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BlackBerry CEO Says QWERTY Keyboard Smartphones Will Live On

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The change in focus came after dropping the signature QWERTY keyboard in order to update Blackberry's software to the mobile trends of other manufacturers, as well as of the continuously increasing requirements of the public.

Immediately after announcing that the company focus will shift towards the software, numerous devoted QWERTY users were disappointed in this new course of action, as they were hoping to see the company's patented keyboard on the newer phone models.

Once the outsourcing has started and BlackBerry directed its efforts towards other goals, it seemed that the old models will be long forgotten. However, to the delight of old customers, the company CEO confirmed during an interview that the QWERTY keyboard, so much appreciated worldwide, will not disappear along with the software evolution.

The news created a hype among the BlackBerry users, and for good reasons. A recent BlackBerry press release stated that the paradigm shift is so powerful, that the company will no longer manufacture phones, but outsource them from an Indonesia-based company.

"Our new Mobility Solutions strategy is showing signs of momentum, including our first major device software licensing agreement with a telecom joint venture in Indonesia," said John Chen, the CEO of BlackBerry. This statement makes it clear that the 'telecom joint venture in Indonesia' is, actually, TCL, the Alcatel mobile manufacturer.

"Under this strategy, we are focusing on software development, including security and applications. The company plans to end all internal hardware development and will outsource that function to partners. This allows us to reduce capital requirements and enhance return on invested capital," added Chen.

However, a recent BNN video interview featuring Chen confirmed that BlackBerry plans to release yet another smartphone with the revolutionary BlackBerry keyboard sometime in the near future. Although it's uncertain whether it will happen in a matter of months or just during the following couple of years, the company trademark will live on.

The latest phone from BlackBerry is called DTEK60 and looks the very same as an Alcatel IDOL 4S, one of the phones produced by TCL. It's unknown whether the QWERTY phone will be manufactured by BlackBerry or be outsourced.

The fact remains that there aren't really any other mainstream smartphones with a physical QWERTY keyboard, other than BlackBerry Priv. This is a strange course of mobile evolution, given that the QWERTY principle is still heavily used on all our gadgets and devices, but the manufacturers have decided to turn to touchscreen instead of continuing with this typo-proof keyboard. Since many of the hardcore QWERTY users were pretty reluctant to make the change to a fully touchscreen phone, BlackBerry has a good chance of striking great success by combining physical keyboard and a top notch software.

Photo: Kārlis Dambrāns | Flickr

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