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July 19, 2018

BlackBerry to use the oldest trick in the book to push new keyboard phone

by John_A

BlackBerry may have another device on the list for 2018 — a lower cost version of the Key2. Evidence of its possible existence comes from a leaked picture allegedly showing what’s being called the BlackBerry Key2 Lite, which shows the back of a phone with BlackBerry’s familiar logo, and a Key2-like shape.

The device differs from the Key2 slightly. The chassis on the device pictured has a red color, and will apparently be made of plastic rather than metal. It’ll come in a blue or copper color as well, according to mobile leaker Evan Blass, who posted the picture on Twitter. The dual-lens camera BlackBerry introduced on the Key2 is present though, although the specifications may not be the same. While the Key2’s rear panel is also textured, the effect is different on the Key2 Lite.

Apparently codename BlackBerry Luna, the cheaper materials used in the device’s construction should make the phone cheaper to buy than the Key2, which starts at $650. What’s interesting is that being called the Key2 Lite and sharing the Key2’s basic design, means the phone will have a physical keyboard, potentially introducing the feature to a wider audience. Outside of the expensive KeyOne and Key2, the only other Android-based BlackBerry phone you could buy was the all-touchscreen BlackBerry Motion.

We’ve already had indirect hints about the Key2 Lite. When Digital Trends spoke to BlackBerry’s global head of device portfolio Gareth Hurn in January, he told us there would be two phones with keyboards released in 2018. The BlackBerry Key2 turned out to be the first, and now it appears the Key2 Lite will be the second.

When will the phone arrive? Blass mentions in a subsequent tweet the phone could launch at the end of August or in September, potentially at the IFA technology show in Berlin, which begins on August 31 and runs until September 5. We don’t know anything about the specification yet, or if BlackBerry will remove some of the Key’s special keyboard functionality to lower the price further. It’s always possible the Key2 Lite will use the KeyOne’s keyboard, just with the Key2’s improved design.

We’ll keep you updated with BlackBerry Key2 Lite rumors here.

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