Some still prefer physical keyboard

The latest model to reach Singapore is the BlackBerry KEYone, which sports a physical keyboard that is synonymous with the brand. It went on sale here on Oct 21.
The latest model to reach Singapore is the BlackBerry KEYone, which sports a physical keyboard that is synonymous with the brand. It went on sale here on Oct 21. PHOTO: BLACKBERRY

Nokia is not the only former mobile phone giant to license its brand to other companies.

BlackBerry, which had over 42 per cent of the US smartphone market in 2010, decided last year to discontinue its ailing handset business and license its brand and software to third-party companies.

The company secured licensing deals with three hardware makers, notably China's TCL Communication Technology Holdings. TCL, which also sells phones under the Alcatel branding, has launched a number of BlackBerry-branded Android phones preloaded with BlackBerry software and services.

The latest model to reach Singapore is the BlackBerry KEYone, which sports a physical keyboard that is synonymous with the brand. It went on sale here on Oct 21.

Mr Wee Teck Loo, head of consumer electronics at Euromonitor International, doubts that many consumers will bite: "A physical keyboard on a phone was better for typing when smartphone touchscreen technology was immature. The loss of screen area over keyboard is too big a sacrifice for most people."

However, business consultant Neo Wee Wu is one of those who still prefer using a physical keyboard on the phone. Despite trying many other smartphones, he finds himself returning to his BlackBerry Priv time and again.

 

"I prefer a physical keyboard and BlackBerry phones have given me the best typing experience," he said. He also calls the BlackBerry Hub app a lifesaver for organising his e-mails and social media networks in an orderly manner.

"The new KEYone is quite expensive, so I am waiting for the price to drop," he said.

Vincent Chang

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 25, 2017, with the headline 'Some still prefer physical keyboard'. Print Edition | Subscribe