Remember BlackBerry phones? They defined an era of mobile communications, but they rapidly began to lose out to the likes of Apple and Samsung as technology evolved and touchscreens became the norm.
BlackBerry hasn't produced any phones for years, but many people still have a soft spot for its QWERTY keyboards with their tiny clicky buttons. And one company's banking on that nostalgia to the point that it's developed a bizarre accessory to allow you to use a BlackBerry keyboard with a PC, Mac or tablet (no, we won't be including it in our pick of the best keyboards).
My first thought was that this was an April Fools' joke when I saw the story published on Gizmodo over the weekend, but no. It's real. For $30, you can buy a device that offers a BlackBerry keyboard that you can use as an input for Windows, Mac, or Linux PCs or Android or iOS mobile devices.
Sweden-based Solder Party’s BBQ20KBD whacks a genuine BlackBerry Q20 keyboard onto a custom printed circuit board with a clear plastic case, adding on a USB-C port and I2C interface. The result is a USB HID keyboard and mouse that uses a Raspberry Pi microcontroller to translate key presses.
Now clearly, the BBQ20KBD is not a very practical keyboard solution for anyone working on a PC, although maybe there's a potential use case for combination with a tablet for those that don't already have a keyboard case. At least for anyone looking for a very compact and portable solution. Maybe. And the keyboard is backlit.
You don't get all the keys that you would on a full-size keyboard, but the manufacturer has added a few solutions to get around that. You can press the right-shift key plus Alt to turn on Caps lock, hit the microphone key for a tilde, and Alt + Enter will give you a vertical bar glyph. The little optical trackpad even acts like a mouse, and you can use it to replicate the function of arrow keys if you hold down 'Alt'.