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Gizmodo calls the upcoming Q10 Blackberry’s “most important phone.” We couldn’t agree more. At this week’s big unveiling of the long-awaited Blackberry OS 10 and the two new accompanying phones, the Z10 got far more attention. After all, it’s the flagship competitor to Apple’s iPhone and Google’s Nexus. It’s the big touchscreen device with fancy specs.
And it is almost completely irrelevant already. That phone will not cause people to flock, en masse, back to the Artist Formerly Known as RIM’s ecosystem. It is, spec-wise, a standard touchscreen device. Blackberry’s OS might be spectacular - we haven’t tried it yet - but to reference the new spokeswoman for Blackberry, “everything means nothing, if I ain’t got [apps].”
BlackBerry can claim 70,000 apps. It still lacks many mainstays, notably Instagram. BlackBerry's Android Player, which allows some Android Apps to play on BlackBerry's proprietary QNX-based operating system, will alleviate some of the heart, or app-ache, but still, why flock to an ordinary device on a new OS with fewer apps?
It's the QWERTY keyboard, duh. No, the flagship phone does not have a keyboard. That's why we said the Q10, which is the modern reincarnation of the immortal BlackBerry Curve, will be the most important phone. Beside's BlackBerry's penchant for secure email and being corporate/IT friendly, how many people do you know who hate touchscreen keyboards?
Ladies with long nails, raise your decorated hands. Though many now eschew the nylon adornment of their metacarpals for the sake of faster typing and the ability to control a touchscreen, there are the hardcore holdouts. Some of the women in our lives will maintain the "from my cold dead hands" approach to their long nails, which means the BlackBerry keyboard is a godsend. Ahem, Professor Levin, this phone is for you.
You see, nearly all modern touchscreens are of the capacitive variety, which means they read electricity from your fingertips and use that to determine where you are touching. They don't read long nails, however. If you ever used an old-school Palm Pilot, those used resistive touchscreens, which were a bit squishy and read everything. Apple chose to go with capacitive on their first iPhones, and as goes Apple, so goes the tech world.
It's not just the long-nailed ladies that the keyboard helps either. No matter how big the touchscreen, and how great the software keyboard is, there are still too many typos and annoying autocorrect mistakes that keep our touchscreen phones from being truly productive devices. Some of us (and this leans toward the guy lawyers out there) just have thick and clumsy fingers.
If BlackBerry can convince or bribe developers to port the most important and popular apps over to their store, and if those still lugging around old BlackBerry Curves upgrade, the reports of BlackBerry's demise might just prove to be a bit exaggerated. As is, they've gone from the leader of smartphones to a forgotten name. The time-honored keyboard could be the key to their resurrection.