BlackBerry moving away from Qwerty?

Rim looks to tie up its tablet and next-gen smartphones tightly, meaning more touchscreens?
Darren Allan

November 10, 2011
Rim Logo

It seems that Rim is intent on a shift in strategy when it comes to its next-generation BBX smartphones.

The BBX range is due to emerge next year, and the idea is it combines the best of the current BlackBerry OS and QNX – which runs on the PlayBook tablet – hence the BBX moniker.

And apparently Rim will be moving towards full touchscreen models of smartphone more than the traditional BlackBerry form factor which incorporates the Qwerty keyboard.

Thus far Rim has produced one touchscreen only phone, and the first BBX handset will certainly be touchscreen only, but more – perhaps many more – may follow.

Alec Saunders, Rim’s Vice President of Developer Relations, has been talking to, and he told them that those initial BBX handsets will keep the same resolution and aspect ratio as the PlayBook.

Rim’s tablet has a 16:9 form factor and a 1024×600 resolution display, not the typical resolution for a mobile.

Saunders told “Look, if you build [an app] for the PlayBook, then it will run on BBX. We have maintained aspect ratios, BBX also has the ability to upload multiple dimension graphics … [and the standard resolutions] are the same as PlayBook.”

So they will be built in the same mould, and it’s likely we’ll be seeing more full touchscreen phones from Rim next year. That doesn’t mean that the company will do away with the half screen, half keyboard form factor completely, of course.

That’s seems highly unlikely given that it’s Rim’s hallmark, and the keyboard is one of the big attractions for many of their loyal punters.

Saunders also clarified that the rumour of a lack of future support for the BES enterprise email client – for those who might fear Rim is headed more to the consumer hills – was definitely untrue.

“I think you’re seeing an evolution of a platform … you should not expect [BBX] to be behind the PlayBook,” he said.


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