RIM: Physical keyboards for some Blackberry 10 phones

On Tuesday, Research in Motion showed off a prototype smartphone at its Blackberry World event running its upcoming Blackberry 10 operating system. The device had a 4.2 inch touch screen with no physical keyboard. However, it did have a very interesting new touch screen keyboard that offers suggested words to the user above each letter they type.

But the big question many who attended the event was whether or not RIM had completely abandoned its well known physical keyboard for its future smartphones. Now News.com reports that CEO Thorsten Heins told a group of journalists today that the physical keyboard isn't going away.

Heins said, "We never stated that we wouldn't build BlackBerry 10 devices with physical keyboards. We know what our strengths are. And it would be plain wrong to get rid of the physical keyboard."

However, a Blackberry 10 smartphone with such a keypad may not be the first one that's released by RIM. The story said that Heins stopped short of confirming it would be ready for Blackberry 10's launch later in 2012, saying only that some kind of physical keyboard will be part of the company's portfolio of Blackberry 10-based devices.

Heins also repeated that the prototype Blackberry 10 smartphone first revealed on Tuesday, and shown above, is not the final hardware unit. He also said he was confident that Blackberry will regain its lost market share for smartphones in the US, which it has lost thanks to the iPhone and Android devices. He stated, "We are here to win, and we're not here just to be in the game."

Image via RIM

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However, it did have a very interesting new touch screen keyboard that offers suggested words to the user above each letter they type.
The only "new" part here is with the touch screen keyboard. The word suggestions as you type each letter goes back many years with BlackBerry. It's definitely one feature I missed a great deal when I switched from my BB Storm to my current iPhone 4. The BB word suggestions are accurate and start guessing the minute you start typing. It also learns words you use frequently. I could type an entire e-mail on my BB in half the time it takes me to do it on my iPhone.

iPhone will guess words too but usually it waits until you're 3/4 of the way through the word being typed unless, ironically, you misspell the word. For instance, I can type "disguise" and it never prompts to auto-complete the word but if it type "dsgui" then it prompts me with the correction "disguise" and I only have to hit space to complete the word and move on. I've found that its actually easier and faster to type on the iPhone by purposely misspelling words as it'll attempt to guess the word and auto-complete it much earlier then if you type it correctly. I wish Apple would take a page from RIM on this particular feature.

MASTER260 said,
Whatever happened to the phones that had both touchscreens AND keyboards? Does no one want to make those anymore?...

I think most people dont see the benefits for the amount of money it takes to add a slider keyboard..

this might sound old fashioned, but the only reason i'd get a new bb is for the physical keyboard, if they disband this then i might aswell just get an android phone. QNX is hopeful but I use a QWERTY bb as my main phone due to the ease of writing on it without having to look at the buttons on the screen. if they don't implement this i wouldnt bother grading. So i'll wait for the future line with the physical keyboard and skip this model

dj' said,
this might sound old fashioned, but the only reason i'd get a new bb is for the physical keyboard, if they disband this then i might aswell just get an android phone. QNX is hopeful but I use a QWERTY bb as my main phone due to the ease of writing on it without having to look at the buttons on the screen. if they don't implement this i wouldnt bother grading. So i'll wait for the future line with the physical keyboard and skip this model

Agree to a certain extent. The keyboard is a huge draw-in for me as well. The android keyboard messes up too often for me and overall I found that the BB keyboard was simply much easier to use...