You might not care about physical keyboards anymore, but TCL sure does. In 2017, the company banked on nostalgia to sell the KeyOne. TCL, which holds a license to use BlackBerry’s name around the world, will probably have the same strategy this year.
Within the coming months, we should see the Key2 as the flagship mobile device with a physical keyboard front and center.
Better yet, you can see what’s probably the TCL’s next phone before it’s even official. The Key2, known internally as the Athena, appears to have leaked online ahead of its announcement.
The Key2 spotted on Weibo and the CrackBerry Forums features larger but flatter keys. TCL could have realized that typing on the KeyOne felt a bit cramped, so it tweaked the layout to be more comfortable.
What we’re seeing here aligns with the previous leak from a few weeks ago, which showed three press renders of the phone.
Overall, the look seems to have gone from glossy to matte. The Key2 will probably ditch its metal accents and shiny keys for a smoother, subtler style.
The name should be condensed, at least that’s what this leak indicates. The watermark applied to the alleged camera sample says “BlackBerry Key2” rather than the model name laid out with all letters. As we’ve seen before, companies often use numbers rather than letters to signify successors because it looks cleaner.
TCL has yet to schedule any upcoming launch, but the most likely timeframe for the Key2 to be announced is this summer. It’s been more than a year since the KeyOne was released, so the most popular smartphone with a physical keyboard is due for an upgrade. Also, there haven’t been too many BlackBerry-branded products launched in 2018.