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BlackBerry KEYone preorders begin May 18

Clamoring for a smartphone with a physical keyboard and the BlackBerry namesake? Your wait is almost over.

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(Image: Jason Cipriani/ZDNet)

After a brief delay, TCL Communication and BlackBerry Limited are nearly ready to begin taking preorders for the BlackBerry KEYone smartphone.

Preorders in Canada begin May 18 at select carriers, with the official launch less than two weeks later on May 31.

Canadian Wireless carriers who have committed to offering the BlackBerry KEYone include Bell, Bell MTS, Rogers, SaskTel, and TELUS Business. According to TCL, Canadians can expect to spend $199 CAD for the device on a two-year contract.

BlackBerry enthusiasts in the US will have to wait until May 31 to order the upcoming smartphone. Details are scarce, with TCL only announcing unlocked GSM and CDMA variants will be available at that time, with availability directly from carriers, including Sprint, planned for "later this summer." Customers in the US should expect to pay $549 for the phone without a contract.

For those in the UK, you can pick up the KEYone starting April 27 at the Selfridges department store in London's Oxford Street for £499. Carphone Warehouse will begin selling the phone on May 5, 2017, with carrier availability expanding throughout May.

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The BlackBerry KEYone is built and designed by TCL Communication, who licensed the BlackBerry name. Through the agreement, BlackBerry no longer designs or manufacturers smartphones that bear the company's name. Instead, BlackBerry provides the software experience and tools for the Android-powered smartphone.

The KEYone runs Android 7.1 and has a 4.5-inch HD display. It also has a full QWERTY keyboard that doubles as a trackpad for scrolling through long emails or web pages and is powered by the mid-range Qualcomm Snapdragon 635 processor.

We are currently testing a review sample of the KEYone and will share our thoughts in due time.

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