BlackBerry with physical keyboard coming

TORONTO — Canadians will be able to buy a new BlackBerry-branded smartphone with a physical keyboard starting next month.

The KEYone, a phone made in partnership between TCL Communication Technology Holdings Ltd. (TCT) and BlackBerry (TSX:BB), will be available for pre-order at some partners as of May 18.

Bell, Bell MTS, Rogers, SaskTel and Telus Business will sell the device starting at $199 on a two-year term.

The Android-powered device has a QWERTY keyboard and is the last product designed in part by BlackBerry.

The smartphone pioneer decided to exit the hardware business in September 2016 in favour of licensing agreements, such as the one with TCT.

The licensing agreements allow partners to design, manufacture and sell BlackBerry-branded smartphones using the firm’s software in exchange for a royalty per phone.

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