Mobile World Congress isn't quite the household name as the Consumer Electronics Show, but it's impact on mobile devices like phones is just as significant. Every company with a phone to sell has gathered across the ocean in Barcelona, Spain for MWC 2017 this week.
Traditionally, MWC is where we see the big names announce the year's latest and greatest Android smartphones. This year was a bit different, however.
LG announced its new LG G6, but failed to provide any pricing or a release date. Samsung had a rough year (exploding Note 7 and all), so the company has delayed its typical S-series smartphone announcement until March. Motorola announced its Moto G5 lineup, while ZTE, Nokia, and BlackBerry all announced new phones as well.
Wait, what? Nokia and BlackBerry? In 2017!?! It's true.
BlackBerry fans are excited, yet nostalgic about the new smartphone:
Meanwhile, some people are clueless that BlackBerry even still exists:
Technically, the KEYone isn't BlackBerry's smartphone. It's Chinese manufacturer TCL's phone, with the BlackBerry name slapped on the device.
BlackBerry--not the licensed name, but the company--does provide the Android software for the device. So I guess the company is in part responsible for the phone. The BlackBerry KEYone is a touch-screen Android device, with a full-fledged keyboard at the bottom. It's the same style of BlackBerry keyboard that more innocent users drooled over in simpler times, years ago.
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BlackBerry fans have been down this road before. The company announces a new phone, and then the core of fans who can't see past the nostalgia proclaim everyone in the world is wrong but them.
And here's a quick video that does make the KEYone look, at the very least, intriguing to use:
In fairness, I said the same about the BlackBerry Storm, BlackBerry Classic, BlackBerry Passport, and the BlackBerry Priv.
On paper, the KEYone is a mid-range Android device with BlackBerry's custom software suite. Unfortunately, it's priced higher than most mid-range Android phones at $549. We don't have an exact release date quite yet, only a general launch window in April. Hopefully, BlackBerry's loyal fan base and current users will be ready to support the new device.
Nope. Actually, practically no one does. In fact, just last week BlackBerry's smartphone market share reached 0.00-percent.
I will be there first to admit I can be a bit of a downer when it comes to talking all things BlackBerry.
It hasn't always been that way:
I used to be one of those diehard fans, proclaiming the rest of the tech world just didn't get BlackBerry.
The truth is, I grew tired of constantly jumping on the hype train, eagerly awaiting the BlackBerry of yester-decade, only to be let down, time after time. And this time I'm not going to let that happen, physical keyboard or not.
BlackBerry (the company) is no longer a hardware company in charge of its own phones and product offerings. It's a software company now, and when it comes to smartphones, it relies on Google for its core Android operating system and TCL for its hardware.
And that's not a winning combination, folks.