BlackBerry OS closes shop and goes with the physical QWERTY keyboard

BlackBerry OS closes shop and goes with the physical QWERTY keyboard. PHOTO/Courtesy

Abandoned BlackBerry’s (the ones that run BlackBerrys own OS) will not be in the market anymore because the company has announced it will close down the servers on which they relied for the phones production.

It seems that the death of the BlackBerry was unavoidable after all. Only time was taking time.  In 2016 the company stopped making its own phones and lent its name to Android-powered devices from TCL.

Nevertheless recently the company declared it is turning off its own hosted servers for supplying and connecting to cloud services, meaning its older devices won’t be able to “reliably function”. Some features may still function, but BlackBerry isn’t promising anything anymore. 

Some BlackBerry fans have shown dismay over the news, particularly because of the phone’s trademark physical QWERTY keyboards. Henceforth, if you want the keyboard feature, there’s only one manufacturer left.

QWERTY keyboards have been on a decline, especially with the storm of smartphones and touch keyboards. QWERTY keyboards have  long lineage on mobile devices, going back to the late 1990s. They really started to decline when large, capacitive touch screens became cheap enough to create truly functional touch keyboards, in 2007-08, but they took a while to decline from there. 

People who still love QWERTY love the tactile feedback and the ability to type with muscle memory. Great QWERTY texters can tap things out without looking, even under a table while they’re doing other things—a feat that isn’t possible with touch keyboards.

But the flexibility of touch keyboards, and the demand for large displays for video, gaming, and social networking, eventually won out. A new company, OnwardMobility, claimed last year to be developing a QWERTY-keyboarded phone with the BlackBerry brand, but so far it’s vaporware.

However, there is still hope for the feature lovers. The Unihertz Titan Pocket is the closest you can get to a BlackBerry now.

The only company still selling BlackBerry-style QWERTY phones for the US is an obscure Chinese firm called Unihertz.

Unihertz specializes in weird form factors. Its Jelly and Atom lines are tiny, when it’s hard to find tiny phones nowadays. Its new TickTock is huge and has a circular rear display, like a watch face. And its Titan line has QWERTY keyboards.

Unihertz sells two keyboarded, Android-based Titan phones: the $339.99 Titan (very big, like a BlackBerry Passport) and the $299.99 Titan Pocket (smaller, like a BlackBerry Bold.)


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