Time for improved BlackBerry keyboards, RIM please add key punctuation

RIM is getting ready to release BlackBerry 10 and new hardware, so it's also a good time for them to evaluate their leading QWERTY keyboards to see if they can be improved as well. There are a couple tweaks I would like to see.
Written by Matthew Miller, Contributing Writer
Time for improved BlackBerry keyboards, RIM please add key punctuation

I regularly hear people say that RIM had the best QWERTY keyboards and no one could match a BlackBerry. I do agree they were excellent, especially on the BlackBerry Bold 9900, but my personal experiences are that past Nokia and Samsung front facing QWERTY keyboards were better designed thanks primarily to a few key characters. Unfortunately, the leaked images of the likely BlackBerry 10-powered X10 show these characters are still missing.

The Nokia E71 was one of my all-time favorite Nokia devices and I still have one in a drawer as it serves as a great backup phone. I preferred the E71 and Samsung Jack keyboards over my Bold 9900 because they had dedicated first strike (not via Shift or Alt) buttons for the @ character (E71 only), comma, period, and question mark. I understand you can now press the space bar twice to get a period on a BlackBerry (and on most software keyboards), but the other regularly used punctuation marks require a second button press. I understand this is a small issue and there are many other reasons to like the layout of RIM's QWERTY keyboards, but when entering a lot of text it is something that drives me crazy when I KNOW RIM could tweak their designs to add these key punctuations marks to first strike keys. Do you have any recommended tweaks for RIM's QWERTY keyboards? Should other manufacturers offer QWERTY keyboards in the future too?

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