RIM has announced that the first Blackberry 10 device will not sport the traditional physical keyboard and will be a touchscreen-only phone.
The new operating system's release has been hit by a series of delays but with its arrival finally emerging on the horizon, it appears RIM will be expanding their focus on touchscreen devices for the new range.
‘If you can't beat them, join them,' seems to be the sentiment at RIM, as the company has seen its smartphone market share decline drastically due to the success of iOS and Android touchscreen devices.
Physical keyboards won't be abandoned altogether on Blackberry 10, but with touchscreens fronting the platform's long-awaited and decisive comeback, some are baffled by RIM's decision not to play on its traditional selling point and promote the feature that has kept many users on board when others have left for market alternatives.
The corporate environment in particular has maintained a degree of Blackberry loyalty, due to those insisting on a physical keyboard when it comes to the practicality of email sending.
"The physical keyboard is the most dominant item that separates out Research In Motion from its competitors," said Colin Gillis, analyst at BGC Financial. "If you are not playing to your historical strengths you may find it more difficult to get traction."
Gillis believes the beleaguered RIM still has its place in the mobile market, but claims the Canadian firm has "just got to get it together."
Top company officials share the sentiment that RIM can still compete with its increasingly dominant rivals, as Martyn Mallick shrugged off the hype surrounding the Microsoft Surface announcement this week to claim RIM was still "really confident" ahead of the Blackberry 10 release.
The company will nevertheless need the touchscreen devices to attract some positive press before the keyboarded phones return, to distract us all from the continual stories of financial woe - such as yesterday's news that substantial job cuts would be made before the end of the year in a bid to save costs.
Source: Washington Post