RIM: The BlackBerry trackpad is not dead

4th May 2011 | 16:08

RIM: The BlackBerry trackpad is not dead

Because a touchscreen and a QWERTY aren't enough

TechRadar rating:

3 stars

For a phone that's supposed to be the poster child of the new BlackBerry 6 OS, we hoped for a lot more. If you're a BlackBerry stalwart then you might find some joy here, but otherwise the Torch is unlikely to convert many of the Android and iPhone brigade.


Smooth touchscreen control; Great camera with scene selectors; Slide-out keyboard is a good compromise; Bright and crisp 3.2-inch screen; Good enterprise asset-tracking options;


Too slow for serious smartphone use; Keyboard is too small; App selection too practical; Not great for media; A bit on the bulky side;

RIM may be all about the touchscreens these days, but it still has a lot of love for the humble and oft-overlooked smartphone trackpad.

With the company releasing more and more touchscreen smartphones, like the BlackBerry Torch and the newly launched Bold Touch 9900, you could be forgiven for thinking the trackpad's days are numbered.

"People like having their finger on that screen and manipulating it. But this takes nothing away from using the trackpad," Carlo Chiarello, RIM's VP of GSM/UMTS Business Unit, told TechRadar in an interview.

Safety pad

"We tested a bunch of designs that got rid of the trackpad… and it wasn't the same," he continued.

"If you're coming from a keyboard environment on a BlackBerry, it's almost a little bit of a safety net for you."

Although any future full-touch handsets will likely be as trackpad-less as the BlackBerry PlayBook, as far as RIM's hybrid touchscreen/QWERTY smartphones are concerned, the trackpad is here to stay.

BlackBerry RIM smartphones BlackBerry Torch
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