BlackBerry CEO Chen: Most of our new phones will feature a physical QWERTY keyboard

BlackBerry CEO Chen: Most of our new phones will feature a physical QWERTY keyboard
Former BlackBerry CEO Thorsten Heins tried to eliminate the BlackBerry physical QWERTY when he made the all-touch BlackBerry Z10 the first phone released last year to be powered by the new BlackBerry 10 platform. That didn't work out so well for Heins or BlackBerry. The latter is still writing off BlackBerry Z10 inventory and the former is without his old job (although he is $22 million richer).

When word leaked that the first phone to be designed and produced by contract manufacturer Foxconn, under a five year deal with BlackBerry, was to be another all-touch BB10 model codenamed Jakarta, it was deja vu. But need not fear BlackBerry fans. New CEO John Chen said Monday at CES, "I personally love the keyboards." He added that future BlackBerry models will "predominantly" be handsets that offer a physical QWERTY keyboard.

In a display of legal force that demonstrates the importance of the iconic BlackBerry keyboard to the future of the company, Chen's firm is suing Typo, the producer of a snap-on QWERTY for the Apple iPhone. The problem isn't so much with the utility of the device, but with its design. Whomever designed the keyboard made it look like the one on the BlackBerry Q10, right down to the frets.

With a new found focus on the enterprise and government agencies, the QWERTY keyboard becomes important once again to BlackBerry. Businessmen and government-lifers are usually more interested in typing using a physical keyboard than the average consumer is. The company will produce at lest two models this year with the Foxconn produced Jakarta coming in at under $200. A high-end model with a physical QWERTY keyboard will be aimed at the U.S. and be designed in-house.

source: Bloomberg

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