TCL Communication has confirmed that it is delaying the launch of the much-anticipated BlackBerry KEYone in the United States and Canada. Fans will now have to wait until May to get their hands on the device, which was originally scheduled to make its official debut this month.
Unveiled at Mobile World Congress back in February, the KEYone is BlackBerry’s second Android-powered smartphone with a physical keyboard. However, unlike the Priv, the KEYone’s keyboard isn’t a slider; it is fixed beneath the display just as it was on classic BlackBerry devices like the Bold and the Curve.
TCL, the Chinese firm that now manufactures handsets carrying the BlackBerry name, originally promised that the KEYone would make its debut in April. Now President & General Manager of TCL North America, Steve Cistulli, has announced that fans in the U.S. and Canada will have to wait a little longer.
“Response to our global unveiling of KEYone has been overwhelmingly positive, and we’re very humbled by this excitement,” Cistulli tweeted over the weekend. “This excitement from the BlackBerry community has been so tremendous it is exceeding our initial supply. Production is underway, but we want to be certain we can meet our customer demands and avoid disappointing stock-outs.”
“Therefore the U.S. and Canadian KEYone launches will be in May,” he continued. “We will share further details as we get into May, but we remain committed to delivering a fantastic BlackBerry mobile experience.”
Of course, excitement does not mean confirmed sales or pre-orders, so it’s interesting that TCL is basing its plans on that when it really has no idea how many KEYone units will be snapped up at launch. This will make the news even more disappointing for long-time BlackBerry fans who have been desperately waiting for this handset for months.
But it could be a lot worse, of course. Not too long ago, we wondered whether BlackBerry smartphones would be disappearing entirely. We’ll certainly take a longer wait for launch over no launch at all.