Relax, BlackBerry users: RIM not ditching its signature keypad
By this point, beaten down as it has been, Research In Motion still has one big ace up its sleeve.
You’ve seen that BlackBerry commercial, where the hip, young professional girl says she gets 1,000 emails a day on her phone. “Try writing a thousand emails on a touchscreen,” she gloats.
And there it is: the keyboard. Indeed, in a world where even the most dedicated iPhone or Android user admits typing is much simpler on a BlackBerry, whatever RIM fans that may remain must have been unsettled earlier this week when it appeared the handheld maker was readying to phase out its physical keyboard.
At BlackBerry World 2012 in Orlando, RIM was handing out prototype phones with its new operating system, BlackBerry 10, though those very phones were all touchscreens. BlackBerry users were spooked.
Today, though, everyone can rest easy. New RIM CEO Thorsten Heins said the prototype phones were just that, and the new line of BlackBerries coming later this year will have touchscreens but still keep their physical keyboards, too.
“It would be wrong – just plain wrong” to eliminate the keyboard, he said.
Certainly, as its market share today resembles little what it did five years ago, it’s not surprising that BlackBerry has finally embraced what sets it apart.
As a web browser and media device, the BlackBerry is a kid’s toy compared to other smartphones, though even BlackBerry users know this.
They stick with RIM for its keypad, which gives the tactile feedback and ease of typing touchscreens today cannot. The BlackBerry keypad also propels the smartphone’s second-largest allure, BlackBerry Messenger.
In fact, as the market floods with touchscreens, don’t be surprised if a wash of users consider a return to the BlackBerry keypad, as AutoCorrect errors and red underlined words become too much to bear.
What’s old may soon be new again.
By Jason Buckland, MSN Money
*RIM courtesy photo