BlackBerry keen to stick with physical keyboard for future phones, new CEO says

BlackBerry Q10 review bottom keyboard

New BlackBerry CEO John Chen has said on several occasions that he intends to take the struggling mobile company back to its roots, focusing less on the consumer market and more on enterprise and security.

According to a recent interview with Bloomberg, he also wants to equip any new devices with its iconic physical keyboard, saying that future phones from the company would “not exclusively but predominantly” feature its button-based keys, adding that, on a personal level, he prefers it to the on-screen offering found with the Z10 and most other competing smartphones.

While such a statement is unlikely to have former BlackBerry device owners tossing their new handset aside anytime soon – the keyboard is, after all, already available with its newer high-end Q10 phone – the statement from Chen underlines his desire to turn back the clock and exploit the parts of the business in which BlackBerry traditionally performed most strongly.

The value the Waterloo, Ontario company places on its famous physical keyboard was highlighted just last week when news broke that it was suing a Ryan Seacrest-funded company for alleged patent infringement with its Typo keyboard case. The iPhone accessory offers users of Apple’s handset a BlackBerry-like keyboard experience, though a recent hands-on DT review revealed that the device is not without its flaws.

BlackBerry’s chief legal officer, Steve Zipperstein, called the Typo keyboard case a “blatant infringement against BlackBerry’s iconic keyboard,” and said his company plans to “vigorously protect” its intellectual property against anyone who wishes to copy its “unique design.”

Zipperstein added that although BlackBerry was “flattered by the desire to graft our keyboard onto other smartphones,” it would “not tolerate such activity without fair compensation for using our intellectual property and our technological innovations.”

In response, Typo said BlackBerry’s claims “lack merit” and said it would “defend the case vigorously.”

[Bloomberg via The Verge]

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