BlackBerry troubles may mean the end for small keyboards

Sept. 28, 2013 at 11:50 AM
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WATERLOO, Ontario, Sept. 28 (UPI) -- The fortunes of Canadian handset maker BlackBerry may dictate the future for tiny keyboards the company pioneered, some owners and analysts say.

While most users and manufacturers have switched to touch screen keyboarding, BlackBerry, a groundbreaking company in mobile smartphones, is known for the small keyboards with actual buttons. The company said this week it has slid dramatically in market share and lost nearly $1 billion in its fiscal second quarter.

News reports say the company is prepared to lay off 40 percent of its workforce. Other reports say it is a step away from exiting the smartphone business, The New York Times reported Saturday.

"What I call my fat Polish fingers have a hard time with touch-screen keyboards. So I'm going to keep using this thing until I can't anymore," said Gord Rosko, president of Canadian consulting firm GR Communications.

"I am concerned that I'll have to change the way I do my work," said Jonathan Lindsey, a public affairs consultant in Phoenix, who is also devoted to the minuscule keyboard.

Lindsey said he is more efficient with a physical keyboard than he is with a touch screen.

Samsung Electronics has produced phones with physical keyboards. Motorola Mobility, in the past, has too, and may again as it seeks to re-establish itself in the market, the Times said.

The bottom line, said Forrester analyst Charles Golvin: "Get over it."

"Maybe the message isn't just get over it; it's give touch screens a chance," he said.

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