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BlackBerry’s KeyOne phone sells May 31

Preorders for the ambitious Android phone with the QWERTY keyboard will begin as early as May 18.

That’s the main difference between the BlackBerry KeyOne, which has just acquired a North America release date, and every other Android phone.The QWERTY phone goes on sale May 31 in both the US and Canada, with preorders for Canadian carriers revving up May 18 (it’ll cost CAD $199 for a two-year contract).

In the US, the KeyOne will come to Sprint “later this summer,” but eager beavers can order through BlackBerry.com for $549.

BlackBerry has a lot hinging on the KeyOne’s success. After a decade of declining sales punctuated by phones that failed to grab hold — like the Passport, Priv and DTek 50 and 60 — the KeyOne offers a much-needed fresh start at satisfying longtime fans and scoring new ones. A higher-end device running Android 7.1 Nougat, the KeyOne features a 4.5-inch display, a 12-megapixel camera and an 8-megapixel selfie cam. It runs off of an octa-core processor. We have high hopes for some of the KeyOne’s more detailed touches, like its convenience key to launch any app, the up to 52 keyboard shortcuts you can program and a tab you can pull out from any screen to see upcoming appointments and missed messages.

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