If there’s one thing that can be said for BlackBerry, it’s that they’re persistent in their efforts to remain relevant in mobile. BlackBerry has had a hard time as of late competing against rival operating systems like Android and iOS, which cater more to a user’s personal and business life rather than putting their main focus on just one, as BlackBerry has. However, BlackBerry’s dedication to business users still counts for something, especially given that BlackBerry’s OS is considered one of the safest and most trusted mobile operating systems on the market.
Aside from offering a suite of business services and software and having a secure operating system, BlackBerry has one other thing that might entice smartphone users to reconsider: physical keyboards.
BlackBerry’s commitment to the physical keyboard is interesting given that virtual keyboards have, for the most part, proven to be more popular. At the same time, without BlackBerry’s continuation of creating new (and recreating old) BlackBerry phones with physical keyboard, one would be hard-pressed to find a consistent alternative. The positive reviews surrounding the BlackBerry Passport just goes to show that a smartphone with a physical keyboard won’t hold necessarily hold it back.
But what about when you factor in that the physical keyboard is a slide-out keyboard, and the screen to also feature a curved display? That’s what we can expect to see from one of BlackBerry’s four new smartphones in 2015, and boy does it have a lot going on.
I’ll start off here by saying that I was completely wrong in my prediction with the BlackBerry Passport, which I had little faith in specifically because of its bizarre design. In a way I was trying to have my cake and eat it too, because I also recently cited the lack of unique smartphone designs as a reason to be bored with smartphones at this point in time. Since we can’t have both, I think it’s time to embrace these “bizarre” designs. In the very least, I did find the design of this particular unnamed, mysterious BlackBerry device to be interesting.
Curved displays are a recent design feature in Samsung smartphones, and it seems that BlackBerry has decided to give the design a shot as well, perhaps as an effort to establish curved displays as a new standard in the industry. Since BlackBerry is the third company to showcase screen curvature (behind Samsung and LG), this very well might become the new “normal”.
Aside from the curved display, BlackBerry has also decided to implement a physical sliding keyboard, which emerges from the bottom of the phone length-wise, similar to the way the old BlackBerry Torch smartphones worked when it was released back in 2010.
While I can’t say whether this “slider” phone from BlackBerry will end up being a success or not, I will say that the placing of the slide-out keyboard has me wondering whether the phone would even be comfortable to use or not.
My first thought after seeing the preview of the device went straight to the fact that the phone looks to be about the same size as any slab-style smartphone you’d see on the market today. The screen-to-keyboard ratio makes the phone very tall, and when you presumably have both hands focusing on typing on the physical keyboard near the bottom, there looks to be a lot of stretching and maneuvering involved if you needed to access the phone's screen while typing. The Torch’s screen and slide-out keyboard were much closer in size and proximity, which is why it worked out so well.
That’s really my only potential hang-up with the phone for now, but it really is hard to tell just from looking at it. The addition of the dual-curved display on the phone will hopefully give BlackBerry a head-start on what could be the next “big thing” for smartphones, so that could also be a big plus for them as well.
This device is definitely one to keep an eye out on as it has a lot going on in terms of design. All that’s missing is knowing what the specs feature, which I would expect to feature some powerful ones as I don’t think people would take this particular device seriously without them.
Readers, what are your thoughts on this phone? Is a slider phone with a curved display something you could see yourself using? Let us know in the comments below!