Mobile news

Why Gen X and Gen Z both want keyboards on their smartphone

Can a ragtag team of ex-BlackBerry employees and fanboys bring mobile keyboards back with Clicks?

The last Canadian-made BlackBerry smartphone shipped in 2016, but the company was well and truly dead before that. Facing intense competitive pressures from Apple and Android, it famously mishandled a technology transition at the worst possible time, and while trying to be something it wasn’t, forgot what people loved about it. 

“When we unveiled the company and the product to the world, the hope was ‘people are going to be excited.’ Or maybe we’re completely wrong.”

CrackBerry Kevin

How do I know all this? Well, I used to be the best BlackBerry blogger around. And after that, I worked at the company for a front-row seat to the decline. 

But now, decades after they fell out of fashion, people still crave that sweet ‘crackberry’ hit of a clicky keyboard on their smartphone. 

Why? And why did it take a ragtag team of ex-Blackberry employees and fanboys to put something like Clicks together?

To answer those questions, this week we’re talking to a company co-founded by CrackBerry Kevin and Mr. Mobile. I can’t believe I just wrote those words. It’s 2008 again.

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But while I’m mostly interested in dredging through my historical trauma (it’s why I podcast), Clicks co-founder Kevin Michaluk and SVP Jeff Gadway were clear that their iPhone keyboard accessory wasn’t built solely for those old enough to remember the noughties fondly. There’s a whole new generation interested in mashing keys, with different needs, but for the same overall purpose: control.

It’s an important consideration in this era of tech, and makes for great podcast fodder. Just forgive us the brief detours back to our salad days.

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The BetaKit Podcast is presented by Float: Canada’s only business finance platform for managing all non-payroll spending in one place.

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The BetaKit Podcast is hosted by Douglas Soltys & Rob Kenedi. Feature image courtesy Clicks.


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