1st. I wouldn’t expect a line out the door for this smartphone, but I will be there – even if it’s just to feel a little nostalgia. Join me?