TCL Launches KEYone, the Latest BlackBerry-Licensed Smartphone

Today’s topics include the debut of the BlackBerry-licensed KEYone smartphone in the United States; Google Compute Engine servers running advanced Intel Skylake processors; Microsoft enlisting eSIM and Windows 10 for always connected PCs; and Salesforce unveiling its new Sales Cloud Partner Relationship Management app.

The latest BlackBerry-licensed smartphone, the KEYone, is now on sale in the United States after being launched by China's TCL Communications on May 31.

TCL, which licenses the BlackBerry name and produces the new handsets, is selling the device online through Amazon.com, at select Best Buy stores and through BestBuy.com. The BlackBerry KEYone is available in two unlocked versions for U.S. customers—a GSM model and a CDMA version.

The phone, which has an aluminum frame, runs on the Android 7.1 Nougat mobile operating system and includes the iconic BlackBerry physical keyboard, a 4.5-inch display and an octa-core processor.

Customers of Google's Compute Engine infrastructure-as-a-service platform will now be able to run their workloads on cloud servers based on Intel's next-generation Skylake processors.

Skylake-based virtual machine instances can support up to 64 virtual CPUs and 455GB of memory. They are designed to run a range of highly compute-intensive workloads such as genomic research, 3D rendering and data analytics.

Google announced beta availability of Skylake on Compute Engine in February. Since then, organizations have run millions of hours’ worth of workloads on virtual machines based on the technology, Google announced in a blog last week.

Full-fledged Windows on ARM-based hardware took a major step closer to reality last week. During the Computex 2017 tradeshow in Taipei, Microsoft officially announced the impending release of so-called "Always Connected PCs" featuring eSIM technology, some of which will be powered by Snapdragon 835 processors from Qualcomm.

Echoing the software giant's relatively new "cloud-first" ethos, Microsoft envisions a new breed of Windows PCs that enable users to remain continually connected to the cloud.

Characterized by all-day battery life and always-on internet access courtesy of eSIM and gigabit LTE technologies, Always Connected PCs can help bridge the gap between traditional PCs and cellular-connected smartphones and tablets, allowing users to access their cloud applications and services without hunting for a WiFi network.

Salesforce has been getting more and more specialized with its clouds and its applications, so it was inevitable that it was going to launch something that dealt only with channel sales. That day came May 31, when the San Francisco-based customer relationship management giant opened for business Sales Cloud Partner Relationship Management, a new sales app that the company says will reinvigorate channel sales.

More than two-thirds of revenue for IT, manufacturing and telecom companies emanates from channel sales, Salesforce says, so it wants to provide every partner, distributor and reseller with the personalized tools and information they need to sell products and services smarter and faster.

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