Aside from the Geekbench results showing off some purported specs for the BlackBerry 'Mercury', a new patent filed BlackBerry has now appeared that adds more weight to the rumor that QWERTY device will be making use of a fingerprint sensor through its touch-sensitive keyboard. Registered as US20160299682A1 and published on October 13, 2016, the new patent in its abstract form highlights how BlackBerry plans to employ authentication using a touch-sensitive keyboard.

Abstract: For a computing device that employs a touch-sensitive keyboard, authentication may involve illustrating, to the electronic device, knowledge of a stored secret though providing input, at least in part, via the touch-sensitive keyboard. The input may be in the form of swipes alone or in combination with key actuations. Furthermore, the swipes and key actuations may be associated with a particular region of the touch-sensitive keyboard.

Field: The present application relates generally to authentication for access to a device and, more specifically, to authentication using a touch-sensitive keyboard.

Background: As each generation of Smartphone becomes more important to the day-to-day life of individual users, protection of the often-sensitive data contained on a Smartphone become increasingly important. Such protection is typically provided by securing a Smartphone with one or more forms of authentication. That is, a user must successfully complete an authentication process to be granted access to the Smartphone.

Early authentication processes involved entering a numeric password. Later, alphanumeric passwords added some complexity and, arguably, made passwords more memorable. In further advanced authentication processes, a Smartphone presents an image and completing an authentication process involves swiping a finger between several points on the image.

Situations requiring authentication may include enabling access to a physical location or allowing use of a credit/debit card or similar instrument. Passwords are typically alpha-numeric strings or sequences entered on a keyboard. Graphical authentication systems, where passwords are comprised of graphical components, also exist.

As you can tell by reading through it, it doesn't exactly state that a fingerprint scanner in the traditional sense will be integrated but instead, that swipes and combination of keys could be used in a certain region of the keyboard for authentication in place of numeric or alphanumeric passwords. Still, it doesn't rule traditional integration either as BlackBerry's method as stated in the patent could just be an additional form of authentication, which would actually be rather creative and innovative versus the norm.

View the patent via Fresh Patents