After Research In Motion Ltd. (RIM) released an all-touchscreen Blackberry 10 development kit for app makers, people began to speculate that RIM was moving away from physical keyboards. This would seem silly considering that the physical keyboards are being used as a key selling point in some of the new BlackBerry commercials in which hip young professionals proclaim their love for their “berries”.
RIM CEO Thorsten Heins shut down rumours quickly by stating that there will be BlackBerry 10 handsets with physical QWERTY keyboards when the new platform launches. “We [have] the best physical keyboard on the planet” Heins said. “We don’t want to give that up.” BlackBerry 10 devices could feature slide-out keypads, as well as traditional style keypads which would remain more in line with the history of RIM products.
While RIM entered the touch-screen market in 2008 with the BlackBerry Storm, most of its lineup has kept the physical keypad. Brand loyalists often tout the keypad as the best feature and it has kept customers away from the touchscreen competition. Apple and Android have dominated that part of the smartphone market and it’s tough to imagine RIM being able to slice away a piece of their pie.
Meanwhile, RIM shares continue to suffer and are trading at prices that haven’t been seen since 2003. They also have had a tough time attracting developers and have even offered a $10,000 bonus for any developer who can devise an app which is ultimately accepted and used on its next generation of phones.
BlackBerry 10 is expected to launch in October and it will bring some new features to BlackBerry users. First off, it brings a slick new look that will be more modern looking than the current BlackBerry 7 OS. It will also feature something called “Flow view”. This allows you to switch between apps and multitask smoothly without having to close one app just to open up another. Text messaging and email writing will be made easier with word prediction and the ability to adapt to your typing style over time.
For more info about Blackberry 10 check out CNET’s preview of the new OS and watch the video below.