RIM confirmed today that its very first BlackBerry 10 device will not be featuring a physical keyboard, which has been iconic of the brand. Instead, it will go the route of touchscreen only, featuring a soft-keyboard like the one previewed on the developer version back at BlackBerry World. However, RIM does note that Blackberry 10 devices with physical keyboards will be available in the future.
It's not all too surprising that RIM would forgo its physical keyboard, since its efforts are aimed at meeting the demands of today's corporate users who are increasingly switching over to the iPhone. However, many long-time BlackBerry users have stuck with the device for its physical keyboard, which is seen as being easier to type on than a touchscreen. Without it, many may consider simply switching to the new iPhone expected later this fall.
But to RIM's credit, the company has developed a new software keyboard that includes a predictive feature to correct typing errors. It also floats the suggestions right above each key so that they can be selected with a simple swipe rather than having to go to a list at the top of the keyboard. Getting to numbers and punctuation also involves swiping, making it easier to type. The new BlackBerry 10 device, however, isn't expected to arrive until the end of this year, after being already a year late.
[via Washington Post]