BlackBerry 10 device to ditch keyboard
BlackBerry smartphone maker RIM has revealed that its first BlackBerry 10 device will ditch the famous keyboard for the simple touchscreen approach. BlackBerry devices have declined in popularity in recent years, thanks largely to the emergence of Apple iOS and Google Android touchscreen smartphones, and it looks like RIM wants to join them.
However, we’ve not seen the last of the BlackBerry keyboard. RIM confirmed that its BlackBerry 10 operating system will appear on future BlackBerry 10 devices in future, with physical keyboards – those that use BlackBerry devices for email might be pleased to know.
But it’s RIM’s plan to challenge the likes of Apple, Samsung, HTC, and Nokia in the touchscreen market that will divide BlackBerry fans. BlackBerry devices have been favoured by corporate users keen to make the most of a physical keyboard to tap out long emails and messages, and the many of us that still love to use BlackBerry Messenger – an excellent messaging service – but even RIM cannot ignore the increasing popularity of touchscreen smartphones.
The feeling appears to be that, in order to stay relevant in a world where the Apple’s iOS and Android touchscreen phones rule, BlackBerry devices need to stay relevant. A touchscreen phone capable of competing with either may go some way to doing that.
Not everyone agrees with RIM’s strategy of going touchscreen for its first BlackBerry 10 device. BGC analyst Colin Gillis was one of the first to voice their concern, saying RIM should play to its strengths.
“The physical keyboard is the most dominant item that separates out Research In Motion from its competitors,” he said. “If you are not playing to your historical strengths you may find it more difficult to get traction.”
It remains to be seen how popular the first BlackBerry 10 devices will be, but for RIM, there’s a lot riding on them in a market that will only become more difficult to compete in, what with rumours of Microsoft also entering the fray with its own brand of Microsoft smartphones, following the launch of its Microsoft Surface tablet.
Has RIM left it too late to compete with the likes of the Apple iPhone and Samsung Galaxy S3? Would you buy a touchscreen BlackBerry 10 device? Drop us a comment below.