The first BlackBerry device running Research In Motion's (RIM) new operating software will not have a physical keyboard.

Users of BlackBerry products have been used to the company's signature keypad, however, as it looks to gain a foothold in the mobile phone market once again the new handset will have a touchscreen keyboard.

The BlackBerry 10 software will be offered on devices with physical keyboards in the future, however, RIM spokeswoman Rebecca Freiburger declined to say when, the Washington Post reports.

It is expected that RIM will begin selling BlackBerry 10 touchscreen handsets later this year.

Analyst with BGC Financial Colin Gillis questioned the wisdom of doing away with the physical keyboard as it is one of the company's main strengths.

"The physical keyboard is the most dominant item that separates out RIM from its competitors. If you are not playing to your historical strengths you may find it more difficult to get traction," he continued.

Posted by Samantha Green

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