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BlackBerry KEY2 goes official and it’s definitely a phone for keyboard fans

Ain’t it nice to type on an actual keyboard?

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TCL, the current owner of BlackBerry, just announced their latest phone and unless you’ve been living under a rock, you already know what it is — the BlackBerry KEY2. The early leaks and rumors about the new BlackBerry phone are true; from pricing to specs, they are correct.

Unsurprisingly, they KEY2 continues the KEYone legacy. It still has a squarish form factor (but not as square as the BlackBerry Passport) with a 4.5-inch IPS display (1080 x 1620 pixels, 3:2 ratio) and iconic physical keyboard, which has become a rarity in today’s smartphone market. It also has a first for a BlackBerry — dual rear cameras.

BlackBerry is finally on board the dual camera wagon with two 12-megapixel rear sensors: one with a regular f/1.8 lens and another with a telephoto f/2.6 lens. Obviously, the secondary sensor is used for optical zooming as well as portrait shots and bokeh features. An 8-megapixel shooter takes care of the selfies.

The body of the phone is made from 7000 Series aluminum with a textured rubber back. Overall, the phone looks sleeker and more refined than the KEYone. Perhaps the removal of the metal forehead gives the KEY2 much-needed elegance as a modern business phone.

Going back to the keyboard, it’s now 20 percent taller for more comfortable and accurate typing. It also has a matte finish and more spacious layout. The spacebar still doubles as a fingerprint reader and the whole keyboard acts as a trackpad which has always been neat. In addition, there’s a new Speed key that enables shortcut commands to open apps, contact info, or access certain functions. Just imagine how productive you can be without even touching the screen.

Inside the phone is a Snapdragon 660 processor with a generous 6GB of memory and up to 128GB of expandable storage. Software-wise, the KEY2 boots Android Oreo out of the box with a promised update to Android P. Of course, monthly security updates are also expected.

The BlackBerry KEY2 will go on sale this June starting at US$ 649 in the US, GBP 579 in the UK, and EUR 649 for the rest of Europe.

SEE ALSO: From Curve, Bold to Priv: 10 of the most memorable BlackBerry devices

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Samsung files a patent for a bezel-less, notch-less Galaxy Note

Bad news: no audio port

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This year’s quest for the holy grail hunts for a truly bezel-less and notch-less smartphone. Phone makers frantically push for their own takes on all-screen phones.

With a new patent, Samsung is throwing their hat into the ring with a Galaxy Note-like device that eliminates bezels altogether.

In the patent, the included drawing depicts a phone that takes out the residual bottom chin and reduces the top bezel to a notch-less strip.

Notably, the patent also majorly alters Samsung’s usual design philosophy for the rear panel. Instead of the usual central positioning, Samsung has moved this phone’s rear camera to the upper-left corner, similar to the iPhone X and Huawei P20.

Image source: United States Patent and Trademark Office

Also, despite the lack of a home button, the phone doesn’t add a new button for a fingerprint sensor. This likely implies that Samsung is making significant headway with an under-screen fingerprint sensor. (The feature will likely make an appearance on the upcoming Galaxy Note 9, as well.)

For all its optimism, the patented phone depicts a hugely disappointing non-feature — the lack of a 3.5mm audio port. Currently, Samsung remains one of the last bastions of the celebrated audio port. The patent’s lack of the feature is a stark surprise from the Korean company.

Right now, this specific form factor has found significant traction with the new Vivo NEX. However, Vivo’s take on the design still carries a noticeable bottom chin and a controversial pop-up camera.

Regardless, Samsung’s patent will likely enter production after this year’s slate of Samsung phones. The company has already scheduled the Galaxy Note 9’s launch on August 9.

To add to this, another leak indicates that even the Galaxy S series will feature bezel-less screens next year.

SEE ALSO: Samsung might launch a 512GB Galaxy Note 9 in Korea and China

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Does this confirm the ASUS ROG Phone coming to the US?

Finally leaving Taiwan

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One of the biggest mysteries during the ROG Phone launch — among many — was when and where the ASUS gaming phone was going to be rolled out.

Outside of the obvious homeland of Taiwan and “coming soon,” there wasn’t much else divulged about the availability, or even the price for that matter, but we may have found one major clue.

The US website of ASUS put up a dedicated page for the ROG Phone. While it doesn’t indicate any of the details we want to know, it’s a strong indicator that the gaming handset is in fact on its way to the other side of the world.

ASUS executives themselves promised that the device will become commercially available some time during the second half of 2018, and with that about to begin in a little over a week, more details may soon be known.

For now, the ROG Phone is still the most powerful handset ASUS has released to date, and continues to be the most attractive gaming smartphone this year.

You can learn more about it in our hands-on video here:

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Apple plans to remove the iPhone’s Lightning port soon

In anticipation for the AirPower wireless charger

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A few years ago, Apple eliminated the audio jack from its iPhones, ending years of tangled cords and loose-fitting earbuds. The move rightfully irked audio fans, citing lost AirPods and monopolized accessories.

Sadly, Apple is continuing its war against I/O ports. By September, the company will release their first official wireless charging mat, the AirPower.

Of course, Apple’s AirPower isn’t the first exclusive charging mat in the smartphone industry. Currently, Android smartphones also tout their own Qi wireless charging mats. However, despite wireless prevalence, Android phone makers have not announced plans to remove wired charging altogether.

Shockingly (or perhaps not), Apple already has plans to remove the iPhone’s Lightning port. According to Bloomberg writer Mark Gurman, the company considered removing the port as early as the iPhone X.

At the time, Apple did not have the guns to back up their vision. Since the AirPower hasn’t launched yet, a push for wireless exclusivity is ill advised.

Although, with the AirPower’s nearing release, Apple’s desire to eliminate all wired accessories is slowly coming to reality. Despite last year’s setback, Apple is still adamant to create a completely wireless iPhone.

Notably, the Lightning port’s capabilities extend from just simply charging. The port also supports media and file transfers from larger devices. Eliminating the port also puts a premium on wireless file transfers.

Without a Lightning port, Apple is realizing an iPhone that will look like a slab of glass. As of now, a Lightning-less iPhone will likely spark more controversy for Apple. The company has already earned a lot of ire for removing the 3.5mm audio port.

Regardless, an I/O-less iPhone is coming sooner than we would like.

SEE ALSO: Apple might switch to USB-C, fast charging in the future

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