During the earnings call, John Chen announced - to some people’s shock, or expectations or others’ sadness – that the BlackBerry Hardware division would be shutting down. This move was made by the sheer fact that John Chen was unfortunately unable to make the division profitable and he had set a timeframe in which he had to make a decision on its ill fate.
BlackBerry’s plan here out will be to develop their software for devices and then license it out to phone OEMs for their use in physical devices. That decision had a large number of people wondering about the fate of the iconic keyboard. If BlackBerry would no longer develop and design devices, then wouldn’t their keyboard just die as well? Luckily for those physical keyboard lovers out there (shout out to my buddy Steve D.) BlackBerry has confirmed that there will still be those iconic physical keyboards.
According to Alex Thurber:
"There will still be a keyboard-based BlackBerry device, designed and distributed within the next six months,"
"I think there's a demand for keyboard phones. As we've been showing mockups of what we've been working on, to our carrier and distributor partners, they are very excited about this,"
The device which he hinted at is what we know as the BlackBerry Mercury. The Mercury is rumoured to be a flagship spec’d device to complete with the top-tier devices out there. What exactly will be under the hood of it and who exactly will be developing it is still a question left to be answered. But what is for sure now is that there will be physical keyboards.