An excellent keyboard was Blackberry's original claim to fame. But after a couple years focusing on software keyboards with devices like the Z10 and Z30, the company is now looking back to its bread and butter — however outdated — as inspiration. CEO John Chen told Bloomberg News that the company's next phones will mostly feature hardware keyboards. "I personally love the keyboards," Chen said, "so you will look to Blackberry going forward to do keyboards — I wouldn't use the word exclusively, but predominantly." Chen plans to retarget corporate and government customers with the company's next devices, a demographic which he says still values a speedier and more tactile typing experience.
Chen isn't the only one who thinks keyboards are making a comeback. As Blackberry renews emphasis on its hardware expertise and enterprise customers, the company is also suing Ryan Seacrest's mobile keyboard startup Typo, which aims to replicate the Blackberry typing experience on an iPhone by offering a keyboard-case hybrid accessory.
To many, the end of the physical smartphone keyboard is nigh — just don't tell that to John Chen.