Tech Time: BlackBerry Drops Keyboard

At the recent RIM BlackBerry World conference in Orland, BlackBerry did the unthinkable … it dropped its iconic keyboard.

The latest BlackBerry handset, running OS 10, departs drastically from the small display, physical keyboard and lacking OS for which BlackBerry has now become known in favour of a touch screen HD LCD display.  The handset won’t be available anytime soon, but the long awaited OS is expected in October of this year.

Yes, BlackBerry did introduce new Bold, Touch and Curve handsets earlier this year boasting OS 7, but they fizzled leaving RIM behind Apple, Samsung and Nokia as the premiere smart phone handset maker.

What’s worse, 77 million BlackBerry loyalists will have to upgrade their handsets to access any of OS 10 features.  This may encourage some users to switch the iOS, Android or Windows platforms.  And, did you notice, Rim jumped from BB OS 7 to BB OS 10?

The new BB handset was made available only to developers, with no official announcement of the specs, but it is safe to say that the phone will have mini SD, HDMI and USB ports to compliment other, now standard smartphone features.  The overall look appears to be very similar to the failed Playbook tablet from RIM.

Speaking of failures, RIM’s strength, security, has also been its Achilles heal.  Debilitating and frequent outages over the past year as a result of RIM’s highly secure and equally highly centralized system, left many customers migrating.  In an attempt to woo them back, BlackBerry launched it’s “Wake Up.  Be Bold” campaign, complete with a flash mob type protest in Australia.  On the related website, BlackBerry digs at Apple encouraging customers to not only “think different, but do different”.

Dropping the iconic keyboard is an excellent example of BlackBerry “doing different”.  Let’s see if we are willing to be different too.

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