Feeds

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

Future handhelds to feature real buttons 'predominantly'

Intelligent flash storage arrays

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?

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
PEAK APPLE: iOS 8 is least popular Cupertino mobile OS in all of HUMAN HISTORY
'Nerd release' finally staggers past 50 per cent adoption
Tim Cook: The classic iPod HAD to DIE, and this is WHY
Apple, er, couldn’t get the parts for HDD models
Apple spent just ONE DOLLAR beefing up the latest iPad Air 2
New iPads look a lot like the old one. There's a reason for that
Google Glassholes are UNDATEABLE – HP exec
You need an emotional connection, says touchy-feely MD... We can do that
Caterham Seven 160 review: The Raspberry Pi of motoring
Back to driving's basics with a joyously legal high
Back to the ... drawing board: 'Hoverboard' will disappoint Marty McFly wannabes
Buzzing board (and some future apps) leave a lot to be desired
prev story

Whitepapers

Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
New hybrid storage solutions
Tackling data challenges through emerging hybrid storage solutions that enable optimum database performance whilst managing costs and increasingly large data stores.
Getting ahead of the compliance curve
Learn about new services that make it easy to discover and manage certificates across the enterprise and how to get ahead of the compliance curve.