Keyboard features alongside touchscreen on new BlackBerry smartphone

BlackBerry has unveiled a new smartphone that combines a touchscreen with a physical keyboard. 

The new Keyone, which runs on Google's Android operating system, features both the touch-response screen of a modern smartphone as well as a keyboard, similar to that of the firm's most popular devices.

The Keyone, unveiled ahead of the Mobile World Congress (MWC) tech show in Barcelona, has been built by Chinese manufacturer TCL Communication as part of a new deal to make BlackBerry phones.

BlackBerry has struggled to match many of its smartphone rivals in recent years, slipping to a 0% share of the global smartphone market earlier this year, according to reports, having once been one of the biggest manufacturers in the world. 

TCL chief executive Nicolas Zibell said: "Impressively designed to be distinctly different, the BlackBerry Keyone re-imagines how we communicate by offering unmatched productivity and the world's most secure Android smartphone experience. 

"We're humbled to play such an important role in the future of BlackBerry smartphones, which have been so iconic in our industry, and we're eager to prove to the BlackBerry community that their excitement around this new BlackBerry smartphone is something they can be proud of as well."

As well combing a 4.5-inch screen with the keyboard, the Keyone feature a 12-megapixel rear camera and quick charging technology which enables the phone to charge to 50% in around 36 minutes, BlackBerry says. 

During MWC, a host of other smartphone giants are expected to announce new handsets for consumers, including Sony, LG and Huawei, while another former giant Nokia will also unveil new devices as part of a major relaunch of the company. 

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