Why is BlackBerry bringing the trackpad back?

By Chris Umiastowski on 26 Feb 2014 10:44 am EST

This week, during MWC in Barcelona, BlackBerry announced that we’ll soon see the return of the famous optical trackpad that so many of us loved prior to the launch of BlackBerry 10. I’m among the trackpad loving crowd, and I’m reminded of this every time I try to move the cursor around my screen to edit text on any of today’s typical touchscreen devices.

Last April I took a mini-rant to Twitter, suggesting that BlackBerry simply create a virtual trackpad that appears when I need it. 

So the official news of physical buttons returning to the hardware had me a bit confused at first. I’d rather not loose screen real estate (which I use all the time) to hardware that could be implemented as software instead. Today’s capacitive touch screens have extremely fine resolution, so I can’t see a problem with a virtual trackpad.

But then it occurred to me that the prior trackpad, which was originally manufactured by Avago Technologies, works with optical technology. If you trace Avago’s roots back you get to Hewlett Packard (HP). They invented the modern optical mouse circa 1999. It worked by taking high speed photos of the surface beneath the mouse in order to calculate positional differences. When the optical trackpad came out, it did the same thing, but upside down. It works by taking photos of your finger and calculating movement. Very cool stuff.

Here’s one thought: Could Avago have improved the sensor technology enough such that it can work as both a trackpad, and an fingerprint sensor? BlackBerry certainly hasn’t hinted at this, but it would be pretty cool if they did this, especially considering the Q-series is popular with corporate types.

Here’s another thought: Several years ago I know BlackBerry was working with Avago to redesign the sensor so it would sit under the glass and be illuminated in some way so as to give it an awesome, integrated and futuristic look. I’m betting this has now happened, since it makes so much sense. 

Consider the following bullet point from BlackBerry’s press release

The 'Menu', 'Back', 'Send' and 'End' buttons and trackpad will be made an integral part of the device and user interface, enabling fast, precise navigation and a natural workflow within and between apps.

If the integration was going to be plastic keys and a trackpad poking out from a square hole in the case, why would they need to say anything? I think the wording “integral part of the device” hints at something new in the device’s industrial design. I’m looking forward to seeing the new hardware!

Reader comments

Why is BlackBerry bringing the trackpad back?



No way it's a mistake.

Ever tried holding a Q10 with one hand and tried to touch something at the top of your screen with your thumb?

Losing the trackpad was a mistake. BB10 was a significant change and the decision showed a lack of concern for device usability. Users were already learning a new OS. Why force even more change.

It has to be related to the size of one's hands. I do this one-handed-touch-top-of-screen motion every day. Cancelling comments causes the stretch...

Posted via CB10

If what the article is hinting is correct, that the trackpad is under the glass and lights up when needed, it will wreck havoc with every single BB10 gesture which requires the "swipe up from bottom of screen" motion. Instead of trying to "scroll up" using the trackpad, I will swipe myself out of the app. Imagine the nightmare!

You don't think they've thought this through? Give BlackBerry's designers a chance. Don't judge till you see the implementation (or better yet, *experience* it).

They didn't say all new phones will have the keys. Some will though. So what's the problem here if that's what people want? Also, the screen will be bigger than the Q10's screen so screen size isn't affected.

Ok. But isn't BB10 a gesture based phone? So why buttons why not just the trackpad?

I was really hoping for a upgrade for the Q10

Since 2010 

Yes the OS has the capabilities of being gesture based, but there are a lot of users including Chris who want the best of BBOS phones with the keyboard and buttons and BB10 with the ability of the newest OS.

The Bold 9900 had touch and buttons and it did really well, why not have the Q20 be like the Bold 9900?

I loved my 9900 but the trackpad broke 3 times. The story I hear is, people find it unreliable or they have never had a problem. Almost everyone I know who used one had problems at some point. Then I hear people on hear never had a problem whatsoever. I didn't mind it...... but I had no trouble loosing it. That's just me.

Posted via CB10

All my BlackBerry never broke. Not even the track pad. The only time one of my Bold 9900 broke was when I dropped it from a huge height and the glass cracked and the keyboard stopped working. After 7 months I picked my Bold 9900 back up just to bring back the awesome memories only to find that it was randomly working again. Amazing!

Posted via CB10

Still using the 9900...never ever had a problem with the track pad. Still using the 9900 because of the track pad and the keyboard and the "End", "menu", "back" and "send" keys.

I agree, bold 9900 was a really popular phone and the touch screen with buttons and keyboard was a great combination. Why not reinvent the bold with bb10. Ive heard many a legacy bb user complain about the lack of buttons or how confusing/different the new gestures are. This would address that.

Posted via CB10

Yup - gestures are great but sometimes not ideal.
A BB10 device with trackpad and hardware (phone) buttons is perfect.
I'm curious how BlackBerry intended to use the other buttons (by default): Hub? Menu? Camera? Configurable? Contextmenu?
Anyway looking forward to the Classics (in futuristic design)

It is gesture based, but for hardcore typists, it has issues just like all touch keyboards. The issue is in editing a documents and cutting and pasting. The track pad makes those functions easy. If we are going to have a keyboard to users who a lot of large documents on their phone why not give them the best tools for it.

Posted via CB10

I thought that would be the biggest issue as well, but it was not. That edit circle works really well (except at the first letter of a line on the left of the screen, then it gets a little tricky). Being able to tap the circle in the direction that you want it to go works better than the track pad in my opinion. Also, the little blue drops that pull down provide incredibly accuracy when selecting text as you get to move your finger well out of the way to see exactly what you are doing.

The one place where I miss the track pad is in web browsing; it gave excellent precision when trying to click on a link in a cluster of others without having to zoom in.

Tapped and flicked from my BlackBerry Z30!

I don't see any problems here. There is enough choices, so if you don't like buttons you buy the BB without button. It's called "Live and lets Live".

Dude, stop lying. Every BlackBerry device from here on out is going to have "the belt". And we will all be forced to use one. Get used to it.

I have to agree with the mistake comment. These track pads have proven to be problematic at best.. BlackBerry phones were not selling and was rapidly losing market share with this antiquated design. Frankly if all I had to choose in a BlackBerry was a track pad phone I'd rather use another manufacturer. What people need now are reliable phones and not something that froze on a weekly basis. Track pads are mechanical and are prone to failure after heavy usage no matter what.

Posted via CB10

Even if the new track pad proved 100% reliable it would still make no sense on BB10. The entire OS was engineered for touch and gesture. This is a second guess move and attempt to be all things to all people from a company that lost its way a long, long time ago.

Yes! Just because of a bunch of old school people who miss the good old trackpad-times. C'mon grow up, and move on!

Since 2010 

The old school people are still buying BlackBerry legacy devices and not BB10. New school people are buying Androids and iPhones and not BlackBerry 10. I would say old school folks are the best bet to buy bb10 if you give them a trackpad.

Posted via CB10

You'd better have facts to back up such statements. I'm speaking for myself and a few others known to me here. We are die hard BlackBerry but wants to keep up with the Jones in terms of technology. It's clear that old school mentality was driving this company straight into lala land. It's time to keep moving forward.

Posted via CB10

If you review the last class of quarterly earnings reports from BlackBerry, you will realize that he is correct.

The Z10 dramatically underperformed. BlackBerry expected to sell at least twice as many Q10's asZ10's (Q10 came out a few months later), but they didn't sell either. Legacy devices are still selling and BlackBerry has announced that they will support them indefinitely.

That's proof that change is needed to the QWERTY offering, in my opinion. If you don’t give consumers what they want, they won't buy your products.

Hard buttons & track pad make sense to me on a device with a physical keyboard as it has a smaller screen. When I had the 9930, how I interacted depended on what I was doing/app I was using. It was really the best of all world's. I sometimes used the touch screen (fast & easy to launch an app), occasionally used the track pad (when more precision pointing was required), and also.had the awesome physical keyboard (email, etc.).

I think it's a good move.

Keith H. Posted by CB10 from my Z10.

Keeping the so called "old school" crowd happy and neglecting what's modern and required in today's world will get you nowhere. If the old style was in such demand then why was BlackBerry losing share do rapidly. I tell you one fact that's not factored in your numbers. Yes Legacy devices are still selling to a point they say but I don't know one single person with a new legacy phone or one single person who bought one in the past year. Now if BlackBerry had not brought out BB10 the sales would have been a lot worse, trust me. Hardly anyone on the sunny side of 40 would want to buy a new legacy phone.

Posted via CB10

Well said! Maybe BB should just become a much much smaller company and only cater to the minimum number of folks who want these devices.

I agree. Have bought 2 more 9900's since Q10 came out, after trying it out at store. I think a large percentage of business users prefer a physical keyboard because they do a lot of creating and not as much consuming on the phone, compared to the person using a BB for personal use. The futuristic type/placement of the buttons and trackpad sounds fine to me - I personally have never had a problem with the 9900 trackpad, but sure did with earlier BB's with the mechanical trackpad. I have no issues with the Z- line but for all the typing I do all day long, I really want the physical keyboard. With both Q- and Z- type phones available, I would hope most people wanting a BB would be satisfied.

I like my trackpad. Who are you to tell me that is *wrong*? Why do you think there are so many different phones? We all buy the phones we like. You do not have to agree, but you need to respect other people for their choices.

Did you not read what Kevin wrote?

The trackpad could be "under" the screen, lighting up whenever required in a futuristic way.

It could also double up as a sensor.

Blackberry would beat any damn iphone6 with this innovation..

Narendra Modi for PM and Congress free India 2014

That sounds like one very expensive phone. Wonder if prosumers will be willing to fork over lump sums of cash for untested tech.

"Here’s another thought: Several years ago I know BlackBerry was working with Avago to redesign the sensor so it would sit under the glass and be illuminated in some way so as to give it an awesome, integrated and futuristic look. I’m betting this has now happened, since it makes so much sense."

I assume you're talking about this comment? Seriously? He's betting this has happened because it makes so much sense? It makes no sense. How could you integrate a trackpad under the screen? Why would you need to do that? You are already using the screen, what good would a virtual track pad be? The only point of bringing back the track pad would be for the physical clicking for selecting something. Hey, maybe they can do a virtual track pad with "sure press" technology? I'm sure this what they are doing because it makes so much sense!!!!

OK, there's a logical dissonance in saying the trackpad should be implemented virtually as software and then claiming BB 10 just cannot work without gestures. The OS is software; it can be made to respond to multiple input "devices," just like Windows 8 accepts touch, mouse, and keyboard inputs for accessing functionality, such as the Charms menu. Concerns that this type of "compromise" will undermine the design goals of the OS are fair, but saying other input options just cannot be implemented in a logical way is myopic.

Doesn't the Q10 have keyboard shortcuts that the Z10 and Z30 lack because they do not have a physical keyboard? Aren't there different versions of the BB10 leaks? In particular a set for the Z10/Z30 and one for the Q10 (and Q5?)? Seeing as how the Q10 has functional controls built into the physical keyboard proves that the "entire" OS was not engineered for touch and gesture.

Im not a fan of bringing the trackpad/toolbelt back, but in fairness, Ive never owned a blackberry with a toolbelt. I dont think it is going to grow blackberry's marketshare in anyway.

That being said I dont care how many buttons, trackpads, lighters, printers, shoehorns you put on these phones, that isnt what matters, whats important right now is getting BB10 in as many peoples hands as possible as fast as possible. This OS is going to catch like wildfire once enough people get their hands on it. I know from my own experience, I got my Z10 a year ago, I referred one peoson to the phone, i now know of at least 10 people who have converted (in the US no less!) to BB10 From android and ios just from picking up and using our two phones for a while. It doesnt take much more than someone giving the phone an honest try for themselves to fall in love with BB10's interface.

So in summary, is this the direction I think the company should be moving? No. But as long as the phones are running BB10 and you can put the OS in as many peoples hands as possible I say go for it (Just please keep making high-end devices for me! :)

Posted via CB10

I just can't understand why you would spend extra production costs on something that can be implemented through software when blackberry is really struggling. This device is for a very specific user indeed. Its never going to sell massively. Mass sales is what is needed right now with user friendly devices. A device like this should come later when things are looking a little better. I think things are being over complicated. This is a decision from Chen I am really not so sure about!....... BUT....... I really hope I am proven wrong!

Posted via CB10

there is no replacement for the tactile feedback as evidenced by Typo keyboard etc. It may not be to your taste but it's a significant selling point.

Posted via CB10

I use a Q10 as my daily. I've always had a blackberry from the 9000 days. I even still have my 9900 and 9000. My concerns are based on sales and production costs.

Posted via CB10

I think the failure of the current device lineup is proof that BlackBerry miscued when they put out the Q10 instead of the Q20 as the initial full-qwerty device. I don't there is a device that BlackBerry could release in the next 5 months that would bring in "mass sales". I mean to say is: if only mass sales in the short term can save BlackBerry, then BlackBerry is finished. Personally I think a decent short-term uptick in sales, and slow but steady growth is the only realistic / plausible outcome here, and step one is getting as many BBOS users as possible to migrate from BBOS to BB10, and the Belt is the foundation of that.

Well bb10 is not selling massively. Best to try and get anyone at this point. They need to at least keep BlackBerry legacy users. Right now they are not choosing BB10 but instead leaving for good.

Posted via CB10

You are exactly, BB did a survey with legacy users and the majority like the buttons. Fighting for every sale, especially the corporate guys who like the scroll.

Re-read the article. Chris is suggesting that it isn't a physical button as in the 9900 but one that's under the glass.

Your missing what im saying. It would still require either separate mechanism under the glass. If you use software, you can have a bigger screen with a trackpad that can be switched on and off. From a cost and production point of view this would be the most cost effective way.

Posted via CB10

Even legacy sales are drying up. Not enough push was put onto bb10. WP phones have taken a long time to gain any real sales. I think blackberry are at a point now it would be better to be a specialist product and build it's hardware division around that.

Posted via CB10

My comments are based in what will come to market... ie Q20. They are not based on maybe if's. The Q20 will use a mechanism. This means more cost and a higher failure rate. I would love to see a screen based trackpad but that's not what is actually happening is it.

Posted via CB10

My bad. An extra mechanism then. With the edition of extra keys. The trackpad is still an extra unit.

Posted via CB10

I don't care much for the return of the trackpad, unless they want to take my fingerprint :D. I will take a stand on "loose screen real estate", its not for everybody, but it has to be free.

False, if this is implemented the way Chris is describing here this could be huge! I've found myself replacing my Q10 w the Z10 and introducing my old 9900 back in the mix. A great keyboard with no trackpad isn't that much better than a full touch with a great predictive keyboard.

Posted via CB10

Wow, that is one huge sub-thread.

Whatever makes you happy. It needs to be seen how much more useful BB10 Classic will be. Not anti-trackpad, but it needs to prove it's usefulness on a gesture-based OS. I like my Q10 the way it is (I do have a Torch).

iPhone for me? Scr... ahem Q that! (posted from the latter)

Not a deal breaker. Trackpad has its customers, if you like it buy it if you don't like it don't buy it

Posted via CB10

I think a lot of 9900's were disappointed that the track pad was lost in the Q10. As a previous 9930 owner, the track pad comes in handy with such a small screen. It does allow much greater precision.

I suppose the Q10 didn't sell as many units as expected because many users viewed it as a step back from the 9900's from a hardware perspective. I can see it.

I say, give the people what they want!

Keith H. Posted by CB10 from my Z10.

Keep crying babygirl. Its coming no matter how wide your river gets. Trackpad4life

Posted via CB10

This is the most positive thing I've seen from Chris in quite some time! I agree. I'm anxious to see what the Q20 looks like since I already love my Q10 so much.

I used my Q10 to create this CrackBerry madness!

x2 very good article. I was not looking forward to the Trackpad and buttons coming back originally when they announced it. With this outlook, I do like the idea now.

Posted via telegraph

Don't be silly, the legacy devices couldn't handle BB10 with their specs. Don't be mad either, the Q20 and other future devices like it aren't designed for you. It's another category, another choice, for those that want it.

"those who want it" have nothing to buy yet!

What they "didn't buy" are the Z's or Q's already launched. So far they'd prefer to hang on to their 9900's.

Count me as living proof - an ardent BlackBerry fan and user, I upgraded to an HTC One last year after I felt that the BB10 phones moved unacceptably far from the core advantages BB phones had previously offered. I still retain my 9900 and use it for international travel, and on occasion as a daily driver, and the direction that Chen is taking BB - once again prioritising the little things that make the BlackBerry experience about uncompromising efficiency in communication above all else - have me seriously thinking that my next phone might be a BlackBerry again.

Posted via the Android CrackBerry App!

Honestly if the trackpad was on my Q10 I'd use it in the Web browser. It's not being there isn't that big of a deal, but to each their own.

Posted from my Tab 3 via Android CrackBerry App!

You again! Your comment doesn't make any sense?! Lol what joke you are! Ridiculous.

Since 2010 

You do realize you're on a BB fan site, right? :p

Dead cowboy ( zombie more likely) is clearly very passionate about this move from BB. Be glad the real BB fanatics aren't online yet.

Posted via CB10

Not necessary for you but for others, especially those in the corporate/enterprise space who didn't upgrade to BB10. The same ones BlackBerry wants to keep on their side.

So much for a streamlined phone line-up. BlackBerry's going back to its roots, so many models, so many different features. Create mass consumer confusion.

BBM Channel: The Group Ride C00055B7C

Agree, consumers need some idea of what is next, some transparency, Z10 or Q10 successor or a new high end Q30.....etc

Z30 on in Canada

Well, there's only confusion for the average consumer when they interact with sales rep at carrier/reseller shops. Those people are the ones confused and/or purposely downplaying BB devices when interacting with consumers.

We, the "tech-aware", aren't confused at all. The Q20 is for those that want what made their Bold 9900 the ultimate tool for business.

Hmm still not as bad as Sammy's product range of smartphones... :p

To each their own I'd say

Posted via CB10

That would be awesome if true. I just hope we aren't reading too much into it, where it just means they'll modify BB10 to work with hardware keys.

Posted via CB10

Why would Koepman say this was a mistake? The trackpadless devices are here to stay.

For corporate uses who spend most of our days receiving and editing mail or documents on the move the loss of the trackpad was an issue.

This is not about moving back in time it is about horses for courses.

I really hope the trackpad is integrated.

I would also love to see a double sided device, with a full touch screen on the back. This would give the best of both worlds. So what id it cost $1k plus. It would be a brilliant halo device.

I would buy it.

Posted via CB10

If they want to implement this belt to bb10, PLEASE Make it optional because some of is don't like the idea. Why I need a cursor when I just can hold the word on the screen


For those who don't like the idea, just get the next qwerty device that doesn't have the tool belt function keys?

Posted with my Q10 running

It'd be interesting to know what percentage of the people claiming the trackpad is a bad idea also owned a Bold 9900 (or similarly recent BBOS device). It's not just for text editing: how about scrolling through long lists in messaging or social apps? Scrolling on web pages and clicking links with more accuracy? Selecting options in settings with more accuracy? Manipulating photos or images with more precision?

Why go backwards!!! It was slow and a cumbersome way to work. Just wont work with the touch screens as its meant too.

Get with the times

Posted via CB10

How do you know? You are just guessing that it won't work. Be patient and judge the phone when it hits the market.

Blackberry are catering for those who doesn't understand a basic gestures of swipe up, down, left, right, hold and tap for OS10.

This indicates a lot of people are lazy enough to learn or adopt these days.

They want their phone to do the things they wanted to do without holding it.

"Siri get my big bowl of popcorn and play some movies"

Blackberry Q10.2.1.537 Powered by (FUP) Globe Telecom Philippines

LOL Wow, another mind reader! That may be your opinion it but couldn't be further from the truth. Our company has been using PBs for the last two years and BB10 devices for several months and all have adapted well and actually very pleased with the platform. I would dare say that many of our employees are as adept as you, if not more so, with gestures and the use of BB10. That being said, an overwhelming majority still want a trackpad on their Q10s. It has nothing to do with laziness or unwillingness to adapt, it has to do with speed, efficiency and personal preference.

Yes! Well-said. To me, the trackpad was all about efficiency. If you don't want a phone with one, don't buy one.

woohoo! bring back the BlackBerry functionality Belt. i'm so looking forward to it. I jumped on a Z10 as my first BB10 device at launch after many years with the Bold series and I must say I do miss the physical keyboard with the belt.

I could care less about a finger print scanner, BUT if its a feature that people want, and they can integrate it into the trackpad (which i DO care about; love that squircle) then by all means, do it!!

Tho I gotta wonder if we're reading between the lines a little too much. Maybe all Chen meant is that you will be able to make use of the hardware buttons quite a bit thoughout the OS.. Like possibly the trackpad will long press into a home button or something, I dunno...

So many people are butt hurt about this haha, it's rather hilarious reading the comments.

If you don't like it just don't buy it, but know that there are a lot of people that are in favor of it.

It must be hell trying to design & market hand held devices to these whining babies......If you do not want a phone with a trackpad then don't buy one.
I wanted another BlackBerry after the catastrophic death of my Bold & only new BlackBerry was the Z10 at the time so this is what I have.
It took me a few weeks to get used to the keyboard & lack of trackpad but now I as good as I was before with the Bold

Posted via CB10

Lol I know, right? Why is it that some are so egotistical as to think they know what's best for everyone else or think their needs or preferences apply to everyone? #CloseMindedIntolerance

I just hope the track pad square is glass and innovative and not the same old technology. Keep moving!

Posted using the best phone ever, the Z30!

Blackberry should change their slogan from "Keep Moving" to "PULL BACK"

Blackberry Q10.2.1.537 Powered by (FUP) Globe Telecom Philippines

-1 = 0

If you had actually read what Umi wrote, you might have come to the conclusion that it's more like an additional feature. It will ADD, not subtract to the BB experience. So how is that a step backward?

Posted via CB10

Or maybe they should change their name to "giving the people want they want" or if that's too long, change it to "Apple". BlackBerry is bringing back the "tool belt" to accommodate a slew of enterprise companies/exes who didn't upgrade to BB10 and went back to their Bold 9900s. If those people still are sticking with BlackBerry, despite the other options out there, might as well makes something for them and keep them as BlackBerry customers.

I have become used to the touch screen on my Z10 & now have no problem editing text or using the gestures but can understand that some still need the trackpad.
If there is a market sure why not........more people that have the device they absolutely want can't be a bad thing.

Posted via CB10

I only liked the trackpad when navigating text boxes and used in combination with the shift key to select text and fast copy paste. I haven't missed it since OS updates. Hopefully they don't dump a ton of money into this hardware, I don't feel its needed. More resources should be put into specs and helping devs get apps and games on the device OR perfect the android integration

Make sense bring something that made iconic to BB, and added a cool feature like fingerprint scanner

as a bb used since inception, I was always reluctant to give up my trackpad and physical keyboard but having taken the visual plunge, i would not ever think of trading my added visual real estate for a physical keyboard. That doesnt sound "Flagship" to me, and as we move back to larger bricks, physical keyboards and elements just don't make sense. I'm saying all of this to say that this is NOT the next Flagship device for BB, I'm not believing this for a minute, nor am I plunking down any "extra change" for an interim device that appeals to who? again?

Where is it touted as the "flagship" ? The latest info says the Q series will be classed as "Classic", not High End or Prestige. It's called choice.

Because this is a public forum where people are allowed to post their opinions if they'd like. If this phone is an example of what blackberry has planned for its future and it's not appealing,then there's plenty to be worried about.

Is this forum scientifically fully representative of all BB users? Don't make hasty conclusions on faulty data.

Why do we have to wait to see this bad boy I'm waiting to decide on a upgrade path for my Moto X. I love the Q10 but that sceen is just too small. Would've loved a 4" screen but 3.5" is a step in the right direction. It's this or a HTC One (2014) for me.

It could possibly be the best of both worlds! I'm very curious about the next Q in line ....

Another stellar, well-written and focused driven article by Chris, kudos and more. This is the kind of intelligence worth waking up to while enjoying my coffee & bagel. Real estate on the screen has been a concern for me as well, and, to be honest, the other day I felt ambiguous, a sense of let-down, when the announcement came of "going-back" as it were.

To me, the Q10 has both the future and the past of the New world BlackBerry, so maybe it was just me, but felt a little abandoned. Can't explain it. Who knows... thank you again Chris for poignant thoughts...

Posted via CB10

I'm willing to bet the sensor is going to be embedded into the space button. It's big/wide enough for a fingerprint sensor as well.

Would be nice if the optical track pad was integrated into the T or Y keys, that way there is no screen size loss

Posted via CB10

It was like Windows 8. It came out optimized for touch but people still wanted the non touch experience to work. Ultimately providing both methods will allow users to choose. Plus if you are a touch typist it does not make sense to move your thumbs off the keyboard area to select text on screen. Some things are better suited to using the touch screen and others not. If you want a physical keyboard you have already made the choice that it is worth a smaller screen size.
Personally I have opted for a full touch for my personal device Z10 but still use a Bold for business. When I upgrade my work one with balance I will no longer need two phones so leaning towards a Z30. But will give my users the choice of device. So it makes sense to have some options so people can pick the best device for them.

Posted via CB10

Track pad all day just make sure the screen is at a really good size and the design of the phone is slick if that shit looking like the bold's ill cry


As cool as that would be (trackpad integrated under the glass with fingerprint reader), I think you're being overly optimistic about it. But please prove me wrong BlackBerry!
I'm in the camp of never wanting/needing it again - sure it can sometimes be frustrating to select text, but the minimal amount that I actually DO that, it seems pointless now. However, I've heard many gripes from my users about missing it and "hating" the Q10 and missing the 9900 in that regard.

If they add Fingerprint scanner, yeah ok, I guess it makes sense. I don't get the whole buttons thing myself, give me a huge A$$ screen. But they are not selling (here USA) so I guess make what will. I dunno.

I think this virtual trackpad concept is a good idea. You can try it. Check the following app in BlackBerry World: trackpad editor.

Posted via CB10

Why can't we have a 3.5 inch qwerty with a trackpad if it's done right? Of course this only works if they stick to creating a high end 5+ inch full touchscreen device with mind blowing speed and top of the line specs to go with it! (within its limits) I don't care for specs as much as many, but it still has to be ahead of it's competitors. Create phones that benefit everyone, just don't lose money doing it.

Via The BlackBerry Z10 Experience.

What happened to " keep moving" ??
A gesture based OS with, buttons... ??
Yes that makes sense.

Hope there'll be someday a upgrade for the Q10!

Since 2010 

For those like me who lives in canada. With the cold weather outside and wearing gloves the action belt helped us answer calls or end them and navigate without taking them off every time we get a msg. Yea I know there's the touch screen gloves. But they are no good for our cold winter. Happy to see the action belt come back but is it enough so I switch from my magnificent BlackBerry Q10 to the Q20 ?

Posted via CB10

BlackBerry is doing this. So no reason to complain. If people don't like it then get the Z30 or something. I personally like full touch screen so don't want these buttons.

My take on this is that it could be horrible if the plop the old belt down with the old keys and all that! Disaster! This has to be well executed and nicely designed and it could really change the future for BlackBerry !

My take is similar to yours Chris, that they should have the optical trackpad extremely updated to the most modern form of it (that glowing light thing sounded awesome). But in order to make the trackpad seem to make sense to all users and anyone looking at the phone is to turn it into a finger print scanner.

The trackpad a lone is great and will be awesome for many users who loved it and are still using OS 7 devices. But for everyone else using iPhone and android. They will laugh and poke fun at BlackBerry. So thats where the trackpad must be more than just a trackpad. A finger print scanner is the obvious solution. That way anyone who makes fun or thinks BlackBerry is retreating then they will actually think it's a cool feature. It's basically like having the iPhone home button on steroids! Home button takes u home and scans finger and opens multitasking. BB10 trackpad will increase efficiency 100% of users! Quicker selection and more precision and also add the finger print scanner.

The cherry on top would be if BlackBerry makes it able to be customized by developers. Imagine it is a virtual trackpad (or even optical one) and when you are in any message box or anything requiring the trackpad precision it will be a trackpad. But if you open let's say the camera app, you clearly do not need a trackpad, so the pad (optical or virtual) will change its function and allow you to use the pad as a camera shutter.

I'm sure developers could get creative with that ability and it would make the trackpad an extremely useful and functional piece of the BB10 OS. I would love for them to do virtual trackpad with these abilities!

Posted via CB10

Could be way cool of its integral and modern - not a 1990s throw back! But 2015+ design. If apple taught anyone anything its that design and hipness has value.

Posted via CB10

If it were two fold, a biometric fingerprint reader for security and the normal track pad, I could be very interested. It would have something no others have and increase the security of the BlackBerry device. One more secure feature of BlackBerry.

I repeat again and again, BlackBerry is searching the wrong areas to bring themselves back to life :)

Are they that blind? The solution is just come up with a budget to pay for developers to get their apps on board and I am not talking about the insignificant apps flooding BlackBerry world. The big name apps

Why is it taking multiple C.E.Os to solve a simple problem, getting that BlackBerry Logo on the billboards where it says get it on iOS and Android, until you see get it on iOS, Android, and BlackBerry then they will remain behind

Posted via CB10

Do you really understand what BlackBerry's goals and objectives are? It is very foolish to blindly follow others with no sense of purpose.

Hope they don't bring the same old trackpad and buttons from the Bold series. Bring on some futuristic innovative trackpad integration, please.

Classic line is for users who prefer classic BlackBerry device characteristic

Posted via secure bb10.2.1.2102

Since blackberry is coming back with track pad, I would love to use physical buttons keyboard and track pad as mouse to use desktop monitor using wireless miracast.
Cause I didn't have to look at the physical blackberry keyboard when typing. (but with my z30 I have to look at the virtual keys) That will be true desktop experience without carrying the physical keyboard and a mouse.
With fast bb10 browser on desktop monitor? I am looking forward to it. Love the z30 but would go back to bold style keyboard options if it has better screen.

Posted using Z30. Best of the best Smart phone in the world.

What if every key was a trackpad, then the whole keyboard can be a network of trackpads. I'm not sure if this is possible but it would allow gestures on a physical keyboard

So much speculation on this site...getting annoying. You know you don't have to release an "new" article every few minutes. If there is nothing to report then don't!

Posted via CB10

Well yes I could do that however it is a trend I have been noticing on crackberry lately. Thought maybe the powers at be read these comments and might take it into account, that's all.

Posted via CB10

I don't really want to see a fingerprint sensor. That fingerprint stuff is a gimmick. You can't change your fingerprints, and you lose considerable control over them the moment you fall asleep, not to mention the fact that you leave copies of them all over the place. As BlackBerry is supposed to be about real security, I think they should say clear of the fingerprint stuff and point out the risk of fingerprint security on other devices.

Join the Cause @ BlackBerry Bootleg Marketing Channel - C003483F4

My opinion is that fingerprints are usernames - not passwords. You need to have a piece of security in place that can be updated to keep things secure. Passwords you can change as needed. You only have so many fingers.

BlackBerry will be making four categories of Phone devices, so you have lot of choices to pick from, if BB10 phones are for you.

I have never used a Legacy BBOS device, but i remember the optical trackpad on my HTC Desire somewhere in 2010. So i will be happy to try a Q20 when i see one in my favorite phone shop.

What comments? From CB forum? Do you think that those ardent legacy users ( the ones sitting on the fence) have time or have any interest in come on CB forums? :)

Meh, looks like a step backwards to me. I came from the bold 9900 to the Q10. Haven't looked back since. Would rather have bigger screen.

 Q10SQN100-1 

As always cool article Umi

In that perspective looking forward to see what's in the works for future BlackBerry devices!!

#BB10Believe #BlackBerryNation #BB10Army #BB10Freak #KeepMoving #TeamBlackberry #BBMCrossPlatform #BBM4All #IChooseBlackBerry10

I'm MongezaurioBerry

The track pad is great for highlighting and using the what every you call it now is a pain in the ass! but I got over not having it on my Q10 almost right away.

I just make sure what I type is correct, lol ya right

For the people who refuse to change anything in their lives. Don't miss the always breaking waste of screen space track pad.

Posted via CB10

Sign of desperation to try and get any sales onto bb10 not bb7 which continues to outsell bb10.

Wrong direction and as usual a$$ backwards.

Are you saying that 40 million fence-sitting legacy users is not worth tapping into? You call that desperation?

Track pad requires less thumb movement for same action as touchscreen. Scrolling pages selection text. Touchscreen good for pin point aim and direct touch of desired object . Track pad has its advantages . For some of the people who use phone all day. A combo has possibility of making things done faster easier with less thumb strain. Or finger. And as always iPhone samsung Obama kia Palin beats SUCKS And are for pathetic losers

Delta Champion

I am pretty sure they revealed the picture of q20 already, why are people saying they can't wait to see how it looks like?

Posted via CB10

What's sweet is ending an important call all while starting an important face to face conversation without looking at your phone to see if you hit the end button.

It's the little things that keep customers coming back. Most people don't realize the average consumer's wants and desires because most consumers don't know what they truly want.

Keep The Faith  BlackBerry Q10 

I could foresee a lot of former Bold users just stepping back and/or just staying with their belove devices just because they dont want or even have time learning and get used to a new OS that dont have these physcal buttons.
Reluctance to change is a reality.
Now I could also see that it will be better for BlackBerry if most of their users base are all running on the same operating system. ..So this new Q20 may be a lot more appealing to those users where they may feel home a lot quicker.

That been said, now I could'nt figured out how it will be possible to combine the trackpad gesture without interfering against the swipe up gesture or the inverted "L" swipe to acces the hub.
A virtual trackpad may not make that possible.

I keep saying that this track pad needs to be a fingerprint scanner as well! I hope they do this, ppl laughed at the idea of finger print sensor or scanner, but it is something that is gaining traction, don't be a follower be a leader! Get this out and do it rite in a secure way!

Posted via CB10

While I can understand some people longing for the trackpad, bringing it back without updating or modernising it is a stupid move. Stupid, because it makes BlackBerry look uncertain about the quality of BlackBerry OS 10. While we know OS 10 is awesome, outsiders who hear this news could go: oh look BlackBerry thinks their own new os is a mistake and are now bringing back that trackpad since they are so desperate.

While we know how to put it in context, an outsider doesn't. But it hurts BlackBerry's image again.

So I really hope they can mix the hardware keyboard with a new style of trackpad! Perhaps adding even more functionality in the mix.

Posted via CB10

Me personally a very intensive user of Q10. Now I feel so good with the gestures, that I think we don't have to go back. We have to support the future.
Without the keys the screen can be even bigger.

Posted via CB10

I am from the corporate side. My company is slowly transitioning to BB10. While still offering 9900.

I have yet to hear of one person returning their BB10 phone. And quite a few have opted for the Z10 and Z30. I have a Q10.

Not one person that I know and I know a lot of them (people come looking for me to help with the transition or when they have questions) said they want the buttons back.

I wouldn't care if BlackBerry was healthy and thriving. Currently that is not the case and I don't want them to have another warehouse full of BlackBerry's that don't sell.

As for people saying corporates want them have they signed up with firm orders? I doubt it and so this is a big risk.

BlackBerry has said no issue with apps but I don't buy that. The very people wanting the buttons will be the loudest complainers when apps are not updated and developers prefer to have them for no button devices only.


Posted via CB10

I think ít's not gonna possible because if q20 have a finger print sensor, then how about the other forthcoming devices? Is it necessary to put a tool bell on some devices like z40 or whatever

Posted via CB10

The trackpad was never a problem-it is useful and allows one to use the phone single handedly. I know BB has to have a large screen all touch phone for the app heavy and game users but as a working, communication, writing devise there is no substitute for the keyboard, trackpad, etc. I am a loyal BB user that adopted the Z10 out of the gate. I am back to my Bold 9900 like many other users for communication reasons and email management. I await the Q20 and will be first in line. As a business owner I applaud Mr. Chen for listening to a large portion of his user base. I want nothing but the best for BB because there is no other device or OS for me. (And I am failing to see the backlash from non-trackpad users-you have the Z30, Z10 and future product options-choice is good right?)

Buttons under glass defeat the benefits of "buttons", mainly the physical response and tactile certainty one gets when pressing it in. Functionality over form. I doubt your interpretation is what they intended to convey, but I enjoyed your enthusiasm none the less.

Not sure why people seem to think change for the sake of change is "innovation". Wikipedia defines innovation as, "Innovation is the application of better solutions that meet new requirements, unarticulated needs, or existing market needs." innovation does not require the use of new or novel concepts, rather it is the use of something that functions more effectively than what was previously used. While I am sure there are changes that would increase the overall enjoyment of the optical track pad experience, RIM already exceeded the criteria for innovation when they introduced the optical track pad to replace the trackball and track wheel designs.

Once again, it's like the air filled rubber tire. There are many variations on the theme, but the underlying technology has remained fundamentally the same for more than 100 years, because it works. To this day the air filled tire remains an innovative product, because no other product is able to solve the same issues as effectively. The same is true for the square little optical track pad / button on the classic BlackBerry devices, in terms of navigation and manipulating text on a mobile device.

Different, it's not always better.

Magnificently composed using CB10 on my BB Z10!

This was my first thought, why not create a virtual track pad, or a virtual tool belt. This would give the option to the user if they wanted a full time display of a tool belt on their screen for "old school" users. For those that conformed to the touchscreen method, they would still have a full screen to navigate. No matter how big a screen you have, you will always pinch and zoom at some point to do fine work.

Has I mentioned above, I cannot see how they could make possible the co-existance of a virtual trackpad against the swipe up gesture and the inverted "L" gesture to acces the hub.

This is true, I didn't think about that. I can see an issue though with swiping up and over with a trackpad right where most people swipe up. To bad they couldn't have put the trackpad somewhere else on the phone like take half the size of the space bar and put it at the bottom. Then as far as the rest of the tool belt, leave it virtual.

Posted via CB10 on Q10

I can see the trackpad being welcome by many (I'm happy without it these days), but what concerns me is the Back and Menu buttons.

As an example, BlackBerry 10 has four different menu areas: tab menu on the left, top menu for settings, overflow menu on the right, and context menu (on the right) when holding on an item. I figure holding on the trackpad will be the equivalent of holding on an item on the touchscreen, but which menu will be tied to the Menu button? If each app maps it differently, it can become quite cumbersome to use. I can already hear the complaints of "where is the settings option" when pushing the menu button, not understanding that they will still have to swipe down from the top to access options menu.

The trackpad I understand. The buttons - not so much.

Hmm .. interesting post Chris. I would love to see them implement this in a way that will satisfy the "old school" folks but in an innovative way. What you outline here would be interesting to see.

I do agree that I hate to try and modify text and the trackpad would have been useful. Don't get me wrong, I love the z10 and the gestures but when trying to modify, say a BBM message, and it is near the end of the text box, I always end up hitting the emoticon shortcut. It is very frustrating.

I didn't like the idea of the trackpad initially, and not sure I would buy it, but I am interested to see if they build it the way you described or by using some other innovative way. Let's hope for the best.

Most of the comments here are coming from people who have absolutely no business sense. Not all phones will have the track pad therefore there will be a choice for all. The last earnings report suggested that legacy devices are outselling BlackBerry 10 devices. I'm pretty sure that one of the reasons is because the elder demographic prefers the legacy OS and maybe the hardware i.e. track pad and hard keys.
Legacy OS is outdated so the best way to woo this demographic is to meet them halfway. Provide the hardware belt of keys. It will help them transition to bb10 easily. Once they get used to the amazing and superior OS that is BlackBerry 10 then it will be a lot easier to adapt to a more modern phone i.e. Z10, Z30, Q10 etc.
BlackBerry and John Chen more so knows business. That's why he was hired and that's why investors have confidence in BlackBerry now. Just look at the stock over the past few weeks.
Bottom line? A track pad is not doom and gloom. We will still have choices.

Posted via CB10

I believe it is a good addition to the device for those who liked the old-form-factor BB's. Speaking here for the SA community (stubborn Haha!). The actual point is that John Chen listened to numerous requests/complaints on the forums, which is good isn't it ?? It means that we as a community can bring about change if we wish to do so. ;)

I agree on the mechanical aspect of the trackpad and buttons. After heavy use they start to wear off or start causing issues and interfere with the software. I had BB 9860, all it was touch screen, trackpad, menu button, return, send and end, kinda the idea Blackberry is going for in the new devices . Even with updates and all it would freeze regularly and currently its sitting in my desk as a memorabilia as it stopped working all together. I have Z10 and I was very happy the way Blackberry went with BB10 where there are very less mechanical things involved and things can be fixed remotely should there be any software issues, thus continue keeping millions of customers happy with minimum cost. I am still not 100% comfortable with them bringing these old school components back. I would want them build on the current success and introduce something more innovative rather than taking a step back.

The problem I had with the Optical Trackpad on both my 9900's was that they went doolally in sunlight, and made it impossible to read a long email (as the email would just scroll up and down inanely) - any idea how this problem can be fixed?
If this issue continues with the new phones - I would have to stay with a non-trackpad device.
Never had this issue with the mechanical trackpads/rollerballs, but then again they did tend to start to play up or break after a couple of years.....

I think you can read a long email, just by pressing the «space» bar and it goes page after page down, and to go back «shift» «space»

Hi Paul - I know about the space bar for page down, that wasn't the problem. The problem was that sunlight on the optical trackpad, made the 9900 think that the trackpad was being scrolled up and down continuously, so the email (maybe 10 pages long) would just inanely scroll up and down from top to bottom to top to bottom etc etc. The problem was not shifting up and down (eg using space bar) the problem was stopping the email from scrolling up and down. Thanks for trying to help me (and others) with a solution

Every time i read Chris's articles he is often quite spot on, he knows a lot more than he is letting us. As far as the trackpad coming back to enhance BlackBerry 10 i don't see anything wrong with it and i believe people are stuck with the notion that it will be like what it is on BOS7. BlackBerry is not stupid to go back in time without some sort of futuristic innovation, this is the new BlackBerry with John Chen who is doing all that he possibly can to put BlackBerry where it belongs at the top. Look at it this way Porsche has or is what it is for its iconic 911,has the shape really changed over the last few decades the answer is NO. But You climb into a 2014 -911 or a 1979 911 the difference will be the newer one has built in technology that the 1979 one doesn't have and it's still a 911 just better. There's a market for a blackberry 10 with the type of trackpad Chris is talking about and for those who won't prefer it BlackBerry has catered for you as well with full touch screen devices so relax folks and have some faith!


Interesting ideas Chris. It'll be interesting to see how the implementation will be.

I'm having a hard time believing this, but I'm actually looking forward to seeing a BlackBerry with a trackpad. Crazy...

Posted via CB10

It could very well be kept besides camera n flash. It could be innovative n immersive to use. It won't use the valuable screen estate n at the same time provide n accuracy in moving cursor at times.

Posted via CB10

Great points Chris. Thank you.
People have to realize that the Q10's came back in record numbers. Think about how many people spread negative reviews just because they didn't personally like the Q10? Also, the belt will be new and improved just as Chris mentioned. I'd bet anything that it won't have an old look to it at all. .
People complain when BlackBerry doesn't listen to its customers....now that they do.....nothing has changed. You can't have it both ways. You need to have a bit of faith that Mr. Chen knows exactly what is needed to kick start this company. Seriously, it can't be any worse than the old plan.

Posted via CB10

It´s only a kind of manner! I loved the track/touchpad/pearl in combination with the menu-button on my older Blackberry... To mark a text with the shift-tab and the track/touchpad/pearl was awesome... But since march 2013 I use my Z10 and Z30...and I wouldnt charge that the track/touchpad/pearl had made things easier- just different.... I will continue purchasing fulltouch devices- I dont want to miss the 4"-5" display-size never again.

I think the biggest reason business users haven't upgraded to BB10 is not because of the trackpad but because their businesses won't upgrade to BES10 because it not backwards compatible with BES 5 to allow a slow upgrade cycle instead a wholesale change. BES12 should do more to solve this issue because it will be fully integrated and backwards compatible with OS 7 users but by that time BES 12 is launched they will have the Q20 to upgrade to so they will have the choice which is good timing if you ask me. Hopefully they use this as an opportunity to further innovate as Chris suggested, otherwise this will seem like a tired, we don't know what else to try gesture to try an win back business consumers.

Sorry. I want a kill switch for phone calls. Period.

Track pad will be nice on copying and pasting

Posted via CB10

Interesting. None of these are exciting for me though. Let's see those "high-end all touch" announcements. That's my market segment.

Posted via CB10

The Bold 9900 was such an interesting digression though. I bought two of those and still retain one as my backup phone.

Posted via CB10

Interesting thought! A fingerprint scanner in the trackpad.

Posted via the Android CrackBerry App!

I think it's a great move if implemented to bring the BB7 crowd forward to BB10. I've been reading that the track pad,key functions and themes were the things they were missing the most. If they bring those things forward we would see more adoption rate on BB10. A win for everyone.

I would keep picture password as the security feature I would not implement fingerprint scanner. Since its a track pad then they should have it move the number grid on the screen just like it's done on the all touch screen phones.

Posted via CB10