Inside BlackBerry Feature: Designing the new BlackBerry Q10

BlackBerry Q10

BlackBerry Q10 Sketches

BlackBerry Q10 availability is just around the corner and soon you’ll be able to get your hands on this much-anticipated smartphone. There’s a lot to be said about the attention to detail that has been put in to crafting this premium smartphone. With a rich heritage of building what some have called the best physical keyboard experience in the industry – the task of taking that experience to the next level for BlackBerry 10 was a welcomed challenge. Over the past few months, I’ve been working with the design team at BlackBerry to understand what goes into building the next iconic BlackBerry smartphone. Here’s what they have to say about designing the gorgeous new BlackBerry Q10.

Feature post from the design team at BlackBerry:
Designing the first physical keyboard smartphone powered by BlackBerry 10 presented us with an interesting design challenge. How do you evolve such an iconic design; one loved by millions upon millions of users around the world?

The gesture based user experience that is core to BlackBerry 10 meant there was no longer a need for dedicated menu keys and the track pad. This allowed us to increase both the size of both the display (30 per cent larger) and the keypad while keeping the overall product approximately the same dimensions.

The frets you see between the keys on the BlackBerry Q10 are thicker than those found on the Bold 9900. These thicker frets separate the keys and allow more room for precise key strikes and helping to build muscle memory, making the right keys easy to find.

The white font feature on black keys is Slate Pro, and is part of the humanist genre which is simply the most legible sans serif style for processing information quickly. The open shapes, varying proportions, subtle stroke differences aid the reader and lend an organic, approachable feel to our User Interface (UI) design.

Slate Pro is the work of Rod McDonald, a Canadian award-winning typeface designer and lettering artist. McDonald designed Slate Pro with the intent to have the typeface function well in print as on-screen.

BlackBerry Q10 Keyboard

We’ve heard incredibly positive feedback from our users in testing telling us they prefer this new keypad because it allows them to type faster with added comfort.

In keeping with our premium products, meticulous attention has been paid to every detail of the design, the selection of each materials and processes used to build each unit. Here are some examples:

  • The stainless steel fret found across the back of the BlackBerry Q10 helps preserve the finish of the back cover by holding the phone off the surface it is resting on.
  • The glass-weave and soft touch coating used on the back cover is exclusive to the BlackBerry Q10 and have been years in development. By forming the glass weave in to a 3D shape, we have made it incredibly strong. The soft touch finish makes the BlackBerry Q10 easy to hold and feels beautiful in your hand while minimizing fingerprints.
  • Screen Shot 2013-04-23 at 10.47.48 PM

  • The keyboard frets have been designed with a chamfered edge so that they connect with the frame with incredible precision and accuracy
  • Screen Shot 2013-04-23 at 10.47.57 PM

  • The frame is carved out of solid block of forged, 304 stainless steel to make the BlackBerry Q10 strong and durable. Each frame takes 20 minutes to produce through a multi-step computer controlled machining process. The black PVD finish has been chosen to keep the frame from scratching as you keep moving with the BlackBerry Q10.

Screen Shot 2013-04-23 at 10.48.05 PM

There you have it an Inside BlackBerry look at designing the new BlackBerry Q10 smartphone. Is this the BlackBerry 10 smartphone you’ve been waiting for? Show your love for the design team by giving them a shout out in the comments below. Also if you have any questions about the design, we’ll try to get them answered.

About Donny Halliwell

Donny is a Senior Product Marketing Manager at BlackBerry and Former Editor-in-Chief for the Inside BlackBerry blogs. There's no disputing, #TeamBlackBerry is awesome. I'm pumped to have the opportunity to talk with you and bring you the latest and greatest from Inside BlackBerry every day. In my spare time, I can be found helping entrepreneurs and startup companies grow their business. I spend the rest, obsessing over the auto industry, or enjoying music. Follow me on Twitter or Google+

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