A quick demo of the new BlackBerry 10 keyboard

By Michelle Haag on 1 May 2012 10:33 pm EDT
It's been said multiple times that the first BlackBerry 10 device will be full-touchscreen. This doesn't sit well with a lot of people that love their BlackBerry for the QWERTY keyboard, as many are hesitant to switch to a device without physical keys. Understanding this hesitation, Research In Motion has poured a lot of time into making the BlackBerry 10 on-screen keyboard experience as phenomenal as the physical keyboard is. In the video above from the BlackBerry World 2012 keynote session you can see not only predictive text and gesture-based control, but some other "key" features that will be present in the upcoming OS.
Michelle Haag Michelle Haag "@_Miche11e_ and C0001B3B5" 1214 (articles) 1695 (forum posts)

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A quick demo of the new BlackBerry 10 keyboard


I'm not entirely convinced yet, I guess I'll need to wait and actually use it before making my final call.

So much for the BB Challenge Council's extreme keyboarding challenge...actually that would be a good video the new touch keyboard in an extreme keyboarding challenge!

Kev, have you tried this with the Alpha device yet:
"All Smartphone keyboard comparisons should be conducted while riding in the back of a taxi cab. Guess who'd win every time?"

I know the current ads are geared for BB7 but when an ad talks about try typing 1000 emails on a touchscreen it kind of flys in the face of what RIM is doing now.

BB smartphones are all I know so I really really hope this new keyboard is good!

If you want to test this keyboard, you can try using swiftkey x on an android device. It has the same auto prediction and swype to delete. The only thing it doesn't do is have that swype down gesture to get to the symbols menu which is a pretty nice feature.

I am excited for this. Typing on android and iphones gives me a headache. This seems to be a good substitute for a physical keyboard.

this single piece may have just kept me from switching come the fall. i was soooo worried about the keyboard but that looks amazing!

Wow this is impressive! Interesting that nobody thought about this even if it seems such a simple idea...

The idea has been already implemented by a company called swiftkey. They have had a keyboard like this for android for a while.

I hope no one steals that idea and tell the world that its their innovation

Time for RIM to protect its ideas :) This is really great!

You are correct. SwiftKey has been doing this on Android for years, and these idiots who know nothing call it innovation on Blackberry. They either licensed it or stole it from SwiftKey(I assume they licensed it like the playbook). It just goes to show though how out of the loop Blackberry users really are these days. I hope Blackberry makes a comeback because the market needs competition but with users like these I'm not sure it's possible.

Yep, it does look like SwiftKey but it is not exactly like it.
It has improved on the idea and used the gestures idea inherent in QNX to make a new experience.

WebOS and QNX do look alike in their UI presentations but they definitely aint the same.

Wait, what am I missing here? Swift key gives you text prediction at the top and you tap it. RIM is giving you various options based on the next letter so you swipe the word up?

I understand that the prediction may have come from Swift key, but the addition of words is an entirely different mechanism.

You are missing the swift key feature that inserts the predicted word when you push the spacebar. Swift key has the swype left to delete feature as well. It is CLEARLY not a RIM invention, just an adaptation of existing software.

Since SwiftKey is being used now for the text prediction on the Playbook, they likely licensed it.

What's different about it is the way the text prediction works (instead of all the word suggestions at the top of the keyboard, they are tied to the keys); the use of gestures (to change they keyboard layout or slide the words you want to your text); and most importantly of all, the way the keyboard will 'learn' where you hit keys.

So, what is unknown is did RIM build these new features themselves, or ask SwiftKey to do it and what rights does it have over these new features.

To me, the most important is the 'learning' aspect. Currently SwiftKey focuses on learning which words you type and not how you type. As a result, I still can't stand typing on my S2 no matter it being the stock keyboard, Swype, or SwiftKey (though I really like the way you can customize things in SwiftKey like the duration of haptic feedback and the time before the second function of the key kicks in). Nothing is as good as the keyboard on the 9900.

So, if RIM has found a way, either on their own or in partnership with SwiftKey, to do a better virtual keyboard, then great.

And hopefully, those 'unique' elements can be protected and kept just for blackberry. Maybe that isn't likely but would give BB's an edge.

Hi idiot!

Swift Key does the predictive part not the swipe up part which is the part people are excited about. Evey on screen keyboard will learn how you type duh!

Speaking of out of the loop. The Playbook already has predictive text and learning. GUess who is out of the loop Mr. Marine IDIOT!

This might get me off of a physical keyboard for the 1st time and be happy about it. Time will tell for sure. RIM, I sure hope you patent the hell out of this one because it looks like the best on screen keyboard that I've ever seen!

Lol...how can they patent something they didn't invent? That would be like apple trying to patent Voice commands when they bought a company who created Siri.

Swiftkey is the company partnering with RIM to adapt an existing android keyboard to blackberry.

Well done RIM, Well done. Really impressed with the keyboard. Looks like they really thought this through and want to offer the best writing experience on a touch device. Sad thing is, in a couple of weeks the android and iOS app stores are gonna be flooded with a cheap copy of this idea.

I like this keyboard and a lot of the features are quite an improvement over the touchscreen keyboard on the Playbook.

One thing I really hope they change:
Add small numbers/symbols on the alphabet keys so I know where the key I want to hit will be once I switch from alphabet to numbers/symbols. That's one thing I HATE about the Playbook keyboard. It annoys me every single time I use it. I know it distracts from the "clean" look of the keyboard, but it sure would help me type faster...supposedly a key goal.

One minor issue I noticed:
When he switched to the numbers/symbols screen the predictive text words from the alphabet screen were still visible. They should probably disappear when you switch away from the screen with the keys they are predictions for. EDIT: after re-watching the video I noticed this didn't always happen. Right around 45 seconds is when I first notice it in this video.

I'm an old dog....and I just can't get excited about a phone without a physical keyboard. It's cool seeing people using and being good at using cool features like the ones in the clip above...but I don't think i'd be much good at the predictive text and i'd probably never use it. :(

I read somewhere today that RIM confirmed that BB10 devices with a physical keyboard would be released.. just not until after the full touch devices. Oh well, I'm lovin my 9900 right now.

Hi @mnhockeycoach99,

Alex from RIM here. I just wanted to chime in to clarify that BlackBerry 10 will be offered on products with physical keyboards in the future.

For the latest news coming from BlackBerry World this week, stay tuned to our Inside BlackBerry Blog: http://bbry.lv/cWR2rg.


Alex, RIM Social Media Team

That's good to know, Alex.

I have to say, though, that the 9900 is more or less exactly what I was looking for when I bought my 8900. The 9900 even has FLAC playback (which I'm rather excited by).

The lack of FLAC support was my main and only "real" complaint about the 8900 (apart from the web browser and gummed up trackballs). Older BB devices (83xx) supported FLAC, and the audio chip of the 8900 did hardware decoding of FLAC, but BBOS 4.6/5.0 didn't support the codec. I still don't understand why RIM didn't throw in those lines of code...

Thanks, anyway, for "bringing FLAC back" in BBOS 7 (I wouldn't know if it was on BBOS 6 or not; I didn't like the looks of any device that ran that OS). I'll be looking forward to seeing what "real" keyboards RIM has in store for BBOS 10...

I am also an aged canine, and I own a PlayBook. You are correct; the predicted words pop up as you type, but I completely ignore them as I concentrate on hitting the right key next.

I just hope that the BB10 version of SwiftKey backs WAY, WAY off on the aggressive auto-replacement of what you type with what the keyboard thinks you meant to type. Replacing "dont" with "don't" is necessary, but replacing "ka" with "karaoke" is unforgivable. It wastes my time spent correcting the keyboards "corrections," it forces me to spend even more time paying attention to what I just typed (instead of what I'm typing next) looking for unwanted changes, and if I do miss one of its annoying mistakes, I send off an email containing gibberish. It's supremely annoying, at best.

For RIM's sake, I hope that the keys are sized more like the Storm than the Torch.
The Torch keys ARE TOO SHORT, and I have average fingers. This has been verified and multi-posted in CB.

Sold, I was going to wait for a Bold BB10 phone but might have to change my mind after that, plus with using a PlayBook now, I might be more use to that. Really excited about the BlackBerry future.

It's already been confirmed that SwiftKey was partnered with to bring predictive typing to the Playbook. This just takes that implementation and makes it even better! I've used SwiftKey on my SGS, and it does make typing easier to do without a physical keyboard. But the suggestion bar across the top can be distracting, and can slow you down while looking for the right word. The way this is implemented, it looks a lot more integrated. I like how the words are right on the keyboard itself linked to the first letter of each suggestion. You don't have to look away from the keyboard to use it. I'm looking forward to trying this out!

I do agree, as I use my IPod Touch to write this. However I can't get past the physical keyboard. I find it excellent, would rather have silent keys on my Curve 9300.

Perhaps RIM will buy SwiftKey?

Cash-rich RIM has a habit of buying companies that provide key technologies to BlackBerry devices ;)

1. I hope that the Home Button is on BB OS10 devices!!
This is by far the biggest productivity loss, if there is no physical Home Button to go back to HomePage. How many times do we press the Home Button? Countless times each day! I may well avoid BlackBerry Devices if there is no such physical Home Button.

2. I'm hoping for a *horizontal* landscape type slider device with 4+" LCD Screen ;)

3. Replaceable battery (2 batteries will last through the day no matter what).

4. Reasonable professional investment apps.
(I personally don't care about game apps).

If above happens, I'm in for BB OS10 ;)

I don't understand why you absolutely need a physical home button. If you've ever used the PlayBook then you know all you need to do is swipe up from the bottom of the screen and you have access to the home screen.

Apple has got people thinking that the only way to do things is with a physical button, it will take some time to make people think other wise.

Another iphone look alike, should go over real well. Wake up Rim, we need function, not gimmicks. A touch screen phone may be fine for people with pencil sized fingers but for those of us with larger hands it does not work.

It's a touch screen and Rim has said the first BB10 device will be touch screen and that makes it an iphone clone. The only way it sells is if they cut the price way below Apple, otherwise it is DOA.

Why not incorporate this new keyboard in the PB now or NEAR future if it is complete as a way of user introduction and create more buzz and excitment for the release of BB10. Intro on the PB will or should satisfy those with larger hands and so on and give RIM instant feedback on user experience before the new phone hits the streets.

I was going to buy a 9900, but then I was just going to wait until the fall for a BB10 device. Now I'll need to hold out until the first BB10 with a physical keyboard. I bought my Glalaxy S the day it came out and I've learned to hate virtual keyboards. I use Swiftkey just to tolerate my phone these days.

Does the new keyboard allow all of àáâãäåæçèéêëìíîïðñòóôõöøùúûüýþÿßāăąćĉċčďđēėęěĝğġģĥħĩīįıijĵķĸĺļľŀłńņňʼnŋōőœŕŗřśŝşšșţťŧțũūŭůűųŵŷźżž to be typed, or is BB broken for European (MES-1) accented letters?

I'm in the "if there's no physical keypad, I'm not upgrading" group. I currently have a 9810 and I love it, but using the touch pad just doesn't do it for me. Withing a physical keypad, the phone doesn't differ much from the I-phone or Droids and those have better apps.

Here's hoping a developer will create a case with a physical keypad attachment or that RIM comes out with a slider.

So my question is how long can we live on OS7 while waiting for a keypad BB?

Wow that looks ridiculously awesome! I've never had a BB without a physical keyboard so I did not expect to be saying this but I can't wait for this VIRTUAL keyboard!! I have a feeling that if BB10 comes out ON TIME, RIM will return in a big way...

CNBC is now reporting that there will be a BB10 device with a physcal keypad.

Well, that's good news...nothing wrong with people having the option of both. Whether you like it or not, it's good to have both available. Even Android has a few devices with physical keypads.


"Two big topics he set the record straight on were: 1) RIM isn't abandoning physical keyboards. There will be physical keyboards on future BlackBerry 10 devices. 2) Thorsten never said RIM was going to get out of the consumer market. He said they'd partner with other companies. Gaming partners was a good example, since he acknowledged RIM isn't a gaming company. But their engine definitely supports gaming."

Source: http://crackberry.com/how-rim-starting-win-over-media#comments

Definitely there will be a physical keyboard along with the on screen keyboards on the BlackBerry 10 Devices.

I was hoping blackberry 10 devices would come with a physical keyboard...I hate typing on a touch screen!