Blackberry smartphones to offer physical keyboards in bid to redirect company's future

Blackberry kicked off 2013 with a bang, and though it had tried valiantly to remake itself, the company was down by summer's end and, ultimately, limped into the new year with a different CEO and more than a few wounds to be licked. With 2014 comes a bit more wisdom and a new perspective, however, and so it isn't surprising to hear from the company's new CEO that most of Blackberry's new phones will have physical keyboards.The information comes from new company CEO John Chen, who spoke to Bloomberg's Jon Erlichman at CES this week. It doesn't seem all future Blackberry handsets will come with a physical keyboard, but that most of them will. Such is perhaps a wise move for the ailing company, allowing it to pander to the niche market it has been best known for all along — as the maker who's phones come with handy keyboards, appealing to the new subset who refuse to embrace touchscreen typing.Last month, Chen decried what he said are competitors' efforts to spread fear and other concerns regarding Blackberry and its future. The company has pushed some smartphone design responsibility into the hand's of Foxconn, with the first smartphone produced under such an adjustment reportedly being a keyboard-less offering running Blackberry 10 — though such information came from unnamed sources, and is liable to change.By shifting design responsibilities to Foxconn, which Blackberry says will speed up product cycles and aid in targeting market demands, the company own's focus will shift more heavily towards its own BBM, enterprise efforts, and other software. Whether veering into the physical-keyboard smartphone market will aid in these efforts is yet to be seen, but it can't hurt.