< >

CrackBerry Asks: Initial reactions to the first BlackBerry 10 phone with keyboard image?

By Kevin Michaluk on 1 Oct 2012 02:15 pm EDT
1
loading...
0
loading...
82
loading...

As well as CrackBerry's intial thoughts on the lack of navigation trackpad and straightend out keyboard...

BlackBerry N-Series

While it wasn't one of RIM's planned news stories for last week's BBJAM event, we did get a first unofficial look at the upcoming BlackBerry N-Series phone. The images showed up on the information super highway thanks to a RIM internal marketing video which appeared to have been haphazardly uploaded by the contracted video editor (people don't say information super highway enough anymore... I'm bringing it back old school).

The N-Series phone -- the N standing for Nevada and Naples, the codenames for these devices -- which I still can't help but think will eventually be part of the Bold family, couples a physical keyboard to the BlackBerry 10 operating system. 

The phone appears to feature a form factor extremely similar in size and shape to the BlackBerry Bold 9900, but with a few important design differences. Making room for the now taller 720x720 display, gone is the row of buttons between the display and keyboard, which traditionally features the navigation trackpad and call / menu / back / end keys. As for the keyboard, instead of the smiling keyboard layout of the 9900, it features a linear layout more akin to that of the Porsche Design BlackBerry. These changes are a little startling at first glance, though from my point of view were not unexpected. 

No Trackpad?! 

Ever since the BlackBerry PlayBook was unveiled at DevCon two years ago, we've been hypothesizing the demise of the trackpad for when the new QNX-based OS made its way onto a phone. Given that the PlayBook OS never made use of a menu key, back button or navigation input other than the touchscreen, it only made sense that this completely touchscreen user interface would remain fully touchscreen on the phone too. 

That said, reading through some of the comments and forum threads that have emerged since the photos showed up, it's apparent many of you were still both surprised by the disappearance of the trackpad and concerned over this change. No doubt, on current BlackBerry 7 and older smartphones the centrally-mounted trackpad (and even trackball on older models) is one of the main features that allows the phone to be used easily with one hand. Moving your thumb just a half-inch in any direction of the trackpad gives you full control of the operating system. With a full touchscreen design, your thumb/fingers will have to cover more distance.

I believe RIM shares the same concern for one-handed use that many of us hardcore users do, and also believe based on what we've seen so far of BlackBerry 10 that any concerns over the lack of the trackpad will be short lived once individuals get their hands on the phone. If you look at the hub and flow experience of BlackBerry 10, it's made to be touched.

Throughout BlackBerry 10, it's clear that the user interface is designed to give off the feeling that the user can really control and manipulate the operating system. Look at the touchscreen as quick example. It's not just a slide to unlock down a fixed path. Instead, as you swipe up from the bezel up you can really see the OS light up directly below your finger, and you can swipe upward in any direction - there's not just a fixed way to do it. Think about the peek and flow gestures that are so fundamental to the BlackBerry 10 experience. It seems like making these gestures work off a trackpad would be extremely tricky, given their nature. Would you want to be able to swipe up on the trackpad to peak in too? Or just off the display? How about glancing back within apps to the different layers within the app? Via the trackpad too? Or just the display?

Trackpad navigation suited the BlackBerry OS because navigation was mapped out in more of a straight path. Moving the trackpad or cursor from top to bottom or bottom to top on the display could move you around to basically every selectable option on the display. But with BlackBerry 10 it would become very tricky, especially given the gestures for peek and flow. And if you can't use the trackpad all the time, then that becomes confusing to the user too. 

Bottom line, on BlackBerry 10 I think having the trackpad would only complicate navigation around the OS and even with apps. I think it's fine to still "want the trackpad"... but if you really think about how BlackBerry 10 works, I think it becomes apparent pretty quick that the experience would start to break down in a lot of areas if RIM tried to implement a trackpad into the device.

Keyboard Thoughts

We've said it before and we'll say it again. The keyboard on the BlackBerry Bold 9900 is the BEST keyboard ever put on a smartphone. That being the case, it's hard to imagine a better keyboard and seeing any changes to that keyboard design is reason enough for us to feel a little angst.

It's easy to see from a design perspective why RIM chose to straighten the keyboard out - it would look funny to keep the curved smiley face layout. Doing so would make for a weird looking gap below the display and above the keyboard. So it appears RIM went with a linear layout, similar to the P'9981, but with keys more of the Bold 9900's design.

Though typing on the keyboard is no doubt going to feel a little different than the 9900, based on what we're seeing I don't think it should be worse. I spent a lot of time typing on the P'9981 and actually grew very accustomed to the linear layout. I actually think the straight design aids in building up muscle memory for the layout of the keyboard. With the P'9981 the small-ish / flat buttons made the typing experience not quite as nice as the 9900, but marrying Bold 9900 style buttons to a linear layout should be pretty decent.

Also, we know that RIM knows just how much people love the Bold 9900's keyboard. I don't think they would want to take a step backwards here. So let' just that while the keyboard does appear to be a bit different, it's not something I'm going to stress about just yet.

Your Reactions?

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, and I think I've already squeezed about 1,075 out of this article just talking about the trackpad and keyboard. So with that, I'll turn it over to you. 

Is the image above long the lines of what you were expecting from RIM's first BlackBerry 10 phone with a keyboard? We're you expecting something different? Vote on the poll above and then sound off in the comments!

We're still months away from being able to run into the store and buy one these bad boys, so we'll have lots of time to debate it. 

Reader comments

CrackBerry Asks: Initial reactions to the first BlackBerry 10 phone with keyboard image?

143 Comments

BORING!! This is an os 7 device, not a "BB10" device! No one will buy it because they will think it is the same old bold 9900. Yeah yeah I know what you're gonna say, but RIM needs to attract people to BB10 and to get them to want it and this will NOT do it for them (even if its just a render or a prototype or anything... But I think this is legit because the crackberry team themselves said it was very similar to the 9900 but without the silver border or something like that.). And besides, the bottom bezel is too small and the top one is WAY too big.

I'd be very disappointed if over that display they put the usual plastic instead of gorilla glass.

For me keyboard is essential so I guess I'll have only that option..

Form factor differentiation has already started to reach its maturity. You can't reinvent the rectangle. Bigger, smaller, it'still a rectangle. The iPhone has virtually remained unchanged in the last few iterations. Moving the ear phone jack to the bottom doesn't count either. BB's qwerty device is more about function for those that prefer to type.

Not sure how "different" you can make the device look without seriously affecting functionality.

People looking for the qwerty version of BB10 will be driven by the OS enhancements primarily, so any "enhancements" to the phyiscal look will be a bonus, not a requirement.

... You missed the whole point of my comment. It's not about "reinventing the rectangle" but about change. Yes, it will still be rectangular shaped, but the doesn't mean it has to look exactly the same as the 9900. Just look at how RIM's qwerty devices have changed over time. The curves look completely different today than the last few generations. Their are multiple Bold styles (9900, 9700, 9650). They are all rectangle (ish) aren't they?

And the iPhone? I couldn't care less about the iPhone. Yes they all look the same and that sucks for the people who find them so amazing but I'm on crackberry because I have a blackberry, not an iPhone.

I was talking more specifically about RIM's future customers. People think the curve and the bold look the same (how? I don't know). And this looks way more like the bold than the curve does. If they see something like this get released, they will ignore it just like they do every other blackberry product. They were able to completely change their all-touch design language. Why not the qwerty one too? And yes, it is possible to have the same great keyboard with a different design.

Rant over.

I agree that this doesn't look well proportioned. It is probably a photoshopped 9900 because I can't imagine the next bold to still be without a front facing camera.

Maybe the idea is to just get us used to a frame without the trackpad; I can understand they want to use the space to increase the screen size but perhaps a trackpad in a slightly elongated 9900 shell will work better

If you look closer it looks like there is a camera on the right of the speaker... I don't see a flash indicator though...

Well, I guess technically better than what you were expecting goes into the category of what you weren't expecting. This isn't really a better or worse than type of poll, but rather what kind of layout did you think it would have sort of question. 

But I'm glad it's better than what you were expecting! 

Seriously Kevin, I'm positive for BB10, but RIM doesn't always have a great design record, so when this picture/video showed up - despite always saying I would go for the full touch - I was momentarily thinking of switching to the QWERTY, that's how good I think the overall design is.

Si.

I would wish the keyboard (and I'm missing the "curve" of the display) would be higher - as well as the display.

Why loosing so much space around the speaker/blackberry branding?

Or is this a technical issue?

I had a few "BB-Style"-Androids in my hands and mostly I was afraid of losing the balance when I wrote.

That is not the case with my 9900 or other BBs I had.

With this one I could imagine it will be an issue.

I've always been a qwerty guy, but honestly this thing is a little fugly looking. I definitely want a BB10 device, but I might have to try my hand at the all touch.. I guess time will tell when I get them both in my hand and play with them a little..

I would still much prefer to see a nice thin slider come out with that large L series touch screen and a slide out bold 9900 esque keyboard... the best of both words if they can keep it thin enough. As much as I love my 9900, I wouldn't have switched from the torch if it wasn't so thick and heavy in my pocket!

Along the lines of what I was expecting. People love the Bold 9900 look and feel so why change something that just works?

My 9900 works for me, and I struggle a lot with my playbook. If the trackpad is gone, I may stick to the 9900 until its not supported. I've tried and tried, and just can't get the hang of a touchscreen, no matter the brand.

pretty much in line with what i had expected this is going to be a great evolution from the 9900 i think.

I wouldn't be surprised to see a soft trackpad pop up on the touch screen in some apps.

RIM has always been very scientific with their approach to keyboard design. i would hope that the straightening of the keyboard was driven by the shift to One-handed use as the primary interface as straight keys would be more ergonomic for this approach.

Any clues on how the predictive text will be managed with the physical keyboard?

hope that fake looking rendering is NOT the "new old " design direction from RIM. thats pretty lazy design work.

This looks good and I love my Bold 9900 but for BB10 I think I'm going to try the full touch first. It will be my first full touch phone and we'll see how it goes. Can't wait...

+2... I like how this phone looks but the touch is very compelling. I think may just get the touch first and then try this out when it releases after.

Ideally I would get a slider model to replace my Torch but I think I will likey give an L-series a whirl on launch day. That said, the screen on the keyboard model is larger and until I see the real thing I am open to changing my mind.

At this point I'm happy for the improvements with the OS and really want to use a BB10 device. I'm happy with the classic design language. Just keep the current schedule please RIM.

It's was I was expecting back in 2011! I'm so disappointed. I don't want to troll but I gave up on BB this year. I just got tired of waiting... BB user: 2004 - 2012(BB 6220 - BB Bold 6950) RIP...
BTW: I hate my iPhone. :(

I don't know what to think of this straight keyboard. I loved the 9900 keyboard but I am not sure what the curved line up contribution is to the awesome keyboard. Only those who used the porsche can tell.

still it look like the 9900 wins - the curvy keyboards helps a lot.

Not sure what I should think about this "N" device, keyboard is also to low. I get the feeling it will be "unbalanced", specially writing one handed.

Looks fine to me. if anything, the Keyboard almost looks like it's sad, rather than the "smiling" Bold 9900 keyboard.

One thing I've learnt about Blackberry Keyboards, going from a Curve to a Storm, then to a Bold. You learn the different layout, and how you type on the Keyboard VERY quickly (i.e. Curve: use the edges of your thumbs, Storm: Press hard and scream at the phone, Bold: Just.... type....).

This may not be "final", but I wouldn't be surprised if the phone looks a lot like this.

... I'm also hoping that "lighting" at the top right hand of the phone is the Metal surround....

It seems a fine upgrade from a BB9900; but they're gonna have a tough time convincing users to buy it if they (customers) intend to run apps that utilize the standard 4" or larger screens.

Is there a way they can create this with a 4" screen and have the keyboard flip backwards? that way; it still gives the users a nice grip at the back of the phone when holding it....

Kind of like the Original Sony Ericsson P900 - but backwards....

I'd just hate for people to walk away from Blackberry just cos they cant have the large screen AND the keyboard...(NO THE OLD TORCH 9800 DESIGN IS NOT AN OPTION)

They still have time to design something....I can wait

And here's another thought... What if the flippable keyboard housed a non-removable 500mAH OR 1000mAH battery that worked only if the the removable battery behind the 4" screen drains out?

I think the purpose of this phone is to retain existing Blackberry users and transition them to the new platform in a relatively pain-free manner. In North America, I'd wager that loyalty to a design centered around a physical keyboard is stronger than brand loyalty as a means of retaining BB subscribers. I hear the following all the time: "I'd prefer an iPhone, but I can't type fast enough by tapping on a screen." If the device is mainly about existing customer retention, you probably want to make it look as similar as possible to the existing device design they are proven to prefer.

Having said that, if it weren't for the marketplace, I would have made the phone taller and done away with the square aspect ratio all-together. I think most consumers see a "4 inch screen" as the new minimum for a device they understand is every bit as much about displaying media and "playing apps" as it is about making calls or responding to email. For those consumers, I think the L-Series will do the trick. This phone, on the other hand, looks like the ideal phone for existing Blackberry users who have refused over the past three years to transition to anything without a physical keyboard.

I was expecting a TALLER Bold 9900 much like the iPhone 5 *sarcasm* thinner and lighter and making the phone run at 600mAH battery and of course Blackberry Maps :)

muahah 600mAh xD

I bought a "pico 80" for 20€ as gag phone or/and when I'm out to ... drink ... ;)

This has a 330mAh battery, inanely small. 1h speaking/1-2 days standby.

So, why not even make the battery smaller.

280mAh should be enough ;)
(probably 1cmx1cm )

everybody says the new iOS6 maps are so bad.

The bb map is at least that bad ;)

Still forced to use 4.something gmaps.

Its never too late to come back! Pass the iPhone off to some iSheep and get a Blackberry 10 device when it comes out!

Proudly a member of TeamBlackberry, and in it for the long haul.

I feel the Bold 9900 is a beautiful phone. Unfortunately, it's also way underappreciated by general consumers. Thus I was hoping for something a little different in appearance. Something that really says it's new, it's not your father's Blackberry.

Love it, love it, love it!
I will miss the track pad for SURE, but I still love it.
This WILL be my next phone (if the specs are good when it comes out, of course).
Man...that blackberry looks good. Can't wait for more leaked pictures.

Did I mention that I love it? Even with the straight keyboard!

A month ago I put my old 9550 to rest and got a 9330. I was thinking of holding out for BB10, but I saw renderings of the full touchscreen and did not like how square it was. I assumed the QWERTY device would be similar. Now that I have seen the renderings, I love it! Not what I expected, but I like it a lot.

The majority of my non keyboard typing is done on the playbook. I much prefer my 9700 for typing. One area where I struggle on the playbook is editing text from the previous sentence.
This for me is where the track pad shines. Precise movement of the cursor to fix a mistake or copy text.

Maybe I just need more practice on the playbook.

I understand your point regarding the peek and flow and conflict with the track pad. However the track pad is great for scrolling, highlighting and making selections for copying. I have the 9850 and will quickly say that I am very satisfied with it and what I especially like is having the touch screen feature and the track pad. For me it is a perfect combination. As you stated in your article, maybe after using BlackBerry 10 the vantage can be better seen. But why not have a track pad for the scrolling, highlighting and selecting features??? Also I would like to see and article which compares and contrast BlackBerry 10 to the 7.1 o/s. As a novice, in layment terms I want to undestand better what BlackBerry 10 is bringing to the table, when I am able to get so much accomplished with my 9850 7.1 o/s. With BlackBerry 10 I see bells and whistels, media and gaming, glitz and glamour but what features are enhanced for productivity. In business meetings my BlackBerry 9850 has out performed many of those with Iphones and Androids.

Thanks.

i call it a fake.

this would be an "iPhone 5" story.. oh we made the screen TALLER, and yes hardware changes blah blah blah.

i still think its a cheap photoshop attempt, since all the times they've showed the BB10 qwerty, its always been a still image.

the most we can make out of this is the fact that they are using this poor image, is to probably give investors an idea of how it's gonna be.

if its gonna be the bold 9900, with a taller screen, it will be a flop.

they need to learn from apple's mistake, and make sure it doesnt look too much like an old phone

people just cant let go of their precious trackpad can they? First it was bitching and moaning when they were going to get rid of the trackwheel for the trackball. GOD FORBID they do that. Then the trackball was popular. They wanted to switch the trackball to a trackpad. GOD FORBID. Now they are getting rid of the trackpad for something that does not TRACK, instead something that ACTUALLY IS. GOD FORBID.

I think this is shopped too, but done so off of design prototypes. I think I am going to have to try them both out before making a decision. I love my 9900. But, I'm genuinely interested in the touchscreen device. I just don't know how well it will work with all the messaging / emails I do. An hour with one in the store should help me make that decision.

I don't know about this one.
I've owned both touchscreen and Keyboard phones. But If RIM releases this as their keyboard phone, i'm gonna be a bit disappointed.
Having the Trackpad really was helpful. Not just for navigation, for copy and paste as well.

I like the trackpad in bold 9900. Please return it back.

Without the trackpad I will be disappointed.

I went from the 8530 to the 9930. The increase in size was a blessing considering my hand size. I'm already using my phone one handed most of the time, except for most of my text input. That's where that Blackberry smile comes in. Holding the phone with both hands, and separating my thumbs, they naturally flow up as they go out. This is comfortable to me. I agree with the precision of the trackpad as well. Again, due to the size of my hands, even on the larger Playbook screen, I find my accuracy leaves a lot to be desired. The trackpad is invaluable to me. If they presented BB10 in a 9930 housing, I'd be thrilled. And I wouldn't have to lose that Blackberry smile. ;D

All that said, assuming that what we see is pretty much what we'll get, I'm left with a dilemma. Will the raised, physical aspect of the keys be enough of a difference to choose physical keyboard over full touch?

I was expecting something with more sqaured off edges like the P'9981. I personally think this is just a mock-up device for the purposes of putting a video together - i highly doubt RIM is going to launch a device that looks IDENTICAL to anything currently made by the company. They want a fresh start, expect fresh looking devices. Come January, i think you're going to see a phone that takes it's cues from the PD P'9981 superphone, both touch & QWERTY, not from the current range - which is what this video would suggest.

I think it still looks like a rendered placeholder image as opposed to an actual design intent...but my main question is to you Kevin:

We've all been under the impression you've held the actual N-series device in your hands. But in this post you're simply speculating about the leaked image just like we all are. Isn't there some way you could lessen the confusion instead of adding to it, without violating your NDA?

I think it would be cool if you could have the keyboard "light"-touch sensitive so if you don't fully press the keys you can do the peak and flow (and other gestures) over the keyboard with the one hand that you are holding it with. It would seem to give a more natural range of motion considering where your hand is for typing.

I think this is a FANTASTIC idea! It would allow for a similar predictive text option, and make the peek gesture more usable!

Also, I've mentioned this several times. Dedicated "." Instead of "$" and stop the double space to ".", it drives me crazy!

So, without a track pad, how does one navigate and edit comfortably inside of an email. I regularly edit emails before sending . . . cutting and pasting text within the email, for example. Simple to do with a track pad; not so easy on the non-Blackberry touch screens I've tried. How will RIMM keep an easy interface for that function without a track pad to help place the "cursor"?

The bezel looks a little thin for my liking, making it look like the buttons on the right and left side of the keyboard are about to fall off a cliff.

I just hope the size of the device is wide and sturdy, I don't really care if it's "the thinnest BlackBerry ever" or whatever they're probably going to try to claim. I prefer my 9900 with a hardshell or softshell case, because it adds more bulk.

Also, I'm really going to miss having no row of keys for the send call/menu/trackpad/end call buttons. I barely got used to having the green phone and red phone in the monochrome grey color on my 9900 and 9810.. now there won't be any buttons at all.

I'm not really one for change, and I'm kind of thinking that most people that buy the full qwerty device are like me too. While I like the looks of BB10, and the prospect of having more apps, I still won't use my full qwerty BB10 phone to watch movies or play any real games. So while I understand the benefit of having a bigger screen, I'd still appreciate the functionality of that row of buttons.

Could RIM at least give us the left side convenience key back? PLEASE??

I would have liked the screen to have gone up a tad more to where the corners start but it looks nice, I think I will grab both the L/N devices though and see what I like best.

I had a feeling the BlackBerry 10 smartphone with physical keyboard would maintain the BlackBerry Bold 9900 form-factor. Not surprise, more disappointed that the company failed to innovate and bring us the BlackBerry Blade concept-only smartphone as an alternative. If I am going to buy a touch-screen smartphone I expect a full-screen device and a slider-style physical keyboard for "productivity applications." Presently, here is no reason for me to upgrade to a BlackBerry 10 smartphone.

Before those images leaked, I was dead set on going with the L-series. Going from the bold 9000 and 9700 to the Torch 9800 (which when coming from a keyboard to a touchscreen would be like riding a bike on training wheels since it was touch and had a slide out keyboard) then off to a Torch 9850, it was only natural that the L-seires would be the next step. But if these images that leaked are close to the real thing, I might be back on a keyboard. If the images are in fact photoshopped, I'm sure they are close to the real thing. Kevin's article about the bb10 hands on impression, he said that the keyboard version was like a stremelined 9900 so I'm sure the image was either dead on or close to the real deal. As far as the straight line keyboard over the curved keyboard, it's all about adjustment. It's like going from the keyboards on the curve then switching to a bold. Using it everyday, you'll adjust so fast you wouldn't even think about the difference from the 9900 style keyboard. Same with the absence of a trackpad. RIM usually has something on their new lines of phones similar (like how the os7's phone/menu/back buttons are all white while the previous lines had color to them) so maybe this why the keyboards match. The keyboard on the pic looks just like a physical version of the touchscreen one.

For those that have a Dev Alpha device, they will know like me that a trackpad is no longer necessary. There is a "bubble control" that allow you to pick an exact place to edit. Think of it as a trackbubble. There is no reason for the trackpad taking up valuable screen space since the other 4 buttons are no longer necessary either.

I'm with "BlackberryFan777".
The loyalty of BB users is pretty strongly tied to the keyboard and the trackpad. This is always going to create a conflict between the users who want these physical aspects to their phone, and those users who want toys for grown ups (games, video, endless swiping of the screen with your finger). I'll say that I'm happy to see a keyboard on this verion of the BB10. That's a plus. If, however, it doesn't have these physical aspects (keyboard and trackpad) ongoing, then I can't see any reason not to go for a droid.

Lovely device... From a 9900 user, its exactly what I expected. I always wanted a bigger screen on my 9900 and thought if they cut the home row of buttons, it would be perfect. This one even seems a bit wider to boot.

Its a good looking device for a good looking OS

Question for you would be haters.... What were you expecting exactly?.. Theres so much you can do with the bold series when going towards the vision BB10 is. A touch/keyboard phone from blackberry?... Thats the exact vision i saw when the 9900 was coming out. Im glad the power keys are gone. And money wise, its smart on their end to do a slight change of the 9900 then revamp the whole design. Sometimes, there's no pleasing you guys

I LOVE IT! The big issue is how they replace the functionality of the track pad. The issue using touch screens for fine navigation is you're using a big dull fingertip as the cursor. One of the Crackberry-ites posted a screenshot of a Android App that uses a cursor that your finger virtually pushes around. I'm not familiar with it, but I think it would work well! Will BB10 use this? I don't know, but I think RIM has something up their sleeve.

I love it, but I don't think the final design fits those images, as you need some space between the screen and the keyboard to start the peek gesture

I personally like the curved keyboard. I thought the curved design makes more sense than the straight keyboard. I don't care if it looks weird, it served a purpose. Am I the only one who feels this way?

It all depends on the materials for me - the 9900 on the face of it is v similar to the 9000, but if the 9900 were plasticy a la the (at the time prestigious and beautiful) 9000 it wouldn't be as nice a handset. Give me metal and glass and make it a beautiful thing and I'll be happy (well, you know if the no-trackpad thing works out), make it all out of plastic and it's a whole other handset.

What will the battery life be like with the smaller screen? This N series might only use 75% of what the L series might use? It could keep me on the smaller screen if the usability is there. Battery life is king at the end of the day. Starting witH A 1800 mhr batt might make the duration look rather good on the N series.............

Uh, I don't know what to say. On one side it looks way too close to past devices. Sure, BB OS 10 will make it a different beast when it comes to actually using the device, but the looks are just way too close to past models. Whether that is a good or a bad thing I am not sure. Probably the conservative business users like it the conservative design and are not that eager for change. As far as I concern the bunch of "concept phones" that surfaced on the web made me expect a different and more modern looking device. Anyway, until I actually have one on my hands I will be able to tell if it missed the mark or not.

This doesn't look like an actual rendering of what the phone will look like I'm sure it'll be along these lines though. It is easy to tell certain aspects have been photoshopped. I think I'll miss the trackpad on my 9900 hopefully they can find a good alternative. I feel like the screen will be a bit bigger in general and hope/think the keyboard will have a more radical design hence the lack of leaked photo's compared to the touchscreen version as we all knew essentially what it would look like. maybe we will see diamond keys instead of the typical square ones!!
Blackberry for Life

I might shy away from it for the same reason that I went with the 9800 and 9810 instead of the 9900, smaller screen. So, since one of the reasons I love BB is the keyboard, I'd have to rethink the whole process. If I wasn't getting my keyboard, I'd have to compare Android and Iphone again I guess, not what I wanted!!

Has there been any confirmation from RIM that BB10 devices will fully support IMAP, Gmail, and Exchange, without having BES?

Slapping a keyboard on the BB10 doesn't make it a classical BlackBerry in my opinion. I know RIM is going in a totally new direction and wants to put the past behind it but I don't think it should be at the expense of features that made BlackBerry so appealing to its loyal fans. The row of buttons between the keyboard and the screen gave functionality that other phones (e.g. iPhone) never had. The trackpad is absolutely essential in being able to select/highlight text quickly without having to spend 3-4 seconds positioning the text cursor exactly where you want it to be through touch-screen.

One of the main reasons I'm still highly interested in BlackBerry is the retention of the keyboard, I still hate iPhone typing after years of BB use. I need that trackpad, it's integral to the whole BB experience. It's not quite a deal-breaker but it's quite close.

+1. If it were just about a physical keyboard, then Android phones with keyboards would be more popular. What differentiates BB is the execution of the portrait QWERTY form-factor and the tight integration between the OS and the physical buttons. They're what make BlackBerry phones feel refined and polished whereas the competition feels slapped-on.

Similarly to Microsoft, RIM is taking a touch-first approach to BB 10, which is understandable since it's currently one of the company's bigger gaps. But, like Microsoft, is RIM doing so at the expense of current, efficient input mechanisms?

Like you said, they're not quite deal-breakers, but hopefully RIM doesn't lose sight of what--aside from the keyboard--differentiates BB and makes it so efficient. It doesn't seem like it based on RIM's "success" and "do" messaging, but hopefully the company realizes that a strong contingent of the "people who do" are fans of physical buttons. But, sometimes compromises are necessary with technology, and who knows, maybe the Peek and Flow experience will far outweigh any inconvenience due to the loss of the trackpad...I know I'm looking forward to it.

That said, I'm not quite sure why Peek and Flow would be incompatible with trackpads or physical buttons. Why couldn't keyboard shortcuts trigger Peek and Flow behaviors? Why couldn't a trackpad mimic the outer touch bezel? Why couldn't the bezel surround the keyboard?

I would always be the one saying physical keyboards are the way to go, and was planning on getting the BB10 bold. Untill I saw the picture. Not shur what I was expecting but its just the same as my 9900. I've has this phone for what feels like ages, I need something fresh.

And ontop of that, they've done such a good job with the full touch and the gestures I wanna give It a shot. I'd buy it right now.

Only thing that will make me go for the qwerty is the size of the full touch once I get it in my hands and feel it. I'm not a fan of the giant androids. Zack moris phone. Who cares if its thin, still takes up your whole damn pocket.

i would find a slider phone (like Palm Pre for example) much more intresting. it combines the big touchscreen with a full querty keboard if you want it, onscreen keyboard optional.

Also the completly different screenstze and ratio will make it harder for app devs to support all devices.

i too dont want a 4"+ phone, it is whats keeping me to get a android phone (besides the os ;) ) that no highend phones at a screensize of 3,5 or 3,7" gets produced anymore and in my country they also dont sell all of those slider phones...

well just my thoughts.

Blows without a trackpad. Fercrisakes, it's a business machine, who the h*** has time to put a cursor in place wih fingers on a small screen. It's bad enough to do on a playbook or any other touchscreen device. I was looking forward to a hardware keyboard device but without the trackpad the utility is only marginal over an all-out touchscreen.

Did I mention the "trackbubble"? You guys are wasting your time crying about the trackpad when you haven't even tried the new OS and its replacement.

Blackberry user and fan by choice.But I'm not sure I like either option. I had an iphone for 2 weeks and hated it. Went back to bb 9800 and still love it. Was holding out for bb10, but now I just don't know. I HAVE to have the TOUCHPAD! Its the primary reason I love BB. Touch displays are good for simple tasks but text selection and clicking on specific icons the trackpad is king. Without it I'm not sure I will be as productive. All touch on the 9800 isn't as good as touch with trackpad. I wish the playbook had a trackpad, real or on screen. Then I start up bridge and use my 9800 trackpad and life is good. I know a trackpad would "complicate" things but I think its a nessesity. After typing all of this I want a slider BB10 device. Full screen with slide out bb9900 keyboard. Guess I'm a wait and play with it in store person now.

The only reason I use the trackpad is because the touch is so bad that when I try to press something with my fingers I press the object I wanted... or one of the many objects lying next to it. I would love for the trackpad to be gone, given that the touch implementation is good in bb10.

And should moving that small cursor around in the ui be faster than just moving your thumb to press? Please...

I would like to see a BB10 phone with a similar format to the Torch 9800, that is a large screen when you need it and a physical keyboard that can be slid out when typing on the screen just isn't enough.

But so long as its a step up from the Bold 9900, I'll take whatever they put out. Its hard to improve on a proven and very functional form factor. Like other devices, any gains BB makes will be driven by the power of its OS. QNX has lots of promise but its now time to step up and show up.

I would like a bigger screen from the Bold 9900 to take advantage of the hide and peak features with the new OS. Otherwise its hard to tell until in gets in my hands come Q1 2013.

Well what exactly were you expecting people? If you wanted a physical keyboard (& Bold's 9900 keyboard is great) then why would RIM change something that's already proven?
I'm delighted and although I love my Bold 9900 you can bet I'll be looking at the N series when it comes out. Probably won't get one immediately because I like to use the same phone for at least a couple of years to justify the cost but then again maybe I'll buy it quicker.
Either way that physical keyboard looks great along with the touch screen and OS 10.

I think the screen and keyboard looks great - almost a textbook Blackberry. I am a bit concerned about the overall feel and design though. As it was mentioned before - there will be no bezel surrounding the device - therefore I just really, really hope it will not be completely made of plastic. I always liked the metallic feel of Nokia qwerty phones (the E series), Vertu qwerty phone and also the 9900. It gave the device a bit of premium feel to it. So i hope it will not go in the steps of the likes of Samsung (good hardware wrapped in cheap plastic shell)...

The mock ups that have been shown in the recent past by Crackberry fans are SO much better than RIM's ideas! RIM needs to get fresh people in the Hardware Concept Department!

They may look nice, but can they actually be manufactured? Anything can be made in renderings, but when you have to put board, batteries, cameras, antennae, connectors and other stuff, then that nice rendering doesn't work anymore. You would think that from some of the posters, that they want a round phone because they don't like a good form factor. There is a reason that all cameras look the same, or all TVs or all TV remotes, once a form factor is deemed to be the best for consumers, then that is the form factor that all devices will have in the future.

I know this is not going to go over well with the die-hard keyboard users out there, but the days of the keypad, trackpad, and buttons, are long over and, quite frankly, not needed and/or redundant with the new OS. RIM has implemented a suitable - and superior - way to do what we were doing before on the trackpad; BB users need to get over themselves - sorry - and get with the times.

Having seen the new OS in action and watched all of the jam sessions, I don't even think that a keyboard version of their phone is needed anymore.

But as I said, I know I'm in the minority. Touch screen controls all the way!

You're my boy Blue. I wish Kevin would show how the copy and paste without a TrackPad works as well. I'm very concerned about the death of the TrackPad. I have not found an OS yet which deals with the precision of copy and paste the way the track pad does.

As for the above comment on death of the keyboard. No matter how good the touch screen typing gets I will always use my keyboard for 24 one touch blind speedials numbers.

I have tried every touchscreen available, and none work for me. I am a contractor, working both in construction and mechanics. My hands are trashed. Scarred and calloused. I'm not sure how touchscreens work, but they don't work for me. If all smartphones go touchscreen, my only option will be back to a conventional cell. I hope they maintain a trackpad in the curve line, or support the 9900 forever.

I have the same issues. Once again tech product development leaves out the gray and blue collar.

How responsive is the answer button? Can you hit it once and answer? Can you, without looking, hit the call button to pull up the phone application?

My answer button is responsive, and I find it without looking by feeling top of keys and edge of phone. As for dialing, the '5/d' key has a raised dot so you can find that without looking. From there I use speed dial keys all around the 5. So without looking I can call all my common numbers

I was hoping to see a more innovative design than this. For those who absolutely love the physical keyboard, then this might sell well but this basic style may not do for those who are looking for a more innovative design (especially to those coming from a non-BlackBerry device).

Personally, I think that if they are pushing a brand new OS out, they should try to push out a new, innovative hardware as well. That will catch more attention. Consumers, with their current mindset about BB, will first judge the book by its cover.

~I am BlackBerry by choice~

I would have to say it is a bit boring.......it's just a Bold without the function keys and track pad. RIM could at least make the whole phone bigger (larger screen) with a keyboard... Rather than using the Bold platform......Just saying ;)

One statement is incorrect, in that the trackpad only navigates linearly. Not true, in text, webpages etc...the cursor moves diagonally also and is still the hallmark of accurate navigation. I'll give it a try, but if it's not as accurate nor as easy as the trackpad, I'll keep my 9930 until it's no longer supported. I do like the phone but not the straight keypad.

Interesting and thoughtful comments. I'd certainly be somewhat disappointed if this winds up being the final keypad 10 model. Plenty to be said on this topic. In short, it would be nice to see something a bit more... creatively superior, if you will; eyecatching, beyond the competition. For instance something closer to the J. Anastasiadis white concept design. If they're (RIM's) looking to retain, then sure they can keep it same, but if they want to blow/grow they've got to show!..at least a little. Innovation is NEW and improved, not just improved. I'm diehard Berry from inception, so I'm staying regardless. I'm just saying, I am a visual being first (impression), as are the masses. I want the best of both worlds... I use BlackBerry by choice, I deserve it. Design innovation may not be foremost, but it certainly is first, when in one's in buying/switching mode. And, if I'm in come-back just-to-stay-in-the-game mode, better believe, sink, swim or float, I'm making a splash! BigUpBlackBerry

If they lose the trackpad, they will get lost in the mix, become irrelevant, and the better phones will be android.

the track pad is not needed with brilliant BB10 OS. just a qwerty key pad and 720 x 720 touch screen is fully functional. "Render LEAK" is pretty unattractive though.

If you can't get a touchscreen to work, the loss of the trackpad is a deal breaker. I have mechanic/carpenter hands and can not get a touchscreen to work. Devices tried include playbook, iPod, iPad, HTC, Samsung...they all fail

Maybe i am the only one here that has this opinion, but i love the real metal trim on my bold 9900. I have had so many berrys the Torch 9800,9810 chip just looking @ it the paint chips off god, the 9650 the plastic scratches so easy the 9860 not as bad as the rest but still chips my 9900 no case no protection no problems holds up like new. Why would RIM go back to plastic trim isnt that going a step backwards?
Also the track pad is a great tool for Playbook remote. I hate using touch screen as a mouse, so my Bold 9900 will keep on being my remote. :-)

Not sure if its possible from an engineering design perspective but I would hope that the blackberry logo would be at the bottom and then "shortern" the phone...

People saying that the N-series won't be good without a trackpad need to actually try the os before they can justify making a statement by that. I don't see anyone with a dev device saying that. Wonder why?

I just want it to look more like the L-Series. The two phones look like they are from different companies. I think the top and bottom of the L-Series would look good on the N-Series.

i do not want BB to loose their proprietary and signature qwerty keyboard. what i am looking forward to is the "Victory". Images of which surfaced a months ago. that would be a rocking BB 10.

I like it but I'd want it with an elongated screen. Make it so that we can see pics in landscape mode as well and NOT 720x720! I'd also like it to have the convenience keys and HDMI out. Although I do like the design, I think RIM needs to redesign it to make it BB10 unique. The reason I think that is that since they are starting fresh with a new OS, they don't want the customers to relate the current lineup with the new BB10 lineup. Make it so that it stands out.

although initialy, i was excited about this hybrid product, i am having second thoughts....i really want the trackpad and classic buttons.

i can see the author's argument regarding the trackpad; but the buttons are still a must if Thorsten Heins wants to follow on from all that talk about blackberry being the communication device for those "on the go". buttons help to do common tasks like calling and cancelling calls without slowing/stopping to look at the screen, which one cannot avoid doing on a pure touchscreen device.

anyway, the photos are hopefully fake (the marketing video certainly looked tacky and photoshopped); maybe its blackberry's research/marketing team testing the waters.....after all, they still have a lot of time on their hands before the next phones are expected!

fingers crossed, at least one of the new phones will have a proper blackberry keyboard and buttons.

Your statement does not hold logic with buttons. On the 9900, there isn't actually buttons, it is just a space on the phone where you press. If the touch screen has the same functionality, then it will be just as good.

If you look at the BB10 videos, you will see that there are buttons at the bottom of the screen which match the call button and once on the call, I am sure there will be a hangup in the same location as on the 9900. And in the video, answering and ignoring a call are done with swipes and very easy.

MuTDAN - Much To Do About Nothing

Definitely disappointed... I Love the stainless steel bezel but we need a new design for BB10. Ive hqd the 99xx in black & white & love them both. But i need a change

Ooh dear mama! Ugly all over. The bezel between the screen and the top of the phone is too big.
This is fake, I dont believe RIM's designers are that talentless, useless and even stupid. The point now is to make the bezel tiny as possible, here is completely different story.
I think the same about the L series. Take a look at the SGS 3 for example, It has tiny bezel and thats good, apart from the look of the back of the phone. Compare it with the L series and you will see the difference. I do believe SGS 3 is ugly, but the L series is even uglier.
I should email this post to Thorsten Heins.
Hey, I m not trolling! I m a hardcore BlackBerry fan.

My BB is the only device of the few I own that I can truly use with just one-hand. Yeah, I'm one of those people who juggle multi-devices, but it's my BB that I'm quick on the draw with.

I will miss the trackpad, no but's about it. However, the many improvements in BB10 will no doubt help my grieving period to be a little shorter. :-)

Two major problem I'm seeing here.... it looks exactly like any other BB bold devices. Unlike apple Iphone, (which really has become a status quo by having one) this isn't like a symbol of status having one of these. If one (especially non-BB users) can't tell the difference between BB10 and other blackberry phone, I wouldn't imagine that it will attract too many customers. Being loyal to BB is one thing, but making BB user to purchase a phone which look not too different than previous decade of bb phones, and given the time we waited for this phone, it may not be a good idea. The second thing, which I believe is a major factor, is the screen size. BB must realize screen size is one of the biggest complain BB user have. If they can get rid of the top portion, where the black outline and where the blackberry logo is, and replace it with actual screen, it would be more decent. They can instead insert the logo at the bottome and the speaker at the bottom or on the sides. This way, they will be able to increase the size of the screen without having to sacifice the length of the phone,

I'm a BB playbook user and because of it, it perks my interest in BB devices and BB10. I am definitely excited for the L series but seriously can't say the same about this phone here.

This is where ideas don't match hardware. If you removed the top part and made more space for the screen, where would you put the speaker, front facing cameras, LED, flash, etc?

I am and have always been a heavy user. Fast typing is very important to me, as well as editing on the go. With the loss of the trackpad, it will no doubt, makes it MUCH MORE DIFFICULT to properly and quickly edit texts. This is an absolute downer :(

This is a pretty late comment, but I have to say that I am disappointed. They designed a good hardware interface for the current 9900 and so they should not be straying from that without good reason.

If there is solid evidence that a straight keyboard is better, then maybe I'll give it a try. Otherwise I'm starting to think about full touch....

I am not sure what folks mean by a 'straight" or "linear" keyboard. Does it mean the keys are flat rather then bezeled like the 9900 or the kbd itself is straight rather then curved, both, or neither ? I never like flat kbds and hope the new BB is not going down that road. Why would they?

My favorite device is the Bold 9900 followed closely by the Curve 8900. The new design just doesnt step it up, in my opinion. If you want to know how you can reinvent the rectangle, look at HTC. They have great designers. In my opinion.