Blackberry's Keyboard Focus Plays To A Small Audience
Be honest, when was the last time you picked up your smartphone and wished it packed a physical keyboard? Whenever it was, it has slipped so far into distant memory that I can't remember it.
I was never a Blackberry user though. I always found it's platform as close to useless as Nokia's Symbian.
Now that Blackberry has accepted the reality that it cannot continue with its own mobile platform and made the switch to Android it has an opportunity to carve a niche for itself in the billion strong Android market.
It will only do that by changing the way it thinks.
For example the Priv and recently leaked Vienna both sport physical keyboards. Is that a selling point? Probably for the very small portion of smartphone buyers who answered my opening question 'every single day'.
What the keyboard really does is give most buyers a solid reason to not buy the Priv - a number of reviewers mention sticking to virtual keys after the intial flourish. That's not the kind of news that sits well with a device that is built around its keyboard.
Blackberry has to try and leverage its remaining brand loyalty and history and use it to position itself at the premium end of the Android market. It can only do that by building faultless hardware and software combinations.
The Priv is apparently far from that.
Blackberry has a security and privacy angle that could play well in the enterprise and premium buyers market, it needs to build a handset that doesn't deter those buyers. Which means getting rid of the keyboard and shipping a regular smartphone.
Yes it's valid for Blackberry to offer its shrinking band of loyal customers a hardware keyboard device, but it should only be doing that after it has established a market for itself. Because if it spends all its capital building keyboard handsets that nobody wants it won't generate enough to build the large screen slates that customers really do want.
And that really would be the end of the company.