“BlackBerry has always been crazy about keyboards,” said Thorsten Heins, CEO of RIM, at today’s BlackBerry Jam developers’ conference. And of course, we already knew that. The Canadian phone maker has been more shy than almost all of its competitors when moving away from physical QWERTY keyboards, with only a handful of all-touch smartphones.
But BlackBerry 10 is on the way (it has been for a while), and the future of the company hinges on its success. There’s a fine line to tread here: RIM must please its loyal user base that has grown accustomed to the physical QWERTY (yet still improving it), while also luring in new users with hot all-touch devices that can compete with Motorola, Samsung, and Apple’s devices. A lot of that comes down to the keyboard.
And RIM admits that. Thorsten Heins outlined five main points of focus for RIM in BlackBerry 10: productivity, reliability, security, multi-tasking, and (yep, you guessed it) the keyboard.
Of course, services, the app ecosystem, and even general specs are all factors in the future of RIM, but as the boss himself said, BlackBerry has always been crazy about keyboards, and that has been clear ever since we got a sneak peek of that dev sled touch keyboard, with predictive text. Heins today announced that both physical and capacitive keyboards will be included in BB10 devices.
We’ll see what the Waterloo-based company has to offer very soon, as Heins has just confirmed that BlackBerry 10 is “on time” (whatever that means).