Don’t mess with Blackberry, even if you’re Ryan Seacrest. That’s the lesson Typo seems to have learned. After a lawsuit and an injunction, the company has reached a settlement with BlackBerry to stop selling its Blackberry-like smartphone Bluetooth thumb keyboards. It can still make keyboards for tablets, but its entire original raison d’être—to make a more useful smartphone keyboard—is now completely off the table.

This seems like a pity for people who prefer the thumb keyboard style that’s so hard to find on non-BlackBerry touchscreen smartphones these days, but it can hardly be disputed that Typo made some pretty big mistakes (including Seacrest outright admitting that the Typo was meant to be a BlackBerry copycat).

I wonder if there’s any chance BlackBerry might be willing to license its keyboard patents? Seems unlikely; surely Typo would have done so as part of the settlement if there was any chance they were willing to do so. (Unless Typo’s antics ticked them off enough to make that impossible.)

For now, it looks like there’s only one real option for people who prefer a thumb keyboard: Buy a BlackBerry.


  1. Those who’re looking for a small, thumb-capable smartphone keyboard might search ebay for:

    bluetooth mini keyboard for smartphone

    Dozens of people are selling them at prices that range from $5 up. Most are free-standing, but you can find some that are part of a case for some models of smartphones. Here’s a review of some for older models of iPhones:

    Others fold out, giving you something similar to regular keyboard. I have one intended for a Palm that mates fine with my iPhone.

    Also, this Techhive article tells you how to use a Blackberry to control tablets from other makers, including using the keyboard.

    There is also this:

    Google for other ideas. Where there is a will, there is a way.

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