Recently, the Blackberry company CEO, John Chen said in an interview, that they were working on a new smartphone that could bring the iconic Blackberry’s physical keyboard back. Now, it might look like a bad idea on paper, but, that doesn’t necessarily have to be the case, because, physical keyboards has demonstrated (several times) to be faster than a virtual keyboard in the right hands, especially, if you’re really into typing messages, post things on twitter (or any other social network around), emailing, web browsing or even studying.
The good old QWERTY design with a couple of twists.
Blackberry has always set the bar really high in terms of ‘typing experience’, not only because of the amazing quality they build the smartphones with (that includes the keyboard itself, of course), but also, the impressive prediction system they put inside of their devices. It keeps you on track when you misspell a word, it is constantly learning about the way you write, it tracks the words you use frequently suggesting them in the right situations and…a lot more. That of course, makes a really precise typing experience, but also, a very easy and pleasant one.
Same quality, different company.
The company said that this could be the last smartphone they build and assemble in-house whether it is a success or not, so we can’t expect to see more of those bad boys flying around after this one. In any case, BlackBerry‘s latest two phones (DTEK50 and DTEK60), were assembled by TCL so, we could expect the same level of attention to details, and construction quality, and —at the same time— we should not be surprised to see some compromises in the materials used to build them.
Finding the balance, one key at the time.
Blackberry has succeeded before in bringing us devices which combined both: the physical keyboard and an Android native device. This has proven to be a killer combination, for those who wanted the Blackberry’s signature apps and security features, but also wanted all the ‘freedom’ and empowering technologies that Android has to offer to the ‘mainstream’. We could resume all those things in 3 aspects: security, social media and games. I can even remember myself in the old days struggling really badly trying to find a game that could work well in such a ‘powerful’ device, or suffering trying to install ‘that app’ everybody was talking about. Well, that was not the case for another of their previous devices, the Blackberry Priv, which offered really nice specs, and physical keys.
The way to go.
For now, we don’t know if it is going to be a slider device, or maybe a square one, like the Blackberry classic style, but, what we do know is that they have to choose wisely the design of it, because a huge part of the interest this smartphone can produce will lay on its form factor, weight, edges and build quality of the whole phone. Remember it has to be really comfortable to use one-handed, and with both hands, it also has to have to right amount of pressure for every key and button, and of course, it has to be responsive, very responsive, especially with all those amazingly fast virtual keyboard solutions out there.
For now, we have nothing more to do, but hope for the best, who knows? This might be the smartphone that pulls out the Blackberry Company from the dark place it has been for several years now. Physical Keyboard + Rocking Specs + Blackberry’s signature building quality + Android? Sounds good to me.