BlackBerry might be outsourcing hardware for its future handsets, but one part of the BlackBerry design will live on. CEO John Chen will “selectively” license out its iconic QWERTY keyboard to smartphone manufacturers. BlackBerry is known for its outstanding physical keyboard with the fretted QWERTY on the BlackBerry Bold 9000 probably considered the best of all time.
Speaking of the best, Chen says that his three favorite BlackBerry models of all time are the BlackBerry Bold 9900, the BlackBerry Curve series and the BlackBerry Passport. The Bold 9900 is similar to the Bold 9000, but includes a touch screen. The Passport sports a unique hybrid keyboard that is a combination of touch and physical. Additionally, BlackBerry’s CEO admitted that he has never used a BlackBerry PlayBook tablet; he isn’t the only one.
For those who have always had a thing for the BlackBerry physical QWERTY keyboard, Chen’s announcement is good news. Since the company will be providing the QWERTY only for other manufacturers, it would seem to be all upside and very limited downside for the company from Waterloo.