BlackBerry: Keyboards Aint Dead...But Touch IS Gr8
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“It would be wrong, just plain wrong”: that’s according to BlackBerry’s new chief who reassured the company’s faithfuls its qwerty keyboard isn’t about to be ditched.

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Image: CrackBerry
BB CEO Thorsten Heins took to the World stage to reassure CrackBerrys its novel Qwerty keyboard loved by texters isn’t going away.

“We know what our strengths are,” Heins declared at BB World Conference this week, reports AP.

“We won’t lose our focus on the physical keypad. It would just be wrong, just plain wrong for us to do this.”

This assurance came as the struggling Canadian smartphone maker gave BB World attendees its first glimpse of the new prototype 4.2″ make or break smartphone, which by the way, looked suspiciously similar to a black iPhone.

READ: RIM Tries To Wake Up Developers To Support New Blackberry

And quell horreur, it lacked the qwerty keypad loved by many, instead sporting a touch keypad – a trend which iPhone began in 2007, followed by Samsung, HTC and every other smartphone worth its bacon.

BB, owned by Research In Motion, is one of the only makers who kept the physical keyboard and reports suggested it would ditch the feature altogether were widespread.

However, during a demo yesterday BB bosses assured the new touch pad would fit “like a glove”, matching users individual movements and would still enable fast and accurate typing.

There are also other new features on the new BB 10 OS, also debuted at World, including new user interface flow, which is really “clever and intuitive” says BlackBerry software boss, Thorsten had Vivek Bhardwaj, and lets users glance into new notifications and decide whether you want to action it immediately or go back to what you are doing.

The new BlackBerry protoype with 1280×768 resolution display (higher than iPhone 4S 960×640) comes with16GB of storage and has three buttons on the side as opposed to underneath the screen.

The new BB also has dual cameras (the back cam has a flash), a proximity sensor and speaker across the bottom, a change from previous models.

Chief Heins with new BB device. Image: Reuters
And the new slew of Blackberrys will run on the new ’10’ platform and will offer both physical keypads and touchpads, a Research In Motion spokeswoman confirmed.

However, there is no specific timeframe for the release of the new devices, but it is expected later this year.

The former darling of the smartphone industry is also trying to lure developers to the BlackBerry 10 platform.

RIM said it has been has been working “diligently” with app providers to help ensure BlackBerry users will have access to high-quality content and apps when BB 10 devices are launched, said Martyn, Vice President, Business Development, Research In Motion.

However, BlackBerry clearly has its work cut out and has lost out to glossy rivals like Apple’s iPhone, Samsung and HTC, who have all gone ahead of it in the smartphone race. Android and Apple combined now command more than 50% of the smartphone market in the US

Recent stats from comScore analysts showed just over 12% of all phones were ran off BlackBerry platform and didnt even make it into the top 5 phone brands in the US, one of its main markets, losing out to Samsung, Apple and LG. 
But Mallick insists interest is high among developers who already have their work cut out with high demand iPhone and Android platforms.

“We are hearing every day from partners who want to start building and showcasing their work on BlackBerry 10.”

The toolkit includes the BlackBerry 10 Native SDK with Cascades, which allows developers to create graphically rich native apps in C/C++ or the Qt Modeling Language (QML) and includes support for HTML5 app developers.

“BlackBerry’s influence remains a worldwide phenomenon, which matches Endomondo’s reach,” said Endomondo Co-Founder Mette Lykke, wh create sports activity software.