Phone Arena has a short video up in which the BlackBerry Passport gets introduced. The unique hardware keyboard whose entire surface is also a touchpad gets demonstrated.
Typical of a BlackBerry, the Passport employs a portrait style QWERTY keyboard. However, this time around, they’ve minimized the layout by shrinking the row of buttons to a mere 3 – as opposed to the 4 we’re normally accustomed to seeing. Additionally, numbers and punctuations aren’t available through the keyboard, but they’ve been turned into virtual keys that sit above the top row for quick access. And during our demo, we got the chance to see the keyboard be used to scroll through web pages by lightly brushing your finger over the QWERTY.
This has been a long time coming: innovation in the hardware keyboard space. Currently, there are effectively no decent high-end smartphones with hardware keyboards, and that’s a shame. I’m glad BlackBerry has the guts to go against the grain here and try to breath new life into this severely neglected form factor.