BlackBerry’s current CEO, John Chen, has told Bloomberg it intends to, “predominantly” use physical keyboards on all its future phone releases. The quote comes after he was interviewed at CES 2014, where he also said he loved using a hardware keyboard on a phone.
While BlackBerry has never entirely given up on smartphones equipped with a keyboard, it did deviate slightly when BlackBerry 10 was released, and introduced hardware such as the Z10 and the Z30. Neither was a roaring success though, and older handsets with BlackBerry OS 7 outsold them, almost all of which have keyboards.
The decision could help BlackBerry differentiate itself from the competition, as few other manufacturers make this type of phone, but as younger buyers don’t really want them it’s a considerable risk. Instead, BlackBerry will be targeting corporate accounts and government contracts, where the brand has traditionally done well.
BlackBerry has recently signed a five-year contract with Foxconn to make its future smartphones, a move which Chen says will, “eliminate inventory risk,” and help the firm make an impact in growing markets. The company has also brought in former HTC and Sony Ericsson executive Ron Louks to head its devices division.
BlackBerry may have had a poor 2013, but it’s certainly pushing for a more successful 2014, and has seemingly now dismissed the option of selling up. We’re expecting to see the first Foxconn-produced BlackBerry phone before the end of the year.