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BlackBerry to Combine Touchscreen and Slider Next Year

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BlackBerry slider patentWATERLOO, Canada – Mobile Magazine reports that BlackBerry is working on a touchscreen slider, combining two very popular options for input to smartphones.

The Storm was BlackBerry’s first attempt at a full touchscreen device, it took about a year, but now it is very usable. The Storm2, just released last month, has a slightly better touchscreen, but like the Storm and the iPhone, just not quite perfect. BlackBerry may have the answer with a combination of the two, a large touchscreen that slides to reveal a QWERTY keyboard. Dedicated keys for multimedia applications, and send, end, menu, and back.

As a heavy user of the Storm, I know from personal experience that the touchscreen keyboard had a bit of a learning curve, and that it is slightly slower to type on than a dedicated hardware keyboard. It took me about a week to become comfortable with the Storm’s touchscreen keyboard, acquiring the right finger position and pressure to get the key I was looking for. Coming from an older BlackBerry with the dedicated keyboard, the adjustment probably took longer than for a fresh user. The ability to “mash” the keys on a dedicated keyboard leads to a faster typing experience. The larger screen on the Storm is a big advantage, trading off for slower typing seemed fair to me.

BlackBerry enthusiasts will eagerly await this new form factor from the Canadian manufacturer, which has been coming strongly in the market recently.

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By , RIM-affairs Correspondent on Nov 22nd, 2009 GMT +2

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