Google Design Chief Would Love to Work With RIM on an Android Phone With a Real Keyboard

Image credit: Joanna Stern / ABC News

SAN FRANCISCO - Take a look at the myriad Android phones on the market today and you'll notice that most of them no longer have actual keypads - only virtual keyboards on their screens. But Google's Director of Android User Experience, Matias Duarte, said he still hopes there will be Android phones with hardware keyboards.

"I am still a huge fan of hardware keyboards," Duarte told ABC News in an interview. "Many of the products I have worked on in the past have had them. I think there is a place for them - it's all about choice and different types of devices. I would love, personally, to have a portrait oriented device, like we made at Palm."

Before joining Google, Duarte headed up software design at Palm and worked on the company's Palm Pre device, which had a physical keyboard and touchscreen.

On the heels of RIM's major loss and struggles to put out a new operating system and phones, Duarte said he would love to work with the BlackBerry maker. "If RIM wanted to work on Android devices, I would really welcome that. They clearly make great physical keyboards."

Duarte is one of the leads on Google's Android Nexus program, in which Google works closely with hardware partners to make phones or tablets to highlight the software. Google and Asus released the Nexus 7 tablet yesterday with the new version of Android called Jelly Bean.

Just today RIM announced plans to cut 5,000 employees after reporting lackluster earnings. The company does allow for Android applications to run on its own software, but has continued with its plans to develop BlackBerry 10, the next version of its BlackBerry software for its phones.

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