The next BlackBerry phone is supposed to be announced later this week, but thanks to VentureBeat reporter Evan Blass, we’re getting an early look at it. The new phone is called the BlackBerry Key2, and leaked images make it look like a refined version of the KeyOne, with a subdued gray and black appearance, fewer conspicuous holes and sensors, and perhaps even a slightly more spacious keyboard layout.
The keyboard is, of course, the highlight of this device. While modern BlackBerry phones come with additional security features that harken back to BlackBerry’s legacy, they’re otherwise pretty generic Android phones that really only stand out thanks to the BlackBerry name. (And they’re not even built by BlackBerry, but by TCL.)
To give the phones some kind of edge, the Key line has brought back BlackBerry’s trademark keyboard. I’m not sure how many people will still agree that tiny physical keyboards are better than on-screen ones, but the Key phones at least give you the option to choose.
This time around, TCL has also added dual cameras to the phone. It doesn’t look like there are other major changes externally, though TCL appears to have changed the keyboard’s bottom-right shift button into something that looks like a shortcut key — it seems to resemble an app launcher.
The original version of the phone, the Key One, had a 4.5-inch screen and a mid-range Snapdragon 625 processor. The Key2 is rumored to keep the 4.5-inch size but upgrade to the more recent Snapdragon 660.
TCL is supposed to announce the new phone this Thursday, June 7th.