The physical keyboard is one of the features that BlackBerry devices are known for. However, during today's BlackBerry World keynote, RIM CEO Thorsten Heins made no mention of hardware keyboards during his discussion of BlackBerry 10, opting instead to focus on BB10's software 'board and its method of inserting suggested words into a message. Good news for those of you that live and die by the QWERTY, though, as a RIM spokesperson has confirmed to Phone Scoop that the company has no plans to stop creating devices with physical keyboards. The rep explained that RIM intends to continue offering its customers a choice of devices with physical or virtual keyboards and that, while the first BlackBerry 10 device may only have a software keyboard, other BB10 products will have both physical and software QWERTYs.
In other RIM-related hardware news, the company revealed today that it's got another limited edition device planned for later this year. Attendees of this week's BlackBerry 10 Jam event will receive the BlackBerry 10 Dev Alpha that Sydney spent some time with earlier today, and RIM says that developers that submit a BB10 app will have the opportunity to trade in their Dev Alpha device for a limited edition final BlackBerry 10 smartphone when the platform launches. The Dev Alpha is unlikely to receive the final version of BB10, instead receiving smaller updates with BB10 features running up to the official debut of the new OS, so this trade is a way for developers to get their hands on an actual piece of BB10 hardware.
While there wasn't really any indication during today's keynote that RIM would be moving away from physical keyboards, it's still good to hear that RIM will be sticking with them in BlackBerry 10, especially with the recent news that HTC will be moving away from hardware QWERTYs. Of course, when we'll actually see the first keyboarded BlackBerry 10 device is still a mystery, as RIM has only said that the first BB10 device will land "in the latter part of 2012." How many of you still prefer typing away on a physical keyboard?