The BlackBerry KEY2 is almost 18 months old and still waiting for a follow-up
You know how it seemed like BlackBerry and Nokia were coming back from the dead with the help of exclusive global brand licensees TCL and HMD Global respectively? Well, unfortunately for QWERTY nostalgics, we haven't seen an entirely new BlackBerry-branded phone released in more than a year and the wait is set to continue for a KEY2 or KEY2 LE sequel.
For what it's worth, it sounds like a BlackBerry KEY3 (name unconfirmed) is happening, although we still don't know the "when" or even the "what" of the equation (as in what kind of upgrades might be in the pipeline). But 5G speeds will definitely not be part of the package, as whatever TCL is cooking up for the BlackBerry brand next, the Chinese company's general manager of global marketing says "it's not an entertainment device and you can already get your email pretty fast."
That seems like a very reductive description of the appeal of existing BlackBerry smartphones, not to mention 5G support is widely expected to improve far more than the "entertainment" functionality of tomorrow's mobile devices. Bizarrely enough, Stefan Streit says TCL is interested in experimenting with 5G implementations on products like 8K TVs or refrigerators, which must mean the company considers those to be "entertainment devices."
At the same time, both TCL-branded and Alcatel handsets with 5G connectivity are being seriously considered, with at least one such product likely to be released "by the middle of next year" at an affordable price point of between $500 and $600. That could explain why BlackBerry's evolution is being put on the back burner, especially with TCL already committed to launching a foldable design under its own brand sometime in 2020.