BlackBerry handset to feature hardware keyboard with Swype-like abilities?
BlackBerry is planning a smartphone much wider than what's traditionally been available on the market, according to BGR. The handset is said to be called the Windermere internally and is part of BlackBerry's grand plan under its new CEO John Chen to make a comeback in the smartphone space.
The Windermere will improve on the traditional keyboard, which has been a focus area of BlackBerry since its inception.
It will reportedly feature a hardware keyboard with three rows of keys, instead of four. All of the keys will be touch sensitive, like the Swype application on Android and iOS. The keys will offer the ability to press on them like a traditional keyboard, but will also let you swipe your fingers across to quickly access numbers, symbols and accent keys.
While this type of swiping has been done on a software keyboard, it will be the first of its kind for hardware. Presumably such a keybord would be an important marketing point BlackBerry would use for the handset, if it does come to market.
The new keyboard will lead to the wider design of the Windermere. Specific dimensions weren't shared, but the handset is wide enough that BlackBerry is considering letting users run two apps side by side at one time, according to BGR.
It's not clear how the Windermere fits in with the 64-bit octacore handset BlackBerry is planning for a September release. BGR says BlackBerry is currently shopping around for a partner on the Windermere, which is in prototype phase.
Foxconn and BlackBerry launched a five-year partnership in December 2013 to work together to create a new smartphone.
"Partnering with Foxconn allows BlackBerry to focus on what we do best - iconic design, world-class security, software development and enterprise mobility management - while simultaneously addressing fast-growing markets leveraging Foxconn's scale and efficiency that will allow us to compete more effectively," Chen said.