BlackBerry 10 N-Series parts begin to leak, here's a look at the keyboard

BlackBerry 10 N-Series
By Bla1ze on 25 Nov 2012 06:48 pm EST

For those of you out there not really interested in the BlackBerry 10 L-Series devices, there has been somewhat of a dry spell of leaks surrounding the full QWERTY N-Series. Aside from the early marketing video never really meant for public eyes, the N-Series has escaped blurry cams everywhere.

If you caught the video though, you may have noticed RIM has done away with the curved 'frets' that we all know of the Bold series devices past and replaced them with a straight one across the keyboard. Now, a purported image of the keyboard would appear to confirm that change. 

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Source: iiBerry Via: CrackBerry Forums

Reader comments

BlackBerry 10 N-Series parts begin to leak, here's a look at the keyboard


I want to try the N series out at the retailer and feel the typing if its satisfactory im going with the N series despite the smaller screen.

im so torn between the N and L device. the keyboard is just so awesome but the screen size and virtual keyboard are pretty awesome too! What to do, what to do.

I'm considering all-touch because I've gotten crazy good at touch keyboards with the iPhone. I'm currently on the Bold 9900, and the only benefit is a few less typos.

Yes i agree with less typos but also the fact you can type without looking at the screen so you wont look all hunch back like a senior with their walker. Check out touchscreen typers, they tend to walk into traffic too.

Agreed! This weekend my 17 year old daughter typed a BBM response to her friend and sent it all while having a conversation with me and NEVER looked at her BB. After it happened, I was "Did you just do that??" She will be getting the 'N' series for sure when her current BB is up for renewal!

Just tried that, never realized you can type on a physkey BB without looking at it, just like on a computer :)

You will love it. I currently use the 9810's virtual keyboard and I love it. I have not used a physical keyboard since the day I got a Storm.

Oh God, the damn dollar sign is STILL part of the primary set of keys. WHY WHY WHY can't the period be there in place of it! Doesn't anyone know how often the period symbol gets used over all other symbols available on the keyboard?

If the reasoning for putting the "$" symbol there is because of spacing issues, just look at the "?9" key. Both of those share the space of that key comfortably.

I understand that pressing space twice or pressing "ALT M" does an adequate job for a period, but each variation still involves 2 keystrokes. Why not just one for a period. It kinda makes sense when composing a statement.

I'm counting on you RIM to help me graduate from my 9900!

wow, never really noticed that there is one key access to the $ sign and not period..

most people use a period at the end of a sentence though which you can just click the space bar two times to get at the end of a sentence. i

It doesn't make any sense to me either, especially because the software keyboards for both BB10 and BBOS7 have primary period keys.

Adding a period by pressing space space is easier and quicker than pressing 2 different keys ( . and space). Remember, most of the time younpress a space after a period. If you suggested a ?, !, or a , than I could possibly agree with you, but definitely no need for a period sign on the main screen.

Not only that, but they are only helping you to be grammatically correct. You are supposed to space twice after a period (and colon).

I was recently informed that it is no longer correct to double-space after a period.
That double spacing was an old method used when our type-faces were different (using a physical typewriter). Still, I do double space. Habit.

You are correct that the double spacing was used in type-writers due to the an unadjustable letter spacing (kerning) setting. It is however a single space after a period. Reflective change comes with the better kerning of letters. Anyone still doing a double space after period may want to kick that bad habit now!

Hitting the space key twice doesn't give you two spaces, it gives you a period and one space. The first press gives you a space, the second press goes back to add a period.

LOL! I thought I was the only one who had that problem. Good friends of mine who unfortunately had the $ ending in my texts from me joked that my $wag was showing.

Your at it again with this dribble?

Moving your thumb over to what u feel is needed wouldn't be any faster than double spacing or pressing to keys.

If you are having such a hard time with a qwerty physical keyboard, there's always an all touch device from bb. At least RIM are still dedicating resources on physical keyboards.

anastasiophan makes a good point, maybe another synbol because there's already 3 possible ways to lay down a period.

The keyboard hasn't changed too much and most people don't have this huge problem you've got.

I always figured they did that because they figured their corporate customers liked the idea of having the PROFIT key always available...$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

Thing is, to me, without convenience keys, BB key, back key... will not really feel like a BlackBerry...

It's quite clear you haven't used a Dev Alpha or watched the numerous presentation videos on BlackBerry 10 because with the OS being written from the ground up the need for a Back key is seriously not needed. BlackBerry 10 is all about sliding back - so much more smoother. As for the. Convenience key, again the OS looks to be designed to cover a number of the old ways. i.e. Swipe up, slide to applications and launch the camera!

I like the dedicated $ key. I use it quite often as I quote a lot of clients via email on my phone. As for the dedicated period, I rarely need to use it due to the double space feature. Yes, it is 2 keystrokes but so would a dedicated period but then you'd have 2 keystrokes on 2 different keys. You still need to space after a period.

It seems to be very similar to the 9900. On the one hand I'm thinking, well if it aint broke, don't fix it. On the other I feel like it should be totally different. I think the L-series might be the first all touch phone I'd consider.

I wonder why they decided to make the frets straight instead of curved (aside from the fact that it looks like the onscreen keyboard of the L-series).

I usually have faith in the decisions RIM makes regarding devices...except for when they decided to shrink the Bold series from the 9000 to 9700...and when RIM took away the left side convenience key...and when they didn't put the auto-focus camera in the 9900.

I'm hoping that this new keyboard design isn't one of those types of decisions that made customers feel like RIM wasn't listening...

It's because of the trackpad. BlackBerrys before the trackball and trackpad had mostly straight or "frown" shaped keyboards. The "smile" curve was designed to hug the trackpad and take advantage of as much space as possible. Look at a Bold and notice how the keyboard wraps around the trackpad. Now, take the trackpad and buttons navigation buttons away, and it would look weird if it were cured under the straight edge of the screen.

I wish of all things they would've kept was the Trackpad . Especially for the full touchscreen , even for the PlayBook . No other buttons , just the Trackpad button , and that's it . I have the 9850 , and use it because it's there . That is another one of Thee things that separates BlackBerry from everyone else . To leave off such a Signature option of BlackBerry itself . . . Don't know . . .

I own a 9850,I find myself using the trackpad a lot on my device,makes navigation easier... wish they would had kept it myself as you mention for the full touch...

I seriously worry about the dedicated CALL & END buttons!!
THE KILLER APP on BB is EMAIL, yet its next important app arguably is CALLS or BBM!

A straight keyboard is more conducive to one-handed typing.
If you follow the natural arc of your thumb the keyboard would actually curve downward, but that would take up more room than the straight keyboard.
Definitely better than the old smile keyboard though. The upward curve on the old keyboard is nice for two-handed typing, but it's a very unnatural movement for one thumb.

In part, I think RIM wants the feel of typing on the N to be similar to typing on the L series -- same spacing of keys that is. Can't do that if the qwerty keys are curved.

Looks good but it looks like I too will be jumping ship to all touch. The PlayBook touch screen makes me happy and it looks like BB10s wIll make me even happier.

Is it me or does it look like there is some kind of maybe metal line in between rows, could that be a touch sensitive bar for that "up-swipe insert word" thing as in the touch screen? maybe that's why RIM went straight.

I was thinking about that just few days ago, they could put sensors into metal separaator strips between rows and as you type there could be 3/4 word predictions on the bottom of the screen and then you just swype on the keyboard under the word that u want next. Delete could work the same as L series with just swyping left across the keyboard and symbols by swyping down across metal stripes.

It's "swipe" not "Swype" as Swype is product name for the Android keyboard app.

Inserting sensor stripes would see more damage before its usage, but more importantly would increase cost. The words could still populate on the screen as the screen isn't a mile away from the keyboard.

Umm... the exact same lines exist on the 9900 except curved. Also, where would they display the prediction words?

"The" one feature? I guess "the" feature for real physical keyboard fans out there actually is...a very good physical keyboard with nice shaped and sized buttons, good tactile feedback and a convenient to use.
While I think the sensor idea is a nice thing, I somehow would think of it more as a gimmick.

Why doesn't RIM combine software with the hardware physical keyboards? Simplistic and power saving LEDs to change the letters of the keyboard according to language? Not sure if that is possible but its an intriguing idea.

I'm also curious about RIM's projections of which model series will sell better in which regions and markets on a global scale and how that will affect their supply-chain and launch strategy?! Hmmm. I'm willing to bet the Asian-PAC markets are going full-touch more by a 80/20% in favor of all touch.

I want L series so bad but I'm thinking that maybe I should just get N when I comes out and then Aristo when it comes out and swap them as I desire. This will be VERY dificult decision.
I know a guy that works in RIM and he said that keyboard on N series blows 9900 away. Can't wait to try it out. AHHH!

L or N series in nice but I want more about the A series. I want speed and memory. for now my playbook will do with my 9810.

So Siri-Like function will 110% be on BB10!!!!

PROVEN in this leak...the 0 button has a voice function on it...hence clicking that will launch the Siri-function on the device!!


yea I am going to get both phones when they are out :-) L and N can't wait - I am looking forward to the RT QNX OS honestly because I know its suppose to be able to run 64 cores in Real Time I am interested to see how RIM has implemented it on the phone platform. No one in the market has anything like this it should be pretty cool.

This is exciting to see! I personally hope it is bigger, rather than smaller than the 99 KB. I can't wait to try the feel of the key press.

Ugh, I can't decide what I want! I really really dig the London but then everytime I use my 9900 (which is very often) I tell myself to not be an idiot and get the Nevada like I originally wanted.

What to do?!?

im buying a L series on day 1, Just because I can. And theres alot of happy android customers out there with these huge phones. So figured id give the big displays a chance. If I find it too big after a few weeks then ill jump back to a physical keyboard.

Disappointed :(
I saw a tweet about a N-series leak on twitter and rushed to cb.
I was hoping for a better leak, it's just a pic of the keyboard. Nothing great IMO

"Nothing great"...its the centre piece of a great BlackBerry.

I'm unsure whether the KB will be as good or better than the 99XX With those straight lines. I can't see RIM going with form over function here though.

I'm still fan of the curved frets. You better try this and you'll know what I mean; hold your BB on your right hand, put your thumb on [Q]/[A] then move your thumb to the right to [P]/[DEL] , you will notice that your thumb will naturally arc like the current curved frets. Now try it again but this time move your thumb to the right straight, you will notice that your hands will not be comportable as before.

Anyway, we all have to adjust when the N-series hits the market. Then we could tell the difference. I do hope it will rocks. ;-)

I'm a fan of the straight frets. Porsche has a lot of experience with ergonomics and there is a reason the Porsche designed P'9981 had a straight keyboard.
If you are typing with two thumbs, then the old smiley shape works fine. Both thumbs arc upward as you move to the outside of the phone. However, if you move your thumb from the outside of the phone inward... it follows the smile until you get to centre, then it continues the downward arc past center making the upward smiley very unnatural.
The straight frets are a perfect compromise for two-handed and one-handed types (both left and right).

Thor has mentioned the benefits of BB10 for one-handed use. It only makes sense that the hardware would also cater to this as well.

Whilst I like the physical keyboard, playing with the Dev Alpha and its flick to complete dictionary has got me sold.

Speaking of dedication buttons...
Why do we need two "shift-case" buttons. Is it really that necessary since its capitalizes the first word anyways. Who is using both of these button that frequently.
I think one of them should be a home button, or a dedicated for whatever the user wants.
Granted I havent messed around with BB10, on BB7, I have on multiple (enough to suggest a fix) occasions hung up on people while browsing the web because I so frequently press the END key to return to the home screen. I dont know why after years I still do, but I do.

This was the fresh start, if there was ever a time to change the keyboard, it is/was now (can one say "_was_ now"?) Although RIM is considered the gold standard of physical qwertys (qwerties sp?), I'm hoping this lack of innovation is a "we-really-cant-make-it-better" move.

I've never heard anyone complain about the keyboard. The only complaints I hear are about camera, memory, and OS. Maybe they decided to work on what was an issue and not so much on reinventing their amazing keyboard.

you need two because alt and left shift does numeric lock and alt and right shift does caps lock.

for one handed typing this makes sense so you dont need to keep holding down the alt button or the shift button to do this.

I'm on the fence as to whether I should get the N or L. I don't care much for landscape orientation so I'm tending towards the N. I'd have to wait and see how they implement the home screens and especially peek. If they are landscape friendly, I may jump on the full screen bandwagon.

Curved vs. straight, I don't care as long as the kb is ergonomic and the phone doesn't look ugly.

Keep the leaks coming!

@user above there is no lack of innovation. It's ALL innovation at a great level.

Now for my comment:


They should release them at the same time then we can choose the one that we what. If you have them come out at different times sales will be low until they both come out. There are people on the fence on which one to buy. Making people wait for the N is not a good idea. I feel RIM has made a mistake by waiting until after the holidays to release BB10. The only people that will wait until after all of the good sales are over are BB people. So the on the fence people will buy their new phones during the holiday sales. I have had a BB since the beginning so I will be waiting but WOW i feel this is a very big mistake.

Buttons look same shape as on Torch ... Except straight across. The feel/size/etc will really be determining factor ....

why did they get rid of the curved keyboard like they have on the 9900 - I believe typing is better on the current models...

Geez, don't you read before you post? Only about 1/3 of the comments before you already deal with your question.

I need the trackpad, I have problem with the accuracy of my touch on the huge PB screen. My 9900 would be useles without it. Not all innovation is progression. I understand the need to jump into the all touch market but the KB is happy and if it aint broke dont fix it. Trust me it aint broke.

The next thing to happen is the L will outsell the N and RIM will drop the N.

I really hope the B10 N-Series (with physical keyboard) will also have handwriting input.

Many of BlackBerry's growth markets are overseas with non-English input, making handwriting input ideal.

Actually one of my friends refused to buy a Bold 9900 because it did not have Asian handwriting input.

He upgraded from the old Bold 9000 to an iPh*ne instead.
BlackBerry definitely lost some customers there.

I don't know what to think about the straight keyboard but people who commented about it in relation to prosche ergonomics seem to know. Ill have to try it out. Still torn on L or N series but I am going to DAMN miss my back button, trackpad and bb key. And the call button. And end button. Damn ima just keep my 9900 for a while. But I am going to envy bb10 os wise sooo badly.

Also, how big does anyone think the KB is? I know it assumed to be 9900 size. But it looks TINY

I have read (quickly) these comments and saw no one mention another HUGE feature of having a physical keyboard: SHORTCUTS
I have my 9930 set to allow the keys to launch, with one touch, all of the most common functions. This can be done with barely a glance at the phone.
Because of this, I can be done with most functions while most slab users are fiddling and scrolling around. (and I'm not exactly "mr phone" either)

I don't mind the N series looking just like the Bold 99XX series, it will have a little bigger touchscreen. Two questions? What will be the name of this device? Keeping the Bold name? Or something different. 2nd question, since my upgrade isn't until after June of 2013, when will the Airsto launch? And will it also have a qwerty keyboard sibling?

I think the curved layout definitely contributes to speed and accuracy, but at least they kept the layout the same as the existing BB devices, and it's a first model, they may end up going back to a curved layout in future models..

I think the other reason must be to try to create a sense of continuity with the touch version, *BUT* they need to make the touch screen keyboard *exactly* the same as the physical- I hate the BB10 layout that I have on my alpha device: I'm so used to the delete key being right beside the "L" key and the enter key being below from the physical keyboard that I have major problems typing on the touch screen, where the delete is below the "L" instead of the enter: every time I finish typing something, I end up deleting the last character instead of submitting it.

The same thing happened on the BB physical vs. BB Torch vs. PlayBook- they were similar, but there were enough keys in different locations that switching devices was a challenge- not so much the Playbook- it's a different enough form factor that psychologically, it's easier for the brain to make the switch, but in particular the Torch touch keyboard vs. its physical keyboard- same device, 2 different keyboards = impossible to use: you end up choosing one or the other. For me, I chose the Torch for the large screen real estate and the physical keyboard: I use touch all the time to select and scroll, but never the touch keyboard..

I really wish one of the players in the smartphone playing field would allow a user-definable keyboard: It's an easy feature to implement given that it's virtual, and there's certainly a market for it.. I'd love to have the option of moving some keys around to where they're most convenient for me, and I'd love to *always* have the line of numbers at the top of the keyboard instead of just when I'm typing passwords (even though I'd prefer more screen real estate, I'd gladly sacrifice some for that extra row of numbers), and I know many hunt-and-peck typers would prefer a simple a-b-c-d-e layout vs. qwerty..

Agree with "anastasiophan" about "period". Its location on the same button as space makes sense.
I dislike the idea of a keyboard with straight lines. Original Blackberry has curved keyboard. I hope they will see that ergonomically, curved keyboard is better, and at least one of the BB10 devices will have curved hardware keyboard.

I am gonna miss that trackpad. Entering cursors in existing text, is so much easier (and accurate) with it.