When the Passport was first announced many people focussed on the unusual size. That it wasn’t the same ‘me too’ of every other phone.
Some liked it for it’s originality, some hated it because it looked different and others held their counsel until they knew more.
Well, now BlackBerry are beginning to let everyone know the details of what we discovered on June 21st UTB EXCLUSIVE! Hands On With The BlackBerry Passport!, that it’s not just the screen that’s different.
It’s the keyboard.
And this is amazing stuff.
You see, it’s a physical keyboard all right. But it’s a lot more than that.
You can swipe on it too.
That’s right! It’s a physical touchscreen keyboard!
Here’s Inside BlackBerry’s Michael C to explain:
With the Passport’s touch-enabled keyboard, you’ll be able to navigate web pages, apps and e-mails by lightly brushing your fingers over the keys, which helps with things like scrolling and cursor placement. It’s a minimalist design that maximizes BlackBerry Passport’s already-awesome amount of screen real estate. You’ll be able to read documents faster, as well as keep your fingers close to the keys, ready to type.
Ok… but so what? What does that do for me?
The Passport’s keyboard also sports some custom commands that can boost your productivity.
Let’s take a look:
- Faster scrolling: As noted above, you can use the keyboard to swipe up and down to scroll on long lists in a document or on a browser page, keeping your fingers off the screen and focused on what’s happening.
- More intuitive cursor control and text selection: This is a classic BlackBerry productivity enhancement reinvented for the Passport. Double-tap the keyboard, then drag your finger across the keyboard to drop the cursor at precisely the right point. Or select the text just as you would on an older BlackBerry: hold the SHIFT key while dragging your finger across the keyboard to extend a selection.
- Smart, contextual virtual keys: The Passport’s QWERTY 3-row keyboard creates a clean-looking, right-sized layout. There is also a virtual 4th row on-screen that smartly shifts depending on context. So if you’re typing a password on-screen, the 4th row would automatically include numbers and symbols commonly used in passwords. If you’re typing an e-mail, the ‘@’ symbol will be displayed, and when surfing the Web, the colon and backslash characters needed to type in a URL will be displayed. Like I said, smart! With a little practice, most Passport users should find themselves typing faster than ever before.
- Flick to type: Stuck on a word? BlackBerry 10’s next word suggestion feature learns from you to give you smart, personalized choice of words you’re likely to type. You then just flick up to complete the word.
- Easier delete: Made a mistake? No problem, just swipe back (left) to Delete the last word, just like on our virtual keyboard!
Let me put this into some sort of context…
With the Z10 and Z30 BlackBerry converted me into a Virtual Keyboard guy. I wasn’t sure at first if I would like it but the keyboard on a BlackBerry Z series phone is AMAZING.
And I didn’t realise just how much I used it until a couple of months ago when I thought I would break out a Q10 and go back to physical for a bit, just for old times sake.
IT WAS HARD.
Becaause if I wanted punctuation, I swiped down on it – nothing happened. If I wanted to delete a word, I swiped left on it – nothing happened.
I really wasn’t aware just how much I used these functions. And I missed the screen size too. So it wasn’t long before the gorgeous Q was back in it’s box whilst I merrily swiped away back on my Z30.
But now… here’s the best of both worlds.
A large screen with a physical keyboard that operated as a virtual one?
And that operates as a track pad and screen slider too?
Now that’s TRUE innovation.
Something that is pure BlackBerry.
And BlackBerry have only JUST started telling us what this thing can do.
I can’t wait for the rest.