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BlackBerry switches to the dark side of the Force with the Limited Edition Black KEYone

The phone will remain exclusive to India and there is no word on whether it will make it to other markets sometime in the future.
By
August 1, 2017

BlackBerry needed a device to help reinvigorate its brand, and the KEYone, which launched during the waning days of May, certainly helped that cause, to some extent. Now, BlackBerry hopes to double down on that reinvigoration with the Limited Edition Black KEYone.

Funny enough, the phone officially goes by Limited-Edition KEYone Mercury Black Device By BlackBerry Made By Optiemus Infracom. As incredibly clunky of an official name that may be, it does give a bit of insight into the phone’s background.

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Without going into unnecessary detail, BlackBerry no longer designs and manufactures its smartphones – other companies are tapped to do the heavy lifting, though BlackBerry retains control of the software. One of those companies is Optiemus, which reached an agreement with BlackBerry earlier in 2017 to manufacture and market BlackBerry-branded devices. Furthermore, Optiemus also has a design license agreement with TCL, which partners with BlackBerry for worldwide manufacturing and distribution.

One of the results of that somewhat-convoluted mess of agreements and partnerships is the Limited Edition Black KEYone, which features three key differences from the original KEYone: aesthetics, RAM, and storage.

Congratulations to Optiemus Infracom on the launch of #BlackBerry KEYone LIMITED EDITION BLACK in India! pic.twitter.com/pVvJgvemmU
— BlackBerry (@BlackBerry) August 1, 2017

Aesthetically, the Limited Edition Black KEYone is likely the closest thing to Darth Vader’s smartphone that currently exists. From the BlackBerry logo on the back, to the top and sides, to even the keyboard frets, the phone features a murdered-out look that will certainly appeal to some folks.

As for the other two differences, the Limited Edition Black KEYone goes from 3 GB to 4 GB of RAM while also doubling the on-board storage from 32 GB to 64 GB. More RAM and storage are always welcome, but do not expect a significant performance boost: the phone still features its predecessor’s Snapdragon 625 processor, though software updates have sped up the original KEYone since its launch.

The biggest pain point is availability, since the Limited Edition Black KEYone will only be available in India for just under $624. There is no official word on whether the phone will make its way to other markets, but you do have the option to import it.