Has the tide started to turn on RIM’s BlackBerry fortunes already? Sure, the launch of BlackBerry 10 is going to be the real trial-by-fire, but there’s a palpable sense of optimism in the air lately, with rumors looking to BB10′s arrival faring even better than expected. We’ve had quite a few opportunities to check out some of the upcoming full-touch BB10 hardware, in the form of leaks showing-off the so-called L-series handset, but we’ve been itching to get a better look at the N-series, which will have a hardware keyboard like so many of its BlackBerry predecessors. It’s appeared in renders, sure, but we’ve been hoping to get a real look at the hardware in the flesh. Well, this isn’t quite what we were hoping for, but we suppose it’s a start: an image of what’s apparently the N-series keyboard has been leaked.
If you compare that pic to the N-series renders we’ve seen (below), you can see that it’s quite the strong match. While there’s always the possibility that this component is destined for other hardware, it has such a close resemblance to what we were expecting that it’s hard to imagine it could be for anything else.
We’re still hoping to get a look at a fully-assembled N-series BB10 phone before RIM’s late-January launch event rolls around.