RIM won’t abandon keypads

After offering a sneak peak of the BlackBerry 10  at the annual BlackBerry World gathering in Orlando, Fla., Research In Motion said Wednesday the company is not going to stop offering physical keyboards in future BlackBerry models.

On Tuesday, RIM’s CEO Thorsten Heins unveiled a prototype of the BlackBerry 10, which included a touchscreen keyboard. Speaking to reporters at the conference on Wednesday, Heins said a new BlackBerry line will include both touchscreens and keypads.

Asked if RIM would drop BlackBerry’s physical keyboards, a feature many of the device’s users claim is its biggest advantage over the flashier iPhone and the Android-based smartphones feautring touchscreen keyboards, Heins said the keyboard is not being totally eliminated.

From the Canadian Press (via CBC):

“We won’t lose the focus on physical keypads. It would be wrong — just plain wrong to do this,” Heins said.

The CEO was left scurrying to clear the air on Wednesday after he spent much of Tuesday touting an early version of the new BlackBerry 10 operating system that appeared to rely solely on touchscreen technology.

Judging by the initial reception his showcase seemed to wow the crowd of mostly developers and carriers, but by the time the event was over, RIM’s stock was down a hefty 5.8 per cent Tuesday on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

The company’s stock dropped a further 5.1 per cent on Wednesday, closing down 68 cents to $12.63.

Some reports suggested that Heins’ presentation was a sign RIM would completely ditch the physical keys that helped build its name and are favoured by many of its users.

The confusion obviously wasn’t ideal for the Waterloo-based company which is trying to rebuild its reputation after a series of technical blunders and management changes, which include hunting for a new chief marketing officer to navigate the campaign for its upcoming devices, due late this year.




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