BlackBerry Classic Launch 20141217

Android Headliner: Do We Need Physical Keyboards?

June 20, 2015 - Written By Alexander Maxham

There’s been a lot of talk lately surrounding BlackBerry and their thoughts on making BlackBerries running on Android. We even saw a couple leak out this week in the form of ‘Venice’ and ‘Prague’, obviously those are both codenames. It’s gotten a lot of people excited, but why? What’s so exciting about a BlackBerry running on Android? It’s the keyboard. The physical QWERTY Keyboard that is on most BlackBerries. Although the Prague is supposedly not going to have one.

BlackBerry made its money on those physical keyboards, and they are hoping they can hop on over to Android and cash in there as well. Currently there are no smartphones out there with a physical keyboard running on Android. Well there is one, the LG Optimus F3Q, but it’s not exactly mind-blowing, and has been out for a few years. There are still users out there that want a physical keyboard on their smartphone, while there are many great keyboards available on Android like SwiftKey, Fleksy and even Google’s own Keyboard, why do we need a physical keyboard that will just take up space that could be used for a larger display?

With physical keyboards, you can’t swipe around to type words, like you would with SwiftKey or Swype. However, Android is all about choice. We have phones that are as small as 3.5-inches going all the way up to 6-inches. So having a few phones with physical keyboards would make sense, but it also makes you wonder, why did manufacturers like Motorola stop making phones with physical keyboards? Could it be because perhaps they weren’t selling? Probably.

We’ve heard plenty of people excited about BlackBerry coming to Android because they want that physical keyboard, it’s something about BlackBerry’s keyboard that everyone loves. I’m not sure what it is, but if enough people buy it, I’m sure the Waterloo company would love to make a few more models. After all, their market share has dipped down to below 2%. However, with them running on Android, I’m not sure how much that would help their market share as it should go to the Android platform.

So physical keyboards, while they are nice, I don’t think we need them. But I wouldn’t say no to offering them. Like I said earlier, Android is all about choices and being able to get whatever you want from a phone, whether it be a big phone, a small phone, a powerful phone or a cheap phone. However, that BlackBerry Venice with the 5.4-inch QHD display and Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 sure does sound interesting.