BlackBerry has gone ahead and revealed a bit more about the capabilities they have put into the BlackBerry Passport keyboard. This is an innovative physical keyboard that can also be controlled using touch and touch gestures. The best one I have heard so far is using the keyboard as a trackpad to scroll websites or emails in the browser.
BlackBerry has posed up an interesting description of how these gestures will work on the keyboard without even touching the touchscreen. Here are the gestures:
- Scrolling: As noted above, you can use the keyboard to swipe up and down to scroll on long lists or in the browser. Keeping your fingers off the screen and focused on what’s happening.
- 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.
- Contextual virtual keys: In addition to the Passport’s very clean physical QWERTY keyboard, we have added a dynamic virtual row on-screen that smartly shifts depending on context. So if you’re typing a password on-screen, numbers and symbols commonly used in passwords will automatically pop up. Or if you’re typing an e-mail address, the [email protected] symbol will be displayed. Or if you’re surfing the Web, the colon and backslash characters needed to type in a URL will be displayed. And if you need access to any special symbol or character, just swipe down on the keyboard to see all of them at once. Like I said, smart!
- Flick: 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. No more Darn Auto-Corrects, as you type faster and more accurately over all.
- Delete: Made a mistake? No problem, just swipe back (left) to Delete the last word, just like on our virtual keyboard!
- Entering an accented character? Hold the letter key down, and then lightly tap on the key to add the appropriate accent!
What do you think of these innovations? It sort of reminds me of the tactile touchscreen that BlackBerry patented back in the day but with practical ramifications.