BlackBerry Q20 Smartphone Revives Classic QWERTY Keyboard Design

Down but not out, BlackBerry will attempt to pick itself back up and once again become a legitimate contender in the smartphone space by returning to its roots. Announced at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, BlackBerry said its new Q20 smartphone will feature a full QWERTY keyboard with the familiar and classic Menu, Back, Send, and End buttons, along with an integrated trackpad for one-handed navigation.

BlackBerry has tried seemingly everything to claw its way back to relevance in the mobile space, including getting away from QWERTY keyboards on its flagship devices. The Z10 was the first touchscreen-only smartphone to run BlackBerry 10 (BB10), followed by the Z30 released in October of last year.

The Q20 is BlackBerry's new flagship phone, and according to the Canadian handset maker, customers missed the physical keyboard, which they deemed essential to the BlackBerry experience. The Q20 brings it back while sporting a 3.5-inch display, the largest yet on a QWERTY device from BlackBerry.

BlackBerry Q10
The BlackBerry Q20 will feature a QWERTY keyboard similar to the one on the Q10 shown above.

"In my first 90 days on the job, I consistently heard from our ardent BlackBerry customers that the hard buttons and trackpad are an essential part of the BlackBerry QWERTY experience, that made their BlackBerry smartphone their go-to productivity tool. I want these customers to know that we heard them, and this new smartphone will be for them," said John Chen, Executive Chairman and CEO at BlackBerry. "Today, we’re delighted to announce the new BlackBerry Q20 smartphone, which is designed to give you the distinct experience that every BlackBerry QWERTY loyalist and high-productivity business customer absolutely loves. With the BlackBerry Q20 smartphone, you’ll get the familiar hard buttons and trackpad that you want, along with the best email service, the best keyboard experience and the best battery life possible."

BlackBerry was surprisingly tight-lipped about the hardware, adding only that it will feature a large battery. Otherwise, we'll have to wait until closer to launch in the second half of 2014 for more details.