Last week, we reported on an interview from Bloomberg with new BlackBerry CEO, John Chen, which gave us some fantastic insight into his plans. He made some great comments that really boosted the morale of followers of the smartphone developer. However, he made one comment that has this BlackBerry fan feeling less than encouraged, and it involves physical keyboards.
About three and a half minutes into the interview, Chen starts talking about the future of BlackBerry devices and says, “I personally love the keyboards, and so you will look to BlackBerry going forward to keyboards. I wouldn’t say exclusively, but predominantly.” Many people around the Internet have interpreted that to mean that most of the upcoming devices from the company will feature a physical keyboard. Do we really think this is the best idea for BlackBerry?
Don’t get me wrong, I love everything about BlackBerry keyboards; they’re absolutely the best. The closest competition is still miles behind even the worst BlackBerry keyboard. In fact, our keyboards are so amazing that there’s a pending lawsuit against a company that’s modeling an iPhone case that looks remarkably like the Q10.
However, a compelling argument could be made that the physical keyboard is a dying desire in the mind of consumers, professionals, and the ever so precious “prosumers” that BlackBerry wants to reach.
When I think about BlackBerry dealing predominantly in physical keyboards, it honestly makes me sad. It’s reminiscent of the days when the company had two CEOs and refused to take the threat of the iPhone seriously and adapt to what was obviously becoming a much desired feature. It makes me think of the BlackBerry Storm, and we can all agree that thinking of the BlackBerry Storm is never a good idea in any context.
I understand that BlackBerry wants to go back to what they know with enterprise because that’s always been their cash cow. I don’t, however, understand the stigma that enterprise equals physical keyboards. We have a phenomenal touch screen keyboard in the Z30 and Z10. It even convinced me to ditch the physical variety, and I’ve been pro-physical since day one.
Retreating into a predominantly physical keyboard line up seems like BlackBerry is taking a step into the past and once again refusing to adapt and grow and give customers, be they consumer, professional, or prosumer, the features they want. Physical keyboards are too much of a niche market for them to be the main focus of a company in trouble.
What are your thoughts on the physical vs touch screen keyboard? Drop a comment below, or join the conversation in the Uber Media Group Forums!