BlackBerry CEO loves keyboards, says upcoming phones will 'predominantly' include physical QWERTYs

Alex Wagner
Editorial Director of News and Content from  Omaha, NE
| January 8, 2014

BlackBerry Q10

There hasn't been much BlackBerry news coming out of CES 2014 so far, but new CEO John Chen changed that recently by teasing some of the company's plans for its upcoming hardware.

In an interview with Bloomberg Businessweek, BlackBerry CEO John Chen revealed that his company's future product lineup will "predominantly" include hardware with physical keyboards. "I personally love the keyboards," Chen said. Unfortunately, the exec didn't drop any other details on BlackBerry's upcoming QWERTY-clad products, but he did say that BlackBerry's upcoming Foxconn-built phone will be a touchscreen device.

Speaking of the BlackBerry-Foxconn collabo-phone, Chen touched on the device a bit more during a media roundtable interview earlier this week. The exec said that the handset, which is codenamed Jakarta, will come to market with a price tag that's under $200.

So there's some information on BlackBerry's product roadmap going forward. The company has previously said that the Foxconn-made Jakarta will launch in March or April and will target emerging markets like Indonesia. It's also expected to be a 3G-only device, which will help keep its price tag under that $200 mark.

Meanwhile, QWERTY fans ought to be happy to hear that BlackBerry is planning to focus heavily on keyboard-equipped smartphones going forward. One of the main draws of BlackBerry products has long been their physical keyboards, and so while it remains to be seen whether or not a keyboard-heavy product portfolio will help turn things around at BlackBerry, it could at least help to keep its remaining fanbase happy for a while.

What do you think of BlackBerry CEO John Chen's comments? Is it smart for the company to focus on cranking out smartphones with physical keyboards?

Via Bloomberg Businessweek, CNET