MWC 2019: QWERTY keyboard here to stay confirms TCL

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Francois Mahieu MWC 2019 TCL BlackBerry

BlackBerry grew its UK market share last year according to IDC statistics 

TCL Corporation has said it will continue to incorporate a QWERTY keyboard in devices as its BlackBerry brand unveiled a red edition of its flagship Key2 at the Mobile World Congress.

BlackBerry is arguably the most well-known of a minority of smartphone vendors that still use such a keyboard.

The Key2 Red edition comes nine months after the Key2 was launched and will cost £699. It has 6GB of RAM and more internal storage, at 128GB.

It has the same Snapdragon 660 processor as the previous version, runs on the Android 8.1 Oreo operating system and includes support for Google’s Lens and Pay services. Google Assistant has also been introduced via a convenience key.

Speaking to Mobile News, TCL Communication GM and chief commercial officer for BlackBerry Mobile Francois Mahieu (below, left) says BlackBerry wants to “stay true to the brand”.

“The strategy is and has always been to stay very true to this iconic keyboard design and that will stay,” says Mahieu. “We will continue to invest in the area of keyboards and it helps us to stand out – it’s a fundamental element.”

Viable proposition
“The keyboard is still a viable proposition to our customers and a lot of people miss their keyboards and love the sense of nostalgia,” adds Mahieu.

He says that BlackBerry smartphones are being sold in 50 countries and are supported by around 110 operators.

BlackBerry grew its UK market share to 0.4 per cent last year, up from 0.1 per cent the year before, according to IDC figures.

5G commitment

In the weeks after MWC BlackBerry CEO John Chen released a statement to reaffirm BlackBerry’s commitment to 5G.

Chen said that BlackBerry will “encourage and support the development of 5G and 5G enabled IoT devices.”

Chen also touched on the importance for security these connected devices.

“Furthermore, we understand that as the world becomes increasingly connected, what we do and the data privacy values we are built on are more important than ever before.

“We recently became the world’s first $1 billion cybersecurity company and are excited about how 5G will help us to enable the full potential of advanced cybersecurity technologies such as Artificial Intelligence.”

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