Digital Life

License article

RIM chief: physical BlackBerry keyboards not going away

Research in Motion CEO Thorsten Heins moved to reassure the BlackBerry faithful that it was not killing off the physical keyboard, as had been reported widely by some after a touch screen prototype device with a virtual on-screen keyboard was shown off by the company.

In a rare question and answer session with media at the company’s BlackBerry World conference in Orlando, Florida on Wednesday in the US, the chief executive officer said the BlackBerry maker had never stated it would kill off the physical keyboard. 

"We know what our strengths are," Heins said. "We won't lose our focus on the physical keypad. It would just be wrong, just plain wrong for us to do this."

Speculation the company would be abandoning the physical keyboard in favour of an on-screen virtual keyboard first came about when it unveiled a prototype smartphone with no physical keyboard on Tuesday in the US.

The prototype device was given to developers at the Blackberry World conference so that they could make their apps compatible with RIM's upcoming BlackBerry 10 operating system, which is due to be launched later this year on a new set of smartphones.

Ben Grubb travelled to BlackBerry World in Orlando, Florida as a guest of RIM