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Newest BlackBerry 10 device could see the return of the trackpad and function keys

By Adam Zeis on 24 Feb 2014 08:20 am EST
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MWC has kicked off in Barcelona and while we still haven't heard anything about a new BlackBerry device, there are rumors that the BlackBerry Z3 should be getting an official announcement very soon. A new twist has been added to the mix as well however as now The Globe and Mail is reporting that we could also see a new full-QWERTY BlackBerry 10 device added to the lineup.

The biggest news isn't just another device however, but that the device wouldn't just be another physical keyboard model. It would see the return of the trackpad and function keys that have been sorely missed by many on BlackBerry 10 devices. The "belt" of keys resided under the screen and includes the trackpad, send, end, menu and back buttons. 

This would definitely make for an awesome BlackBerry 10 device as one thing that Q10 and Q5 users have noted is that they dearly miss the trackpad and function keys. It could also help make for an easier transition for those users coming directly from a BB7 device to BlackBerry 10. While BlackBerry hasn't confirmed the device, It would make sense for BlackBerry to go this direction and John Chen did also recently say that future devices “will have some of the features our power-users love”. 

So what say you — is the return of the trackpad and function keys a good thing? Or do you prefer to just stick with gestures on BlackBerry 10? Hit up the comments and let us know!

Reader comments

Newest BlackBerry 10 device could see the return of the trackpad and function keys

602 Comments

I don't understand why people think its one or the other. Trackpad does gestures, but smaller … like the Torch.

I would take a trackpad, virtual or not. Text selection is still painful on BB10.

Posted via CB10 on Z10

I don't neeed it I like as is. But BlackBerry needs to cater to the majority of users. If the other majority likes it fine.

Posted via CB using my Q10

I don't believe it's a good idea, we're supposed to be moving forward, but is there really such a thing? There's an old saying, "there's nothing new under the sun," perhaps??? Honestly I don't believe a track pad and a couple more buttons will lure a flood of BB10 consumers, sure, maybe a tricky, but not a significant number, if a physical keyboard couldn't . Maybe better, creative marketing focused on the advantages of BlackBerry might you think?...

Posted via CB10

I've had my Z10 for several months and am pretty well used to swiping. About the only times I miss the trackpad are when editing text near the edge of the screen or when trying to click a small linkon a busy browser screen (not all screens zoom well). I wouldn't want to give up screen size for a physical trackpad but there should be a reasonable virtual solution.

I was missing the buttons at the begin, but then, after one year, more or less, i don't miss them at all. Personally i like gesture over the BB10. I Hope, if they ever come back, they got to be colored as they were on the Bold 9700, i didn't like them white...

I went Berry once and i'll go Berry for ever!

Yes!!!
A trackpad would be gold :). The device don't have to be much larger - simply put the BlackBerry logo/name above the loudspeaker

BlackBerry is terrible at sticking to their guns. They are on to something with the buttonless, gesture based interface, but they keep making concessions to the reluctant legacy users. But, if BlackBerry actually wants to make this transition they speak to much about then stop taking two steps forward and one step back for the love of all that is holy.

Daily Old Radio Shows! The only Channel that actually offers you a source for entertainment. C0012487D

Track ball was the worst, please leave it in past!
It's so nice the way if is now please do not bring the track ball back ugggg

Posted via CB10

I think this is some what good idea. Although, they should have done this instead of making that new bb os7 device. Could've been out and making transitions already for the people wanting to upgrade to a similar os7 phone but greatly different OS.

Speed it up!

I don't know how this will all turn out but I've used both legacy devices, Z10 and now Q10 and I do not miss the trackpad or menu/call/end buttons at all. As many have said it just takes away from the real estate of the touch screen on a keyboard device. The only thing I would say is, unless the screen is bigger or the whole phone is redesigned to incorporate these - maybe be best to leave it off altogether.

Posted via CB10

Wrong Mr Chen, awfully wrong. Instead of pushing somehow the "flagship" model (Z30) in the markets - Orange Romania doesn't carry and announced they will NEVER carry the model, focus on small time strategies - Foxcon low cost devices. Orange says that the Z30 is far to pricy for the specs, it will stock up again like z10 did, therefore decided not to carry it, even on the online store. Weak sales and marketing Mr Chen.

I would say to just keep it all gesture based. At first I wasn't too comfortable with my all gesture based Z10 but once I got use to it I definitely prefer it over the track pad device I had before. I agree with others that the track pad and buttons would just take up precious screen realestate. Why can't we just have both because some people prefer the gestures and some prefer the track pad.

Posted via CB10

Trackpad and BB buttons BIG YEAAAAA!!!! Other buttons i can see being used in BB10 in intelligent ways / options vs touchscreen controls.

CURSOR CONTROL would be awesome!!!

IMO, well, the market has spoken. I thought it was reported last quarter that BB7 devices are outselling BB10 handsets 3-to-1 (but maybe I’m mistaken, not sure). And as the G&M article points out, BB’s “loyal business and gov’t customers...instead opted for older, more familiar phones like the Bold.”

BB has not filled this void in the regulated/enterprise marketplace for those who insist on a physical keyboard. The Q10 is beautiful device and I think rivals the iPhone in build quality. But it’s not selling. I love the Q10, but for me it’s just not as easy or efficient to use w/o the trackpad, IMO. Could they do a belt of permanent virtual keys (like the current camera, phone keys), so it doesn’t look so dated (and is it even possible to make that little section of glass function like a trackpad?). (And not sure if a trackpad would interfere with the “swipe up” gesture, and it would increase fragmentation for the devs, but anyway the market has spoken.)

They need to fill this void. The Q10 has that premium quality look and feel. IMO, keep the Q10 design (with the black and silver metal/steel/aluminum build material), but make it slightly wider (increase the keyboard size just slightly), thinner, and taller with a virtual belt/trackpad and a larger screen. Keep its current premium quality and design. Now, just increase its efficiency with the trackpad/belt, IMO.

Dumbest thing I've heard in looooong time. People have no problem with ios or Android without a track pad. I suspect that the people wanting a track pad are the same people who still use flip phones.

Posted via CB10

You got to be kidding. This is moving backwards. don't do it BlackBerry the gestures is more effective and efficient. If you don't bring back the trackpad they will adjust. I say it again, don't do it.

Posted via CB10

Can't really see the benefits. It's just taking up potential screen space. I prefer virtual keyboards

Carlos

Posted via my AWESOME BlackBerry Z10

At first glance this sounds like a great idea. Heck, at first I wished it had em back too. But wanting them back isn't the same as having them back. The trackpad and buttons are nice and convenient, but doing everything is so much faster with touch and gestures. I know if I had the trackpad from the start I'd probably have just stuck with those and missed out on other features that are a real improvement. It's almost like being at a party with no one you know, you feel uncomfortable and just want to leave and go back to what's familiar, but you stick around, make some new friends and end up having a good time. You could have went back to what was familiar, and it would have been easier, but you found something new and you're glad you did and glad you didn't leave for what you knew was less, but comfortable.

Posted via CB10

For me it's not a matter of ease or convenience. The software was not designed for it. You can't just attach a steering wheel to a horse and make it work better. A steering wheel may be better than a bridle but the fact remains that a horse was not designed for a wheel. You can't just add a trackpad to something that wasn't designed for it. How would you peek with a trackpad for example?

Son of a --! I'm pretty happy with the whole screen being a trackpad and now we're going back? Crap on a cracker.

Horrible idea... I love the current implementation of BB10 and would hate to see these keys forced back upon us.

As a Q10 user I can never think of a single time a trackpad or extra buttons would have been of benefit.

outstanding! if they build a Q device with the navigation buttons and trackpad again, i'll happily upgrade from my Q10. i miss them tremendously; they really help with one-handed operation.

Seems like regression to me. One of the things I dreaded when moving from BB7 to BB10 was the lack of physical buttons, but when I started using BB10 I realized it's designed so well and in such a way that those buttons are unnecessary. Adding them back just seems a redundant waste of screen space.

Posted via CB10

Seems like a dumb idea to focus on the few remaining BlackBerry BB7 customers that are out there still. Most of them will be in India, Africa or Indonesia and they didn't buy the phone for the keyboard. Those executives still on BB7 aren't there because of the trackpad either. The executives that have already departed the premises are not using a trackpad or function keys... they've already made the switch to glass. Put it on the screen... as an option.

Coming from someone whose always-cold fingers don't register on the touchscreen unless I breathe on them first...I would gladly welcome the trackpad at least. I love my Q but hate having to use a stylus when the temp drops below 60 degrees.

Posted via CB10

Whoa! That's so #TBT! Haha
I've got used to not having the trackpad and those keys on the Q10. Idk if I can go back to that.

Posted from my BlackBerry Q10 on AT&T

Yes, trackpad and function keys are the lifeline of many BlackBerry users, we miss them dearly!!

Please, restore them with the new devices. Waiting for Chen's announcement now..!!

Don't need the physical keys, screen space is small enough already.

Posted on my BlackBerry Q10, because I'm so Bloody Special.

Totally agree. The full keyboard and trackpad was what make Blackberry really different and productive. 80 millions customers agreed. Then they launched BB10 without it and they are tying to barely survive. Returning this functionality is a no brainer, regardless what mindless people who playing angry birds and surfing facebook is regarded as been "busy". Get real Blackberry and return the keyboard, function buttons and trackpad (and "convenience keys") and my next phone will still be a blackberry. And stretch the dam screen like in the concept I saw floating around for good measure. Take that Isheeple!!!

This would be a step backwards IMO. Don't focus on the past. BlackBerry needs to be innovative in order to be successful. I wouldn't buy a new phone with a physical track pad on it.

Posted via CB10

Another step back. They don't need to try and appeal to people who "like it the way it is" with BBOS and instead push forward with what BB10 is all about.

Posted via CB10

I miss the function keys. If I wanted a large screen I would have stayed with iphone or android. Hell, even now I could get the Z30 if the larger screen is what I want and still stay with BB10.

Posted via CB10

If you can't learn to use BB10, your brain must be the size of a walnut. It's so simple and elegant. There is no need for a trackpad or back button.

I had a dream about this... Way before I checked crackberry and read this post. Fasinating!! :)

I would definitely WANT it. I'll love this bold, I'll love the Q10 I have, blackberry all the way. :D

Track pad was very problematic and I don't see a fix for this. This would be like walking backwards in my opinion. You're bound to trip eventually.

Posted via CB10

The trackpad is important. Right now moving the cursor to right where you want is kinda PITA, especially when you want the cursor to be right at the edge of the screen.

The function buttons are unnecessary since swiping down from the top is fine as it is.

Being that, I'd say use the IBM Thinkpad idea, have a trackpoint (not pad) smacked right in the middle of the keyboard. That won't occupy anymore screen estate as it is. Remember how people are willing to switch to Q30 (rumored to have a larger screen size).

Posted via CB10

Returning the trackpad is good. Right now it is a PITA when you're trying to position the cursor at the edge of the screen.

I wouldn't need the function buttons since swiping down from the top is fine as it is.

That being the case, perhaps we can borrow the IBM Thinkpad idea -- having a trackpoint.

Posted via CB10

This is the real reason they're bringing it back. Source: Globe and Mail. (Canada wide news paper)

BlackBerry had been keen to update its user experience after being beaten up for lagging the iPhone. But BlackBerry 10 phones were too much of a departure from past devices for diehard users. Gone was BlackBerry’s trademark “belt” of five function buttons between the screen and keyboard, including a trackpad and the “back” and “menu” buttons that had become as familiar to users as the space bar. Other familiar features and shortcuts from older devices no longer worked. Frustrated BlackBerry devotees returned the new phones in droves and ordered older BlackBerrys instead. The handset business was already unprofitable; thanks to the BlackBerry 10 flop, now it had become the source of billions of dollars in writedowns. “We missed one step, which was to educate the market up front” about the changes, Chen says. “We [thought] that if we built it, everybody will love it.”

Posted via CB10

Returning the trackpad is good. Right now it is a PITA when you're trying to position the cursor at the edge of the screen.

I wouldn't need the function buttons since swiping down from the top is fine as it is.

That being the case, perhaps we can borrow the IBM Thinkpad idea -- having a trackpoint.

Posted via CB10

Returning the trackpad is good. Right now it is a PITA when you're trying to position the cursor at the edge of the screen.

I wouldn't need the function buttons since swiping down from the top is fine as it is.

That being the case, perhaps we can borrow the IBM Thinkpad idea -- having a trackpoint.

Posted via CB10

At this point I don't care what they do so long as they keep making keyboard devices called BlackBerry. I can't live without this thing.

Posted via CB10

I think the virtual track pad would be sweet, I would use it all the time. Mostly for scrolling but most importantly for high lighting text. The 10.2.1 works good but the old track pad was faster and more accurate!

At the bottom of the screen were they put the back button there is room in the middle for a virtual pad. Don't always need it with the keyboard up.

This could be easily set up in the settings for so everyone gets what they want.

I really hope they don't put the old physical buttons back!

Swiped on my z10 (and loving it)

Posted via CB10

I think the no Trackpad is fine, better than fine, it's great, no buttons means nothing breaks and doesn't work then you need to replace it, my point is less buttons means nothing to break, well except for the screen

I go for no Trackpad and buttons

Posted via CB10

I think the virtual track pad would be sweet, I would use it all the time. Mostly for scrolling but most importantly for high lighting text. The 10.2.1 works good but the old track pad was faster and more accurate!

At the bottom of the screen were they put the back button there is room in the middle for a keyboard up.

This could be easily set up in the settings for so everyone gets what they want.

I really hope they don't put the old physical buttons back! But of course if the new QWERTY phone has touch sensitive key pad then they could just integral the tracking there.

Swiped on my z10 (and loving it)

Posted via CB10

I'd like to have physical buttons for answering/making phone calls but not the trackpad because Blackberry trackpads had lots of hardware problems IMO.
We should acknowledge that BB10 should find a better way to access the Call App from the HUB because when you are in the HUB you don't want to go back to the apps menu to hit the Call button. Physical function keys would work much better coz you can access the Call App anywhere inside the OS.
I can't imagine Blackberry bringing physical function keys to full-touch BB10 devices like Z10 and Z30. Maybe its best for BB10 phones with physical keyboards like the Q10.

I think the virtual track pad would be sweet, I would use it all the time. Mostly for scrolling but most importantly for high lighting text. The 10.2.1 works good but the old track pad was faster and more accurate!

At the bottom of the screen were they put the back button there is room in the middle for a keyboard up.

This could be easily set up in the settings for so everyone gets what they want.

I really hope they don't put the old physical buttons back!

Swiped on my z10 (and loving it)

Posted via CB10

No! Why i feel as no buttons are Soooo cool and different one of my favorite parts is the swipe to unlock

Posted via CB10

I moved from a Bold 9900 to a Q10, while the two devices look similar their functionality and operation is completely different. If you want to retain your users then you need to make the transition easier for users to stay with BlackBerry than to change to another product. In this case, BlackBerry really screwed up. They still need a device to simplify the transition for users.

Posted via CB10

I missed them at first, but after a year on BB10, I don't see the point. The swipe gestures work faster once you're used to them

Posted via CB10

Smartly re-implementing the Track pad is like Microsoft Windows returning to the Start button. Damn these pesky experienced end users wanting useful features!

Posted via CB10

Home screen button and track pads are so 2006. Let's not go backwards again, humans will adapt and gesture based is the future!

Posted via CB10

Well I always had problems with my trackpad getting stuck so maybe they could fix that! Lol. Would be nice though

Posted via CB10

Unlike a lot of the bb10 users, as stated in the article, I never missed the trackpad and menu buttons. I think the gesture change is one of the best additions to the blackberry phone. Regular phone users always asking to use my phone really hate the fact they don't know how to maneuver/snoop around it like they want.

Posted via CB10

OH PLEASE BlackBerry!

If you bring the nifty track pad et.al back, also include the programmable function key!

This would be a home run, guaranteed.

who really cares anyway? they won't release it in the USA for years. scanning the convention news BB was a no show.

Listen up.

All BlackBerry has to do to prove the success in carrying on the popularity of track pad/buttons vs. None, is offer two identical models with and without.

Survey done. What do they have to loose at this point?

My money sits on the over whelming majority picking the tactile track pad and associated legacy buttons al-la Bold 9900.

Crackberry! Bring on the survey!

Either it's back or not, the trackpad, I mean, I'll get the new "Q"... Thumbs up!

Posted via my BlackBerry*Q10, Germany - SQN100-3, Running OS 10.2.1.2102

I like having the track pad and the belt. It brings back single handed use as well precision selects. Its a freaking nightmare when you have to re-position the phone in your hand so you can swipe down from the top to get the settings menu...
I'd like them to bring back the mute and lock buttons on the top, and the quick charge contacts/ wireless charging..

Noooooo please don't add a track pad. I love the way they designed the Q10!! There's nothing wrong with it. A trackpad would be pointless. It's extremely easy to move around the phone people you just have to get used to it.

Posted via CB10

I hope they don't add the track pad. The new phones are great. The Q10 is the best phone I've ever had. It's perfect. The trackpad won't do anything it's not worth it.

Posted via CB10

I think this is a bad idea. The sooner people get accustomed to using gestures, the better. Introducing old design won't help. The trackpad and function keys would be useless on BlackBerry OS10. I have used the Q10 and loved it. I had no problems getting on without the trackpad.

Tap. Tap. Tap-tap-tap (Is the cursor in the too, left corner yet). Tap-crap! I hit the back icon and my entire post's gone.

All of this looking forward and ignoring their own user base is part of why they were walking the company off of a cliff.

Doing this is a good idea.

Adding these will not make the gestures go away. They can easily do this without sacrificing screen size by making the device a half an inch taller.

Posted via the Android CrackBerry App!

Really don't miss it on my q10. Love the swiping features which I knew would be great after buying a playbook. Really don't need the buttons.

Send from my awesome Q10 which I will only replace by a Q30!

Posted via CB10

The slider was the best BlackBerry ever: full screen And Full keyboard. Would be very happy to see this coming back. With the new computing powers this would make a "killer"phone.

Posted via CB10

I don't care as much about a big screen on a phone as I care about the functionality of having a trackpad and call/menu/back/end buttons. Blackberry needs all the device sales it can, so why not try to win over the OS7 diehards?

Nooooooooooooo. Bad ideal!!! Back to track pad is Bad... keep th Qwerty and have a larger screen that's all Good. Just like iPhone with a Typo keyboard

Posted via CB10

I don't miss the "belt" keys at all. Leave the phones as is. It feels like a certain group of ppl can't get used to new innovative features of bb10 so we keep moving backwards. First the call screen now possibly this. There's only a few gestures and we use 1 like 75% of the time

Posted via CB10

This is a huge mistake, a step backward, unless they have new innovations to use the keys. E.g. Fingerprint scan, or whatever beyond my imagination.

From the perspective of a longest-time keyboard BlackBerry user and app developer.

Lindsay leaving BlackBerry makes me think more of this as a mistake and a step backward, unless they show me the Innovations with these keys.

I cheered for the recent leaves of so called BB executives including that bbm guy. But I am feeling so sad about Lindsay's leave.

BlackBerry 10, the full touch design in particular, definitely delivers the best smartphone user experience. I consider this the single most significant advantage BlackBerry 10 has over the competitions.

If this is gone with Mr. Lindsay the future of BlackBerry is cloudy - with these old day's keys.

Yeah, probably too late for many ... I took advantage of the TM $200 rebate towards a Galaxy ... imagine getting $200 for my backup phone, 9360! Still have my 9900, and MIGHT, underscore MIGHT try a BB 10 with qwerty (a la 9900), trackpad anc function keys. Although the Android apps and functionality I've fallen for would be hard to release

It is not interesting from me that I am perfectly adapted to a full touch screen devise but I am sure that many people will love it !

Don't give up screen space - shift the search icon to the side, and put a virtual trackpad in its place (on Z10, Z30). Allow us to customize the bar, those who need it keep it - others can remove/replace it.

Miss the trackpad:
1) quick and accurate text selection.
2) Swiping Screen = 2 to 3 inch movement … with a trackpad is less than 1/2 inch.
Hmm, Which is more efficient?? Not to mention discrete - less thumb drama, more professional.

Yes, physical key board with physical track pad. Bring it on. I am just not sure I can take any more waiting and what if's though. I want something now, soon, pronto, yesterday even.

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