No buttons on BlackBerry 10 phones? No problem.

By Joseph Holder on 8 Dec 2011 01:52 pm EST
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An idea of what BlackBerry 10 might look like on the Milan

Things are looking pretty good for the BlackBerry 10 Smartphones rumored to be released in 2012. A few weeks ago, we got our first look at BlackBerry London, and then a sneak peek at the BlackBerry Milan. Both phones feature a distinctive angular styling with some nice silver accents. Design aesthetics aside, one question on our BlackBerry tour of Europe remains prominent: where are the buttons?

Except for the keyboard, one of the most-recognizable aspects of a BlackBerry is its buttons. Call, menu, back, and end/home are so crucial to the BlackBerry experience that it's hard to imagine using a Research In Motion Smartphone without them. And no trackpad either? How in the world does RIM expect people to use these phones?

The buttons on a BlackBerry make it very easy to use the phone with only one hand. Everything is but a thumb movement away. Without the almost iconic buttons, will you be forced to do everything on the BlackBerry with two hands? Will people be required to do the BlackBerry Prayer every time they use the device?

As both a BlackBerry PlayBook owner and a Torch 9860 user, I have a little experience in using full touchscreen devices. I'm confident that after a short adjustment period, most people won't even miss those buttons - one-handed use or not.

Hardware buttons are how we connect with and use our BlackBerry devices. I don't even have to look at my Smartphone to know where the buttons are; my thumb instinctively knows how to use them. Learning how to use a BlackBerry without buttons won't exactly be a simple matter. After all, we've spent years getting to know how to use the dedicated hardware buttons, changing those ingrained behaviors won't happen overnight.

But you know, the world is always changing, and we BlackBerry lovers must change with it. Today's Smartphones have fewer and fewer dedicated hardware buttons. While the rumored BlackBerry Nevada might be our BlackBerry 10 device with a QWERTY keyboard, I rather doubt that it will have Call, menu, back, and end buttons.

The disappearing buttons may be a bit of an inconvenience for us old-school BlackBerry users. We all know that each of those four buttons does way more than just one thing each. For new BlackBerry owners - who may have never used a BlackBerry before 2012 - the button-less approach should actually be easier for them to learn. Without all those options to figure out, a button-less BlackBerry is just a little bit easier to use, a little bit more accessible, a little bit more appealing to the newcomer crowd.  

BlackBerry 10 Smartphones will be powered by the same QNX RTOS at the heart of the BlackBerry PlayBook, so I'm going out on a fairly sturdy limb in saying that the experience on the BlackBerry phones will be very much like the experience on the BlackBerry tablet. In fact many of the concerns with the button-less approach are alleviated by what I've seen in the PlayBook OS 2.0 developer build running on my tablet now.

No Phone button? How will I make calls?

Phone calls on the BlackBerry Milan

One of the nicest things about my BlackBerry Torch 9860 is that the phone functions of the device (did you know these BlackBerry Smartphones make calls, too?) are so easily accessible. Press the phone button on the left and you're immediately in the phone app. There you can "dial" a number, check your phone logs, and call a person from your contacts. Without a dedicated button, you'll have to scroll through screen after screen until you can find the right app to launch to make a call, right? 

Well, no, definitely not. I don't know how to break it to you, but the Android and iOS operating systems seem to be doing well enough without a dedicated call button. Some Android phones have a dedicated software button to open the phone app or the contacts; and of course, iOS has its phone app. I can't imagine that using the phone functions of a button-less BlackBerry Superphone would be any more difficult. Phone, just like Messages, is just another app, another way to connect with people.

The 2.0 PlayBook beta gives some insight as to how this won't really be a problem. At the top of the icon panes is an area where you can easily create shortcuts to as many as six most-used apps; though there will probably less available on the Superphone. This area stays visible for as long as you're on the home screen. Place a phone app icon in that area and you're never more than a swipe up and a tap away from making a call.

Okay, but how about ending a call or returning to the home screen?

Gesture to return to home screen

As much as I use my BlackBerry Smartphone, I'm a little surprised that the End/Home button hasn't worn out yet. I use that button all the time. If I'm listening to Pandora and want to jump back to the home screen to launch another app, I'm hitting that End button so fast I don't even think about. Without that button, how hard is it going to be to return to the home screen so I can experience some true multitasking goodness?

About as hard as flicking your thumb a centimeter into the screen. Again, the PlayBook gives us a clue about how this will be done. On the PlayBook, it's a very small gesture to return to the home screen; it's not like you have to drag your finger halfway across the screen. Starting outside the screen on the bezel (the border surrounding the screen), dragging a finger into the screen brings you back to the home screen. There, you can switch between apps or start a new application.

As for ending a call, I'm fairly certain there will be a button to tap in the phone application. After all, that's what you see in other full touchscreen devices that run iOS and the Android OS.

Menus and Options

Is this how menu options with work on BlackBerry 10

BlackBerry Smartphones are known for their options; I call this BlackBerry Choice.  With so many choices, quite a few options appear in the menu of most any application running on the device. The menu key also works as a sort of "I don't know what to do" button. If I can't figure out how to do something on my BlackBerry, I press the menu button. That's how I figured out how to add custom words to my dictionary.

RIM has already figured out a simplified menu system in the touchscreen devices of today. Tap and hold on the screen to get a few, most common menu choices. On every single one of these menus is the option to open the full menu.

Menus and options on the PlayBook are quite different. To access them, you swipe down from the top of the screen. If you're a two-handed device user, there's no problem with doing this on a phone. But single-handed use might be a bit of a problem for people without gigantic hands.

There's no way to be certain of this, but I imagine RIM's approach will be a hybrid of these two methods. Tap and hold to open a simplified menu, a second tap on the "Full Menu" button will open the drop-down menu from the top of the screen. The swipe down gesture would still work, but this full-menu method works well for single-handed use.

How do I go back?

Of all the keys absent from the BlackBerry 10 Smartphones, this is the one I'd miss the most. I've borrowed and played around with many friends' and family's smartphones and tablets. Whether that device is a Palm HP Pre or an iPad or an HTC Vivid, my first question is almost always: How do I go back? I can handle the singular button on the iPad; I love the card system on the Pre. But when I'm typing an email and then suddenly decide, "Meh, nevermind," how do I cancel changes and go back to the screen I was just on? On my BlackBerry, I just hit the back key and choose to discard changes.

I'm not certain how Research In Motion will handle this little conundrum. At first blush, it might seem logical to put a back button on every screen. Think about where that button would be in relation to your thumbs, though. Such a button would almost certainly be at the top of the screen while my thumbs are at the bottom. That doesn't seem to make a for a very easy one-handed use.

No, RIM will almost certainly have to conceive of a touchscreen gesture to make up for the lack of a back button. They've experimented with this before. When the Android app player for the PlayBook leaked, we discovered that RIM had added a bottom-to-side back gesture for backing up through the menus of that operating system. You had to start from an area in the bottom bezel and swipe through the screen to an area near the bottom of one of the side bezels.

In my experience, it did not work well, mainly because there didn't seem to be a lot of room for error. All too often, I found the gesture doing nothing at all because I did not swipe in exactly the right spot or opening the keyboard because I touched the bezel in the wrong space. 

RIM will have to put some thought and study into how to implement its back gestures. Removing this seemingly small button will have a great impact in how we use our Smartphones.

Some final thoughts

Using a BlackBerry Smartphone sans buttons will be a different experience from what we're all used to. Of course, using a new BlackBerry 10 Smartphone will be an entirely different experience in and of itself. Even being quite happy and experienced at rocking a full touchscreen device like the Torch 9860, I still have my worries about a button-less ‘Berry.

Setting aside my concerns about a back gesture, the disappearing trackpad doesn't exactly set my heart aflutter. I've mentioned before that my big ol' fingers make it difficult sometimes to select small items; I've even had trouble with it on the PlayBook. I'm not sure how easy it will be to use my large hands on a smaller-than-a-tablet Smartphone.

Still, full touchscreen devices are where the Smartphone market is headed, and that's where RIM needs to go. Removing the buttons is a Bold statement from the BlackBerry maker. It says, "Buttons? We don't need no stinkin' buttons." And it's true, we don't; but we might need a trackpad. Oh wouldn't it be wonderful if that BlackBerry logo at the bottom of the screen was really a touch-sensitive area in disguise? I doubt it; but we can hope. And we can dream...

Reader comments

No buttons on BlackBerry 10 phones? No problem.

96 Comments

You read that whole nearly 2,000 word article in two minutes? That's amazing. Look, touch is not only the future, it's the present as well. In the next few years, you'll be hard pressed to find a smartphone that doesn't support touch. If you don't like touch gestures, you'll just have to content yourself with a featurephone, not a Smartphone.

"You read that whole nearly 2,000 word article in two minutes?"
LOL!

Great article. Truth has to be told. I hate that hardware buttons are going away. Seems like only Windows Phone 7 device might be the last to have dedicated camera buttons. Even BlackBerry ditched the 2nd convenience key this year.

HAHA, its Wiki from Small Wonder.

Well I think the swipe from bottom right corner to center of the screen is call functions. Never used that on PlayBook.

Ever seen Dell Venue Pro?

Touch is the future?

Touch is great for a few kinds of interactions. It's a miserable pain in the neck for MANY others.

Why do you think there are so many different approaches to touch-screen keyboards? Because they're difficult to use, of course! If they were half as easy to use as a physical keyboard, we wouldn't need predictive text, swipe, or other novelty interfaces.

The trackpad is basically essential. Without that trackpad, I'd have tossed my 9800 in the bin inside a week.

There is a massive difference between being able to do something, and being able to do something well. (I can get from New York to Chicago on a bicycle, but it's much easier to drive a car!)

Touchscreens don't obsolete anything. The trackpad is still the best interface for hitting small targets, precision cursor movement, and many others. The hardware keyboard is *still* the most intuitive and comfortable way to enter text.

Listen up RIM: We want to keep our trackpad! Don't make us suffer!

LEARN FROM DELL VENUE PRO! Every bloody user switched to Dell Venue Pro said not having the trackpad makes it so much more difficult to use because the finger has to move to top of screen to select anything on top.

If RIM assumes that people won't miss the trackpad, then they can probably assume that people won't miss the whole BlackBerry experience.

"If RIM assumes that people won't miss the trackpad, then they can probably assume that people won't miss the whole BlackBerry experience."
+1

The trackpad is exactly what is missing on the PlayBook for my experience to be perfect. However, its' size permits the possibility of having a virtual trackpad pulled up from the bottom right corner *wink* *wink*... But when we are dealing with smaller phones here. Often I find myself having to get in close for an edit or a link I cannot be expected to pinch zoom with one hand.

The trackpad, whether hidden in the bottom bezel with a lit up contour *wink* *wink* or a traditional trackpad *single wink* is an essential part of the BlackBerry experience.

I don't like the idea that RIM is taking their BlackBerry and turning it into an iOS/Android bastard child; and not just on the hardware side but also on the software side. That's not innovation, its re-innovation which doesn't make any sense! It's RIMMovation!! And I dont like the looks of it!

And while I'm ranting... BlackBerry10?! Hell just kill the name altogether while you're at it. The only thing they could have done worst would have been calling it BBQ! Except of course everyone loves BBQ so maybe that would have actually worked!

BlackBerry10 is a lazy patch job of a name probably only picked so they could claim BBX is that same name but in roman numerals.

I don't mean to bash, nor am I a hater. I love what I can do with my 9800 and my PlayBook. But I hate thinking that I, a 25 year old consumer, could make better executive decisions in Waterloo.

Don't follow

Lead

*** edit : also, I don't really see an LED on this concept... I swear to god if they don't put an LED on their next gen. devices I'm driving to Waterloo and taking a s**t on their front lawn!!!!

I like the trackpad, hardware keys. Those are great. Then there are those that like touchscreen. I have seen people get a touchscreen phone and complain because they accidentally touch the screen or hang up?

Well I like touchscreen and have that with my 9900. Plus when I don't want to touch the screen I have my keyboard.

Then again it's great when people notice my phone and are surprized. (Pleasantly) I don't like following the sheep and I prefer BB.

Joseph, not exactly sure how long time needed to read 2000 words, but in this (article) case I didn't see point to get to the end. Probably make sense to consider that apples and oranges (berries) are different, and this also is valid trying to "push" for tablet experience to the phone. Size (of the screen) somehow matters. Also found a comment which pretty much goes to the point:

" teamfoster03 Thursday, Dec 08, 2011 9 hrs ago
for me the lack of trackpad and dedicated buttons is a FAIL. I buy blackberry because its faster to get work done.The dedicated buttons, trackpad and true keyboard are what makes blackberry a true work tool. Buttonless, trackpadless smartphones are toys for watching videos, playing music and games. "

The original Palm Pre was all gestures, save for one central button, and it worked fine, was intuitive and easy to use. Switching apps was miles ahead of BB7- there was true multitasking and little message notifications in every screen- you didn't have to tap anything to see who a message was from or even read the title! I am a fan of a trackpad, though not the optical one on my 9810. I don't like any pad that requires you to lift your thumb from the pad to scroll-like the optical type. The T-Mobile Dash had hands down the best track pad ever-(a 4-direction button D-pad) that provided fast and slow scrolling, precise cursor placement, as well as hyperlink highlighting which I found extremely useful. I'm only highlighting features I wish to be replicated in BB10 devices.

aehm... seriously? That's one big reason why I always go back to BlackBerrys! If there would be an android device with buttons like on my 9900 I would definitely get it!

What about the famous blackberry button. Appart from that great look I want the 'millan' but I want to see what's next with black forest and nevada, lisbon is the tablet

I like the way touch gestures work on the Playbook; they're actually very reliable and usually intuitive.

Even so, I'm finding I really love the touchpad on my Torch, and I make frequent use of it. I'm kinda bummed that they aren't looking to implement anything like that on the Milan.

When you have a phone with a super fast dual core processor powered by QNX, you won't miss the buttons. It'll be super simple to zoom in, select text, press a link when zoomed in, etc. The PlayBook is awesome and the new phones with a faster processor are going to be insane awesome!

but when you are typing email and you have to edit something, you will end up moving your finger back and forth from the top of the screen (which will be quite far once it's slide opened) and the keyboard. I don't see why I want typing simple emails to take even longer than now on a future BlackBerry device.

I mean there is nothing that stop us for creating an app with those button on the bottom of the screen, maybe there will be something already for those BBX phone (which could make sense)

I would have liked to see the classic home buttons and track pad buried underneath the touch sensitive display along the bottom of the glass. RIM devices are going epic next year.

It's isn't like they are gaining screen real estate by removing them. They are just planting a big Blackberry logo there instead.

The missing track pad is a bigger deal. After two years with an iPhone, I still am not as efficient navigating a document/email/etc as I was with the track pad. if they put the buttons on, they might as well stick the track pad back on.

Whatever they do, I hope they do the same thing for all devices, and don't fragment the BBX marketplace as much as they did with their previous devices.

Love my button-free PlayBook. As for a phone, I'll take the keyboard (and it's shortcuts) over buttons any day.

You forgot about the missing/reserved bottom-right swipe gesture. I still think that may have been held back so that it could play a key role on the phones.

Yea I'm going to keep hoping that they keep a touch sensitive trackpad area for us keyboard users....full touch may be where smartphones are going & I agree RIM needs to keep up with the trends, but they also have to release some devices for us old school guys & gals who have stuck with them due to loyalty to their keys ;)

yeah...and I think isn't it a bit late to play catchup now RIM? You are behind other smartphones not just by a mile but by a continent. Releasing a Dell Venue Pro with the BlackBerry brand on it is not going to be too exciting for people. If you are not bringing in new features that the smartphone market current doesn't have, releasing the phone is just redundant.

Releasing 10 underwhelming phones at the same time is still going to be underwhelming. Learn from mistake RIM. You are really going to sink with BB10.

So these new phones comes with the first page of the manual with the following:

"May cause the phone to reboot out of nowhere. This is normal not a defect. This is a new feature build in to all RIM devices. Thank you for choosing Blackberry."

I guess its also possible they integrate an optical trackpad just like on the P'9981, which would be just fine. Even if the whole UI would be based on gestures, it would provide old BlackBerry users and new ones a very interesting attract, so that BB can reach different types of customers.

Looks and sounds good but hopefully the battery with last longer than a day unlike the 9900 9810 that I had!!!! #be2the9780 roll on 9790

Maybe the bottom bezel will work as buttons for "single touches", might be annoying if you were going to swipe up on it and then changed your mind though. The center of the bottom bezel could even be used as a track pad.

Getting rid of the buttons should lower production costs, lower product defects and allow a larger screen without an increase in actual device size.

The experience is as I expected on Blackberry 10, but to be honest they need to loose the tactile keyboard, I've said it before, but really typing on touch keyboard is a lot faster, I say that having used a Blackberry Curve..

There is just too much compromise by adding an actual keyboard, not only will the device be thicker and heavier, I also suspect it won't be as solid and won't have that premium feel..

Android, iOS, & Windows Phone 7 devices all use touch based keyboards, It amazes me that people even consume any type of media on the current generation BB phones such as 9900, even if the primary target is business users, I just don't see why anyone wouldn't use touch based keyboard, the keys are a lot bigger and easier to type on, and you don't have to loose the screen real-estate... win-win, plus the Playbook has great touch feedback, it simulates touching real keys pretty well with the sound effects..

i know that most people like touch, but owning a playbook makes me really hate it. touch lacks precision: try put the curser inbetween the two letters that you have missspelled using a finger. touch is unpredictable: every time i try to scroll by touching a web page i inadvertantly open some link on the page and then have to to try to get back. touch is unresponsive. i get a sore finger whacking the screen trying to get it torecognize a touch. to wake up my playbook sometimes takes 3 or 4 swipes or to open a small text screen for typing in a username is just ridiculous. touch is slow. the keyboard shortcutson on my bb are so fast. with 4 'touches' of my shortcut keyboard i can go from home screen to an open new compose e-mail with recipient chosen. i know its all personal and subjective and i just bought my daughter a curve 9380 touch, but the playbook has taught me that touch is'nt for me.

Yeah you're right, but for now, BlackBerry, can't just abandon the physical keyboard just like that! The business market is still (or most part of it) with BlackBerry, and if RIM lets go the physical keyboard, with the dramatic situation of RIM, companies won't have any other reason to hang on to RIM. They have to do the transition progressively, and they are doing it quite well now.

Well said. Plus some of us aren't "old school". Either large
Fingers or there are some things some prefer a keyboard for.
Besides if people want to think a phone is better if you touch everything fine. I laugh when so many I see hang up on someone, turn the phone off when they want it on etc.

Some of us prefer a keyboard it's not old school it's different.

I don't follow the sheep of this world I make my own path.

Funny, the best selling feature phones all have keyboards. Why do you think that is?

Oh, yes. See, customers *want* physical keyboards. Smartphone manufacturers may be ignoring this, but they don't make up the majority of the cell phone market.

When my wife switched from Android to Blackberry, she noted the keyboard as a major advantage over her old phone even though it wasn't a consideration before she switched.

for me the lack of trackpad and dedicated buttons is a FAIL. I buy blackberry because its faster to get work done.The dedicated buttons, trackpad and true keyboard are what makes blackberry a true work tool. Buttonless, trackpadless smartphones are toys for watching videos, playing music and games.

or Android's samsung Galaxy Note, which operates very smoothly. I doubt this awkward piece of monstrosity would work as smoothly as Note.

Thanks RIM for making it also difficult to use for old-school BB users. You are not gaining consumer market, you are just trying to lose the business market.

I think it's smart. Smart as f**k. Imagine the bold 9900 without the call/menu/esc/end and trackpad. Great keyboard even more screen to touch. What a beauty concept. I'm all for RIM ditching buttons that take up what could be awesome screen space. We don't need them. I'll gladly take the day or two that it takes to change some habits. Some people fear change, and that's okay. They'll just get left behind.

Imagine the bold 9900 without the call/menu/esc/end and trackpad...

From best Blackberry ever, with a highly productive and intuitive UI to ... something great for leveling my coffee table?

Honestly, I simply can not see why so many people want to see perfectly good features removed. It's not like they're in your way or anything. If you hate the trackpad so much, don't use it.

... and do you really want to swipe to answer calls rather than just pressing a button? Why?

I can live without the buttons, but I'll really miss the Trackpad.

Always if switching between Touchscreen-BlackBerry and iPhone I know the power of a trackpad:
it's my own choice how to navigate: with gestures on touchscreen or using the optical trackpad.
so many times browser-sites are difficult to navigate with touch only.
or so many applications where I can navigate through different icons / buttons and getting a hover-text is much better instead of click on a button to see what it does.

I know: iPhone and Android is without buttons and trackpad, but why not providing both and give the user the choice. ...would make BlackBerry 10 Touch devices more unique Blackberry devices

Not having any of the buttons would take some time getting use to. Just be sure to have the notification LED and I'll be happy.

I love my blackberry. I use my bold every day. That said if they don't offer a keypad then I would probably end up with an android phone. I use my blackberry primarily for email, text, and phone calls. I don't think anybody makes a smartphone that does these functions as well as blackberry. The keypad makes sending emails much easier than a touch screen. If I lose the keyboard, blackberry will probably lose a customer. They need to remember that a lot of people still use a blackberry for work not play. They need to be different to keep this segment of the marketplace. If they lose the corporate customers they won't survive.

Informative.
We will have to see the exact solutions they will come up with. I think as long as a call is running, the call App will keep the following soft keys onscreen irregardless of what you are doing: Dial (which turns to Hold when connected), Mute and End.

I have the Torch 9800, and using that thing touch only does indeed suck. As well, the slider action makes it top heavy, which means using one hand also sucks.

It might be the way RIM implemented the touch screen, I find that using the touch keyboard on the iPod touch is much more responsive and accurate, as well as clicking buttons and swiping though pages. But again, this is with the 9800, which is no piece of art.

Is there any reason that the hardware buttons can't be replaced with software buttons along tthe bottom of the screen?

This would seem like a good transitional compromise.

Yes there is. My wife's old android phone had "touch" buttons instead of physical ones. They're way too easy to accidentally press -- and it's very difficult to tell if you've pressed one intentionally.

In short, they're a terrible replacement for physical buttons. They're novel, sure, and novelty is a cheap way to get a 'wow'. Unfortunately, when the novelty wears off, you're stuck with a terrifyingly poor UI for the rest of the device's life...

terrible looking phone. would love a 9700 or 9900 form factor with OS 10. Lose the buttons, lose your core customers.

I hate to say this in a way, but I wish that RIM would stop trying to be all things to all people, that should-be iPhone or Android users were to leave BlackBerrys alone, and that RIM would get back to making devices focused purely on business users who want maximum utility for communication.

The whole point of blackberry's with most models is that it has a keyboard. That's what separates it from the competition. So far 9860 is a fail, I should know I work for VAR dealer that ships hundreds of units a month and they have little to no orders for 9860. RIM going down the wrong path again! A co-worker of mine got the new Motorola Razr, the handset has issues with the software and because Motorola decided to follow Apple and others with a non removable battery my co worker had to wait for his handset to completely drain itself before the handset performed a re-boot. Sometimes following others is not the best solution. Physical keypads should remain that's one of the most important strengths of RIM but like my example of the batteries and re-boots companies don't always factor in certain things.

The reason I have the blackberry 9900 is the fantastic keyboard and messages app. If you take the keyboard away and try to become another iphone/android clone then why wouldnt I just get one of them to begin with? considering tehyre much further ahead in this field?

And btw, trying to encorporate a keyboard into a huge screen, as seen in the picture looks ridiculous, its about the length of a small car.

I hope there's a dedicated call/end call button... it's one of my annoyances with the iPhone. If I'm on a long call and I need to end it fast (the phone is locked at this point!), I have to click the home button, unlock the phone, type my password, go to the phone app, then hit "End Call" -- that easily takes 10 seconds! Way too long just to end a call! Or, if I'm in another app, I have to quit out of that and go back to the phone app just to end the call?

The dedicated call buttons are far more efficient. Even if they are just virtual buttons on a bezel and not hard physical buttons, those buttons have to be there!

Blackberry is trying WAY too hard to compete with Apple. They now seem to be trying to make the Blackberry's into iphone's. Look at the ear speaker for one. Also, getting rid the the main 4 buttons and the trackpad/ball that made Blackberry famous? Wow. I'm a HUGE BB fan and seeing these new phones makes me want to just get the BB 9900 and pretend they didn't even release these jokes. I don't think they realize how important the trackpad, back, end, call and blackberry buttons really are. Copying text for one. It's hard enough on a tablet with a bigger screen, waaaaaay harder on a 4 inch screen. They should stick to their own unique brand and stop following Apple because they don't really have a chance vs them. That is all.

Just got the 9860 a few days ago and 'm loving it . I previously had a 9700 and thought I'd never get away from the physical keyboard, but I had no problem adjusting. I don't however, think I would like the phoe as much without the track pad.

I read most of the comments here through out the day , and i gotta say some of you are pretty spot on with discussion. Now i don't use the QWERTY keyboard at all , and i can understand why some still want it. And i am ok if RIM wants to continue to use it for the 1st gen of the next gen phones, as a transitional thing. However , We are in a touch phone world. We need to buck up and move ahead.
Now getting rid the buttons , i am very much sure there is a master plan somewhere with these devices. But no other phone other than BB have them , and they all work fine. Some of you are saying you will go with android if they do this yada yada , Well i got news for you , i have gone to every single OS of phone except windows as finding one cheap enough is hard enough , However to the point , Email is FAR SUPERIOR on a BB , that is where i went back to. I liked the iphone , i liked the android OS , but they all FAIL in comparision to RIM/BB email fuctions. I like to get my emails at the same time my inbox gets them , not 5 minutes later , not 20 minutes later , and that is what i noticed on other phones. is delayed to get emails .
I had a HTC EVO 3d , and i had it check mail constantly , it actually got to the point where hotmail was giving me errors saying i check to many times. With a BB not at all. Remember that when you choose your next phone.

No trackpad !! come on every phone cept BB has no trackpad. i think we will all survive.

This is the future , take it or leave it. but for those who don't like it , i am sorry , you are a minority and thus have a small voice against a grander market with a much bigger voice.
Thats blunt and brutal but the truth .

If they infuse the functionality of the bezel like the playbook, they will have a hit and not a remix if that makes sense. Blackberry has to approach BBX phones with a few things in mind...design (innovative & unique), functionality (powerful, fast, dual cameras, etc.), apps (android and BB), unprecedented battery life, and a huge marketing ploy (I don't care if they need to utilize celebs who are BB faithfuls like Will Iam & Drake, do what it takes!) They need to make a phone better than Samsung, HTC, and Motorola notably. 2012 is your year BB if you take my advice! lol

'Phone is an app' .

Cobblers! THE Phone was around before apps, at one point, that's all a mobile phone could do and then increased functionality came afterwards.

It's like say that 'house' is just another part of the furniture.

If dialling on the new BBs is like the iPhone, I won't be getting one.

I find it hilarious that one day people will be bashing RIM for not coming out with phones that are competitive in the smartphone market, and the next, they are complaining about changes that RIM is finally making to ensure their phones are innovative again.

"They are trying too hard to compete with Apple." So then who exactly are they supposed to compete with? For starters, if you believe that a lot of RIM's business is in the corporate space, you're dead wrong. RIM's consumer base has far surpassed it's corporate customer base for a long time now; trust me, I know. And even in the corporate world, the landscape is changing and employees want iPhones and iPads now. So to say that RIM should stop trying to compete with Apple, is kind of a silly statement. If you want RIM to succeed, they NEED to compete with Apple (and Android, Windows Phone, etc.).

Now, I get the whole physical keyboard thing. I'm currently using a touch screen, but I fully appreciate the awesomeness of the 9900 keyboard. RIM understands that, and is going to offer products with physical keyboards that compare to the 9900 keyboard. But physical buttons and track pad are a "must have", really? Why is there such a need for redundancy by including these buttons? "I need the track pad because I can't select small links on the screen or copy and paste easily". Have you ever tried using an iPhone before? It's as easy as doing a quick pinch to zoom and tapping. Takes about the same amount of time that it would take for you to scroll the cursor with the track pad to highlight the link. Regarding copy and paste, if you have ever used an Apple product, you would know that with the right implementation it's a breeze to do.

Now that may sound really Apple fanboy-ish, but it's the reality of the situation. RIM is trying to significantly change here to compete with companies like Apple (like everyone wanted), and now all of a sudden people are complaining that they are going in that direction. What the hell do you want from them? These new phones will incorporate the best of BlackBerry in terms of things like BBM and email, but also put them on par with competitor products.

Just my opinion.

I have an idea, and I hope this is what gets implemented.

This is basically something that looks good and works great! What you basically have it the blackberry logo and all the buttons sort of transparent, like on the 9900 and 9360 BB keys, but more discrete, almost black but with a thin layer so light can pass through.

Take those and add lights under them, just like the LED, those lights will be of all colours. When you don't want to use the trackpad or BB buttons and want to use gestures, the blackberry logo glows a faint colour of your choice or pulses (can be changed in the options or turned off to save battery), when you want to use the trackpad and BB buttons (it would even be possible to disable the trackpad or the BB buttons separately in the options) all you have to do is swipe the bottom that touch sensitive from left to right or right to left and it will switch over to the next one, this way, when you want the trackpad, it'll be there, when you want to use bottom gestures, it'll be there. It could be changed that when you want to go to the main menu (bottom swipe up for the PlayBook) and it is in trackpad mode, it'll be a swipe from bottom right to left diagonally.

This is one way to have both and it'll look sleek as well as offering versatility.

Or, even a swipe from the bottom (left to right) will make a menu pop up on the screen where a trackpad and BB buttons will be available for use.

Also, I need a second convenience key. I had shortcut me on the left and Camera on the right. Now I have to go on the main screen because shortcut me still doesn't have a key available for me for some reason. Right convenience key is also harder to use when it's used in one hand.

Oh, and the LED could be the bottom swipe part or the top normal LED. Either one works.

But I hope that they can still bring the Nevada (Bold style) with actual keys and 2 convenience keys, a sick battery and who cares about thickness, I need my phone to feel solid and made for business, durability. If they can't put physical keys, do what I mentioned above.

Oh, and curve that keyboard and make it as soft as the 9900 (especially on the Nevada).

Thanks ;)

I am guessing ending a call will also be available from the notification area which can be accessed on the playbook by swiping in from one of the top corners.

I am a huge fan of bezel gestures on the playbook. I don't think not having buttons or a trackpad will end up being a big deal at all.

This phone looks so terrible. I may just rock my 9700 until the day I die. Either that or until T-mobile gets the iPhone. And I really was bb4life, but that phone is just silly.

So stoked! I can't wait till the BB ten phones start hitting the market. I'll be camping out to buy the London. =)

RIM what are you doing? Why follow the masses? Using a touch screen only candybar phone is a terrible experience and that's why I have a Blackberry. If you want this I have an idea for you. Go buy an Android and stick a Blackberry logo on it. Just pretend its a Blackberry. Ill be keeping my Bold 9930, thanks.

I love the gestures to get around on my PlayBook. Can't wait to experience it on a phone. BTW, that is one sexy phone.

I'll put this as clearly as I can, and I feel a lot of people might share this sentiment.

If RIM builds a QNX-y Bold 9900, touch screen + home row (keys and trackpad) + QWERTY keyboard (the keyboard they have now), I will buy it on launch day. I hate JVM errors, and I'd love a little Flash goodness.

If RIM abandons any of the above, my next phone won't be a BlackBerry.

Get rid of the buttons...all of them...RIM is on the right track

I don't want menus to scroll through...

Swiping is excellent...

If they get it right...people won't miss the buttons

We need one phone all-touch, one phone with a slider, and one phone with a keyboard

i don't mind really about all these Buttons , What RIM is trying to do is to do a new phone Experience for us , the only thing that i will miss is Trackpad (and there SHOULD be a LED light) :)

However for my i would make it like this : add a thick bottom in the keyboard that has a Trackpad in it , so when you type you can scroll through it , if you're browsing , Well when you slide In the keyboard because the Bottom in Thick and it should be also curved or something like that , it won't slide in and it would be almost like the 9860 =D !!

All this talk about the new BB10 devices, and the teaser images are getting me excited. This, is what building hype is all about, if only here in crackberry world haha I love my 9850, but I can't wait to get one of these new phones in my hands :)

This looks, and sounds great! I think RIM is moving in the right direction. The only thing I wish for is a new pearl type of phone!

I could see swipe/gesture replacing buttons and trackpad, but it would not be intuitive! (you wouldn't know that a bottom to right side swipe would be the "back' gesture) I guess one could fumble through icons and menus Android-style to make thing happen until one would learn the swipe/gesture short-cuts. I was never good at the Palm Pilot scribble-script thing (hey, that's why I switched to BlackBerry!), I hope the swipe/gesture thing isn't a return of that nightmare!

Here it goes: If this is indeed the case with BB10, WHAT'S THE POINT in staying with BlackBerry? I chose the BlackBerry platform primarily for its unique hardware interface first and ease-of-use, and software interface second.

If RIM gets rid of the ORIGINAL hardware interface on all BlackBerry's come OS10, what will make it SUPERIOR to WindowsPhone and Android (iPhone is not a option for me since it has NO devices with built-in keyboards)??? NOTHING.

By the time BB10 is released, WindowsPhone 8 will be out and I'm sure Android will have another major update released by then too. After owning a WindowsPhone device (Dell VP) for a couple of months, I was extremely impressed by the OS. But because the OS was "brand new" and it lost many small but very useful features that were available in previous versions, I left the platform for BlackBerry. Since Mango/7.5, Microsoft has about caught back up in features, and IF there were a decent WindowsPhone device with keyboard available now, I MIGHT switch. But the unique hardware interface of BlackBerry's has kept me.

I see no advantage that BlackBerry will have over WP or Android by the time OS10 devices are available, and those OS's will be ahead when BB10 is r released. So I might as well leave BlackBerry once I see with my eyes that this is RIM's "new" direction.

RIM, you will greatly disappoint a lot of people. But I guess your logic is that since Android and iPhone are selling well, "let's follow the pack and get rid of all the buttons!!!"

Silly wabbit.

the stupidest idea ever!! i really will not like blackberry phones anymore! no buttons and no trackpad? that really sucks. think i'll just keep my bold 9900 forever until blackberry realizes that the no button idea was bad and they put buttons again

My guess is that slab phones are CHEAPER to produce.... rather than the "future". There must have been a crossing point at which these big screens became cheaper than the manufacture of buttons.
I'm in my second week with my android phone.
I'm finding that communicating takes much, much longer on the Android.... and it requires that I fully focus on that screen visually.
On the blackberry, the most that was needed was a flashing glance at the phone.
At home... with lots of free time... sure, I prefer the Android. Actually, I should say that for almost anything other than email, texting, and talking.... I prefer the Android.
Buttonless phones are reeeeeeeeally bad if you have to get things done... other than watching YouTubes.
I miss my blackberry.
P.S. I have a Samsung Stratus. It does have a pretty darn good physical keyboard... but landscape sliders just don't do it.

This feels like another case of "design" by copying everybody else and claiming that's what the market wants. I'm not optimistic about how this design will work or about RIM's future.

I just returned to my home from a Xmas shopping outing. Had to stand in the very busy subway for over 20 minutes, with 3 or four shopping bags in my right hand and my Torch 9810 in my left.
This configuration allowed me to relatively comfortable read newspapers and emails and to even write and send some short text messages, without making too many mistakes, and without constantly being concerned of dropping the phone because of having to change grip.

This would have never ever worked with a touchscreen only device. I don't give a damn on who believes what is popular at the moment and what not. I want a phone with keyboard AND buttons, and I think there still is a big market for such devices out there (every other individual that I know prefers buttons & keys, even those who couldn't resist iPhones or Androids envy BB users when fast typing and blind operation is required).

If my preferred phone company RIM decides to no longer make such devices, I regretfully will look elsewhere (or maybe stock up on some of the current Bolds and slider-Torches, so they last a few more years).

touch is the future there is no doubt about that, but physical still is just as important which is why the 9900/9790 are great. to put it simply, i typed this using my playbook - great device, love it to bits - but when i wanted to scroll to the bottom to add a comment? swipe, swipe swipe swipe. on my 9700? hit 'B'. done.
in an email and want to reply? 'R'. Forward? 'F'. and the examples can continue...
i asked a friend about the scrolling to top or bottom on their crApple and they spent a minute or two trying to figure it out without swipeswipeswipeswipe.

My two cents. The bb browser sucks! There are apps that I have on my work issued iPad that I would love to have on my bb. I stay with blackberry because of the keyboard and dedicated buttons. I get that change can be good. If bb doesn't keep some phones with the keyboard and dedicated buttons - I'll move where the browser and apps are great.

The Torch 9810 seemed to be the starting point of a perfect world; full touchscreen, buttons and the slide out keyboard. HOWEVER, I'm a Sprint customer and will never go back to AT&T. Then, they bring the torch to Sprint AND IT'S A TOTALLY DIFFERENT PHONE! No keyboard. What kind of mess is that. I know RIM would have had better numbers on the Torch had they kept the same specs for all carriers. But I really believe the ability to navigate the phone with one hand, whether larger or small hands, is the signature mark of Blackberry. Without that, it's may not feel like a Blackberry and they will lose the "simple" market.

Touch gestures are where its at. I'm a webos fan, and whenever i pick up another phone i miss those fantastic little gestures.