BlackBerry Confirms They Will Still Use Physical Keyboards

It seems hard to believe today, but not so many years ago the BlackBerry range of smartphones was one of the to-go devices. BlackBerry sold a number of devices from the narrow 'Pearl', the budget 'Curve' and the flagship 'Torch' and 'Bold' models. The company also introduced the 'Storm' model, as a touchscreen-only device and designed as a competitor for the Apple iPhone in conjunction with Vodafone. These models ran BlackBerry's proprietary operating system, which was based on the Java platform. Over the years, BlackBerry OS was refined and improved but development stopped in version 6 as the company concentrated on BlackBerry 10, the new generation platform based on QNX.

Although BlackBerry has released a few devices running the legacy operating system after the first BlackBerry 10 model, the Z10, was released, the company had been concentrating on these devices. We've seen a number of models being released, some without a keyboard (such as the Z10) and some with the keyboard. One of these was the BlackBerry Classic; a BlackBerry 10 device that looked very much like the older Bold models. The Classic uses a Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro with 2 GB of RAM, a 720 by 720, 3.5-inch touchscreen display and a keyboard covering around the bottom half of the display. The BlackBerry Classic is a nod towards the traditional BlackBerry devices of old and dispensed with slider designs and suchlike. And yesterday, BlackBerry announced that the Classic would be discontinued. It appears that some within the world assumed that this meant that BlackBerry were done with keyboard devices, presumably forgetting that the BlackBerry Classic was announced in June 2014 and released towards the end of the year. In the Classic's life time, BlackBerry have released the first device based around the Android platform.

To this end, Senior Vice President for BlackBerry's Global Device Sales, Alex Thurber, tweeted to BlackBerry fans that the keyboard was not dead. This sounds that BlackBerry will still be supporting the keyboard-type device going forwards. We've seen rumous that the company are working on another two or three models, which could be running Android rather than BlackBerry 10, and it has been suggested that one of these smartphones will have a full touchscreen whereas the other will have a full keyboard and a much smaller display. If this is true, it will be interesting to see how BlackBerry modify the Android operating system such that it fits and works on a full keyboard style device.

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About the Author
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David Steele

Senior Staff Writer
I grew up with 8-bit computers and moved into PDAs in my professional life, using a number of devices from early Windows CE clamshells and later. Today, my main devices are a Nexus 5X, a Sony Xperia Z Tablet and a coffee cup.