BlackBerry may have another device on the list for 2018 — a lower cost version of the Key2 possibly known as the Key2 LE. We’ve already had indirect hints about the device — when Digital Trends spoke to BlackBerry’s global head of device portfolio, Gareth Hurn, in January, he told us there would be two phones with keyboards released in 2018. The BlackBerry Key2 turned out to be the first, and now it appears the Key2 LE will be the second.
Information and rumors for what could be the BlackBerry Key2 LE are already surfacing. Here’s everything we know about it so far.
Specs for the upcoming BlackBerry Key2 LE suggest the phone will be a low-cost version of the regular Key2. According to a story on Android Police, the Key2 LE will pack a Snapdragon 636 chip with 4GB of RAM: The regular Key2 has a Snapdragon 660 chip along with 6GB of RAM. You’ll also find a 32GB and 64GB storage option.
Display on the Key2 LE will be the same, but the battery will be slightly smaller, coming in at 3,000mAh compared to the 3,500mAh on the Key2. And it looks like the camera will take a hit as well: The Key2 LE will have a 13-megapixel rear camera, with a 5-megpixel selfie camera.
Name, release date, and price
The device is apparently code-named BlackBerry Luna, and the less expensive materials used in its construction should make the phone cheaper to buy than the Key2, which starts at $650. While it was expected that the device would be launched as the BlackBerry Key2 Lite, a recent tweet by leaker Roland Quandt suggest otherwise. A BlackBerry smartphone with model number BBE-100-5 has passed certification by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and is reportedly called the BlackBerry Key2 LE.
Before that, two other smartphones with the BlackBerry brand also passed FCC with model numbers BE 100-1 and BBE 100-2 — both of which are reportedly variants of the “Lite” BlackBerry. With another model number added to the mix, it’s believed this could be the third variant that will be available.
The upcoming BBE100 from BlackBerry will be called BlackBerry Key2 LE says the FCC. pic.twitter.com/kP0ekhJaR6
— Roland Quandt (@rquandt) July 27, 2018
Sharing the Key2’s basic design means the phone will have a physical keyboard, potentially introducing the feature to a wider audience. Outside of the expensive KeyOne and Key2, the only other Android-based BlackBerry phone you could buy was the all-touchscreen BlackBerry Motion.
Blass also tweeted the phone could launch at the end of August or in September, potentially at the IFA technology show in Berlin, which begins on August 31 and runs until September 5.
*This plastic 'Berry is said to launch late August / early September, perhaps at IFA.
— Evan Blass (@evleaks) July 18, 2018
We don’t know anything about the specifications yet, or if BlackBerry will remove some of the Key’s special keyboard functionality to lower the price further. It’s always possible the Key2 LE will use the KeyOne’s keyboard, just with the Key2’s improved design. Evidence of its possible existence comes from a leaked picture allegedly showing what’s being called the BlackBerry Key2 Lite, which highlightd the back of a phone with BlackBerry’s familiar logo, and a Key2-like shape.
The device differs from the Key2 slightly. The chassis on the pictured device is red, and will apparently be made of plastic rather than metal. It will come in a blue or copper color as well, according to mobile leaker Evan Blass, who posted the picture on Twitter. The dual-lens camera BlackBerry introduced on the Key2 is present, although the specifications may not be the same. While the Key2’s rear panel is also textured, the effect is different on the Key2 Lite.
Updated August 10: Added specs section