It is the most important feature of a BlackBerry for any serious communicator and it's no wonder that RIM is making a Big Deal about it.
As the Dev Alpha has been updated, we've seen gradual improvements to the virtual keyboard bringing function, beauty and ease to that often overlooked part of the BlackBerry experience.
To see how effective the new keyboard is, I decided to write this entire article on my BlackBerry 10.
Read on to find out all the tricks that are found hidden away.
The big feature unveiled at BlackBerry World 2012 was the keyboard prediction. It is quite simply brilliant.
As you type, your BlackBerry will guess what your next word will be and show a choice in the keyboard frets. To make the word appear on the screen, you just need to swipe it up.
The really cool thing about this is that the predicted word appears where your next letter will be, so you don't have to keep an eye on an area of the keyboard that you are not actively looking at.
Check out AgentBlackBerry's hands-on
with it to see it in action.
If you want to, you can have the predict words appear at the top of the keyboard much like on the PlayBook at the moment. You can turn it off completely if you don't like the feature. You are in complete control.
Press for Caps and More
A favourite from my Bold keyboard is the ability to hold down a letter to capitalise it. So it's great to see this appear on the most recent BlackBerry 10 update.
Just hold a key down for 1 second and a capital letter will appear:
Hold the key down for a little longer and an alternative set of characters appear that you can select from - much like holding down a key and moving the trackpad on traditional BlackBerry keyboards.
If anything, this popup method is more efficient now!
As well as swiping words up, the keyboard has some other nifty shortcuts that are triggered by using gestures.
If you want to delete the previous word that you have typed, then you can just slide your thumb from right to left on the keyboard. You don't even have to start on the delete key!
This is also featured in AgentBlackBerry's hands-on
Now, let's say that you want to type a number or symbol quickly, then just put your thumb anywhere on the keyboard, swipe downwards, and the number / symbols layout will appear. Do it again, and the additional symbols appear. Swipe a third time and you are back to the standard characters. Wow!
Finally, a quick way to pop a capital letter or number onto the screen is to just press on the caps or symbol key and then slide over to the desired letter or symbol that you want. Once you let go, the character will appear and you'll be straight back to the regular keyboard.
Of course, you may not like all of the predictive features and other bits. The BlackBerry 10 Keyboard allows for a great deal of customisation to work how you want it to - not how you are expected to.
More on that next time.
I think that all of the enhancements makes the new keyboard hugely compelling for traditional BlackBerry people. How do you think the new BlackBerry Virtual keyboard will stack up against a physical one? Are you tempted to go all-touch?