BlackBerry to ‘predominantly’ stick with keyboards, CEO says

A BlackBerry device with a keyboard.
(Graeme Roy / Associated Press)

It’s back to basics for BlackBerry, as the Canadian phone maker has said customers should expect most of its future devices to come with keyboards built into the hardware.

John Chen, the company’s new chief executive, told Bloomberg that he is a big fan of the physical keyboard for which BlackBerry is known, and that he believes the keyboard could power the company’s comeback.

“I personally love the keyboards,” Chen reportedly said. “So you will look to Blackberry going forward to do keyboards -- I wouldn’t use the word exclusively, but predominantly.”

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In 2013, BlackBerry sold only a few smartphones that came with a keyboard built into the hardware. The majority of its devices appeared to be iPhone clones designed by BlackBerry that, though aimed at a general consumer audience, were never able to catch on.

Now Chen is refocusing the company by going after enterprise and government clients who value security and the ability to swiftly communicate -- two of BlackBerry’s areas of expertise.

Signaling how serious BlackBerry is about its hardware keyboards, the company earlier this month sued Typo, a Los Angeles startup backed by celebrity Ryan Seacrest that is releasing a smartphone case for the iPhone that comes with a BlackBerry-like keyboard built in.


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