While BlackBerry has been making some phones without keyboards ever since 2008, it has long held true that the majority of BlackBerrys sold have had a physical keyboard. However now that BlackBerry has moved on to their new QNX based operating system that is no longer a given. Even now that the Q10 is widely available, the vast majority of BlackBerry 10 users do not have a physical keyboard on their device.
When looking at app downloads the BlackBerry Z10 has outperformed the Q10 for month after month, and June was no different. This has been true both across games, as well as in more standard utility apps. For example look at app downloads in the Productivity-Organization category where I happen to have access to stats from some of the top ranked apps. If anything you would think that a category with a ‘get things done’ approach like this one would show an oversampling of keyboard users. In fact they are by far in the minority.
The top ranked third-party app in the category is the Stuff I Need checklist app that saw 83.5% of downloads in June to users without a physical keyboard (see the pie chart above). The next most popular app is Corky Notes which saw 75% of its downloads on the Z10 over the same month (see the pie chart below). Downloads of both apps skewing heavily away from the physical keyboard phones.
While BlackBerry 10 does continue to offer more devices with a full keyboard than iOS or Android, having one has become the exception, not the rule. On BlackBerry 10 it is time to stop thinking first about keyboards, and remember that most users on the platform are touchscreen only.