BlackBerry returns with a surprisingly decent business phone: The KEYone (with video)

Here are some words I never thought I’d be writing again: There’s a new phone from BlackBerry that you might be interested in. This time, it’s called the KEYone.

It’s not that I’m biased against BlackBerry. I strapped the first one to my hip when it came out in the early 2000s, before smartphones were invented and the only other way to get your email when you were away from your computer was on a two-way pager. (Kids, gather ’round. Gramps is telling his stories again…)

BlackBerry’s signature hard keyboard and secure messaging hub earned it a lot of devotees, particularly among the finance and government crowd. The devices were so ubiquitous in those segments, in fact, that the BlackBerry-toting Master of the Universe became something of an unpleasant cliché.

But the app-iverse of the iPhone and Android pretty much killed BlackBerry, which stood by its proprietary operating system and some handset choices that were eccentric at best. The last few years saw layoffs and lawsuits, with BlackBerry entering the autonomous car software business under the brand QNX and licensing its brand to a company called TCL. Serious telecom geeks will recognize TCL as the parent company of Alcatel — another telecom brand that’s gone through hard times during the last few years.

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