BlackBerry has been out of the hardware game for a while now, but the storied brand will live on thanks to licensing deals with other manufacturers including TCL, of Alcatel fame.

BlackBerry and TCL just announced the release of the KEYone in US and Canada, starting from the end of May. In UK, however, you can have it a bit early and the two companies think they can build hype for the KEYone by having an exclusive launch event in London.

Customers can walk into the flagship Selfridges store on Oxford Street and purchase a BlackBerry KEYone for £499, starting today. I’ll be honest, I kinda like the idea. It rewards the loyal customers BlackBerry has accumulated over the years by allowing them to have an exclusive device, even if it’s for a short while. As long as those fans can get to London, of course.

The KEYone has made headlines recently thanks to its capacitive QWERTY keyboard, a rare commodity in this day and age. What is a capacitive keyboard you ask? Well remember the trackpad on older BlackBerrys, like the BB Bold? You can use your thumb, or any finger for that matter, to swipe and drag along the keyboard to interact with Android. Watch our hands-on video to really understand the beauty of it:

Other than that, the BlackBerry KEYone sports a 1080p 4.5-inch LCD screen, Snapdragon 625 and 3GB of RAM, along with a 3,505 mAh battery. (I love how they squeezed in that extra 5 mAh, thanks TCL!)

The official launch in the UK is May 5, if, for some reason, you can’t make it to a Selfridges. Starting that date, the KEYOne will be available throughout the Carphone Warehouse network.

What do you like about BlackBerry’s new phone?

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