Switched On: BlackBerry's depressing keyboard trends

Each week Ross Rubin contributes Switched On, a column about consumer technology.

DNP Switched On BlackBerry's depressing keyboard trends

In a March interview, Google chairman Eric Schmidt, whose company's smartphone ambitions led to his vacating a board seat at Apple, claimed that he didn't use either an Android phone or iPhone. Rather, he uses a Blackberry, citing his affinity for its keyboard despite a number of Android models released over the years integrating physical thumb keyboards.

RIM devices had keyboards even before they had email; the feature was part of the BlackBerry's predecessor, the RIM Inter@ctive Pager. Indeed, tactile feedback was so valued by the company that it tried to integrate it into the touchscreen with the BlackBerry Storm. In reviewing that phone for The New York Times, David Pogue noted, "A BlackBerry without a keyboard is like an iPod without a scroll wheel." Imagine such a thing.

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