Business

BlackBerry comes to its senses: Future devices will have mostly keyboards, not touchscreens

Above: BlackBerry CEO Thorsten Heins shows off the Z10 and Q10 BlackBerry 10 phones.

Image Credit: Devindra Hardawar/VentureBeat

Creating keyboard-less BlackBerry phones never made much sense, and BlackBerry knows it.

New BlackBerry CEO John Chen said in a recent interview that BlackBerry plans to shift its focus back to making the types of devices its best known for: those with physical keyboards.

The goal behind the move is clear: As Chen has said again and again, BlackBerry is refocusing its business on corporate and government users in an effort to stay afloat. And those customers really love their keyboards.

Chen’s confirmation comes almost exactly a year after his predecessor, Thorsten Heins, announced the first BlackBerry 10 devices — the touchscreen-equipped Z10 and keyboard-equipped Q10. While the Q10 earned a good reception, the Z10 certainly didn’t. VentureBeat called the device “a boring beta meant for no one” in our overwhelming negative review of the Z10. (BlackBerry ended up losing $934 million because of the phone’s poor sales.)

The bigger problem? The Q10 didn’t see the light of day until months after the Z10. And BlackBerry should’ve released the Q10 first.

BlackBerry’s new focus might explain why it’s so intent on pursuing legal action against Typo, the Ryan Seacrest-funded startup that’s making a BlackBerry-inspired keyboard attachment for the iPhone. BlackBerry announced last week that it’s suing the company for imitating BlackBerry’s keyboards a bit too closely.

“[Typo's attachment] is a blatant infringement against BlackBerry’s iconic keyboard, and we will vigorously protect our intellectual property against any company that attempts to copy our unique design,” said Steve Zipperstein, BlackBerry’s general counsel, in a statement last week.

The BlackBerry brand is nothing without its keyboards. And Blackberry knows it.

More about the companies and people from this article:

Research In Motion, Ltd., is a provider of wireless solutions for the mobile communications market. The company is the designer and manufacturer of the BlackBerry smartphone brand, and also creates touchscreen and mobile keyboard techn... read more »

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