Ryan Seacrest, host of American Idol, obviously thought this was an idea that showed some ‘talent,’ but BlackBerry is not having it. Seacrest invested in TYPO, which makes a cover for the iPhone 5 series that links to the phone through Bluetooth and turns your iPhone into a quasi BlackBerry with a full keyboard.
It’s quite a cute idea, and Ryan obviously thought so too. He probably missed that satisfying click of pressing real keys when texting and emailing, and thought that he’s not the only one.
The product they have come up with, The TYPO, slides onto an iPhone from both ends and covers the home button, replacing it and the rest of the lower edge of the smartphone with a full QWERTY keyboard. The idea seems like a winner, but BlackBerry is not impressed.
BlackBerry, which has been going through a really rough patch for the last few years, and as the Wall Street Journal reported, had even put itself up for sale recently due to their financial predicament, has decided to use legal action to gain some cash flow this time around, not too dissimilar to the way Apple and Samsung keep getting into patent infringement lawsuits.
“This is a blatant infringement against BlackBerry’s iconic keyboard, and we will vigorously protect our intellectual property against any company that attempts to copy our unique design,” said Steve Zipperstein, BlackBerry’s general counsel and chief legal officer.
BlackBerry, which is one of the only serious players left in the smartphone market with a real keyboard, has been using that feature to lure customers to their product line for years. Marketing to the many avid texters and emailers who might be nervous to make the move to a touch-screen device for their typing, BlackBerry has capitalized on their signature keyboard to keep the brand afloat.
So, when Seacrest’s little start-up decided to try and make the best of both worlds with a keyboard that clicks onto the ubiquitous iPhone, BlackBerry just couldn’t let that fly. The ‘TYPO’ does bear a certain similarity once fitted to some of the BlackBerry range of phones, but then, how much can you change a Qwerty keyboard? It’s going to be an interesting court-case.
The TYPO iPhone keyboard is now available Pre-Order for $99, which means that by the time you’ve paid for the iPhone 5S and the TYPO keyboard you could have bought a BlackBerry and had enough change for an iPod touch!
The only other explanation is that Simon Cowell has just bought shares in BlackBerry and wants to get the last laugh on Ryan Seacrest. So what features would you put in the next smartphone?