Here’s Kopi, the keyboarded phone that couldn’t save BlackBerry


After BlackBerry(s bbry) tried to reinvent itself with new software and a full-touchscreen phone, the company later considered returning to its roots. And those roots run deep with hardware keyboard fans as BlackBerry devices were widely considered to have the best buttons for typing. Following falling sales that never turned around, BlackBerry shelved its new phone, code-named Kopi, with its combination of touchscreen and hardware keyboard.

You could have just bought one, however.

kopi handset front

The never-released handset was available on eBay with a starting price of $500, according to CrackBerry and the listing now shows the phone as sold with the best offer taken. The phone is in working condition, running BlackBerry 10.2.1 but won’t likely get any software updates or future support. Clearly someone was looking for a piece of history from the one-time leader of the smartphone industry.

When I look at the Kopi, I’m reminded of both BlackBerry’s rich heritage and also its sad failure to change with the times.

Instead of considering the 2007  iPhone(s aapl) and other touchscreen phones to follow it as potential challengers, BlackBerry didn’t take the competition seriously until it was too late. An attempt at a quick transition — by grafting a touchscreen with a non-touch optimized operating system — didn’t help and by the time BlackBerry had a potentially credible challenger in its BlackBerry Z10 handset, the smartphone world had moved on.


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