Back in their heyday, BlackBerry was famous among its target audience for things like enhanced enterprise functions, tight security, and hardware that practically defined reliable. Among both common folk and business people, however, BlackBerry’s keyboard was famous. It stood head and shoulders above other mobile options out there, and most users had no problem editing documents and banging out long emails through the duration of a mobile workday.
When Blackberry announced the PRIV – their first Android Smartphone, the first Android smartphone with a physical keyboard, and the last smartphone Blackberry made on its own – the physical keyboard was a big disappointment after the initial honeymoon phase.
It was generally thought of as falling far short of the quality of the iconic keyboards found on older BlackBerry devices. Many would have given BlackBerry a chance to right this wrong, but they made their exit from hardware. The short story is that the Canadian ex-phone maker now outsources phones from other manufacturers, namely, TCL (Alcatel). The company is now looking back to its bread and butter — however outdated — as inspiration. CEO John Chen told Bloomberg News that the company’s next phones will mostly feature hardware keyboards.
Details from Chen on just what kind of device consumers could expect weren’t even sparse, they were nonexistent. The only thing anybody knows for certain at this point is that the device in question will sport the iconic BlackBerry keyboard.
“I personally love the keyboards,” Chen said, “so you will look to Blackberry going forward to do keyboards — I wouldn’t use the word exclusively, but predominantly.”
The statement echoes that of Alex Thurber, the company’s senior vice-president of global device sales, who told the BBC on October 6th that “there will still be a keyboard-based BlackBerry device, designed and distributed within the next six months.”
Since then, several leaks have emerged surrounding the device, purportedly code-named Mercury. Speculation runs rampant, but what looks to be a trip through Geekbench that the device took has been one of the most compelling pieces of evidence thus far, pointing to some manner of octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon processor paired up with 3GB of RAM. Rumors also point to a fingerprint scanner in the space bar.
Would you like Blackberry to distinct themselves from the market with their hardware keyboard and improve upon innovative ways to use it?