Feeds

BlackBerry CEO: I LOVE keyboards, so if you want them, you'll get them

Future handhelds to feature real buttons 'predominantly'

High performance access to file storage

CES 2014 According to BlackBerry interim CEO John Chen*, the hardscrabble smartphone maker's next wave of products will return to tried-and-true form factors, complete with the company's hallmark hardware keyboards.

BlackBerry launched its all-touchscreen Z10 handset to much fanfare under previous CEO Thorsten Heins last January. But that device became a notorious bomb, with consumers seeing little to lure them away from similarly keyboardless Android offerings.

Now Chen says that although there are still a few touchscreen products in BlackBerry's pipeline, the Canadian firm's future offerings will mostly come equipped with physical keyboards.

In an interview with Bloomberg TV at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas this week, Chen said that the QWERTY keyboard "is extremely important to BlackBerry."

"I personally love the keyboards," Chen said, "so you will look to BlackBerry going forward doing keyboards, I wouldn't use the word 'exclusively,' but predominantly."

BlackBerry has become so enamored of keyboard-equipped devices, in fact, that it has lately taken to suing companies whose products resemble the traditional BlackBerry stylings. Last Friday it fired off a lawsuit against Typo Keyboards, a company that markets a BlackBerry-like add-on input device for iPhones, claiming it was a "blatant infringement" of its designs.

When asked about the suit, Chen declined to comment about it specifically, but hinted that we might see more such legal wrangling from the Canadians in future.

"BlackBerry has 44,000 patents," Chen said. "I think it's important that we gain some business benefits through our ownership of those patents and our ownership of [intellectual property]."

BlackBerry has yet to announce when its next smartphones will appear, but during a roundtable discussion at CES on Tuesday, Chen said at least two are in the works, both to be built by the company's new manufacturing partner, the Apple-beloved Taiwanese firm Foxconn.

One will be a high-end device with a keyboard, Chen said. But before that one arrives, BlackBerry plans to ship a more modest device designed for emerging markets, with a price tag of around $200 – and this model will disappoint hardcore thumb-typists.

"I think there were enough leaks in the market that the first one is a touchscreen, so I'm not going to deny it," Chen said. ®

Blacknote

* Although BlackBerry describes Chen as "interim" CEO as of November last year, he told CES 2014 this week that he has dropped the qualifier, stopped the search for a new chief exec, and vowed will stay on to see out the mobe maker's recovery over the next 18 months. Which kinda sounds interim to us, but what do we know?

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Report: Apple seeking to raise iPhone 6 price by a HUNDRED BUCKS
'Well, that 5c experiment didn't go so well – let's try the other direction'
Microsoft lobs pre-release Windows Phone 8.1 at devs who dare
App makers can load it before anyone else, but if they do they're stuck with it
Zucker punched: Google gobbles Facebook-wooed Titan Aerospace
Up, up and away in my beautiful balloon flying broadband-bot
Nvidia gamers hit trifecta with driver, optimizer, and mobile upgrades
Li'l Shield moves up to Android 4.4.2 KitKat, GameStream comes to notebooks
AMD unveils Godzilla's graphics card – 'the world's fastest, period'
The Radeon R9 295X2: Water-cooled, 5,632 stream processors, 11.5TFLOPS
FOUR DAYS: That's how long it took to crack Galaxy S5 fingerscanner
Sammy's newbie cooked slower than iPhone, also costs more to build
Sony battery recall as VAIO goes out with a bang, not a whimper
The perils of having Panasonic as a partner
NORKS' own smartmobe pegged as Chinese landfill Android
Fake kit in the hermit kingdom? That's just Kim Jong-un-believable!
Gimme a high S5: Samsung Galaxy S5 puts substance over style
Biometrics and kid-friendly mode in back-to-basics blockbuster
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
HP ArcSight ESM solution helps Finansbank
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.