With the BlackBerry Passport, BlackBerry is introducing their new three-row keyboard. While the verdict is still out on how BlackBerry users will feel about it, it's starting to look as though there are already plans to continue with that styling even further. Generally, I don't give patents much weight. BlackBerry files patents all day long and now even have a dedicated business unit handling them. However, when those patents get coupled with device code names, my interest levels in those patents goes up and as pointed out in the CrackBerry forums, we now have new code names and patents.
The patent in question shows a three-row keyboard that is abstractly described as a keyboard that can be tucked away or otherwise hidden, possibly alluding to a slider form factor or some other hybrid design.
A keyboard portion is configured to move (with respect to a housing) between a deployed position and a non-deployed position. A cover pivotally couples to the housing and is configured to at least partially cover the keyboard portion when the keyboard portion is in the non-deployed position and to reveal the keyboard portion when the keyboard portion is in the deployed position. By one approach the cover is configured to move the keyboard portion between the deployed position and the non-deployed position as the cover pivots with respect to the housing.'
The code names in question are 'Visa' and 'Victoria'. I know there's a joke in there somewhere about Visas and Passports but I'll leave that to you. According to the info the devices are suggested to be all-touch with a 5.5-inch display, possibly a 1440p display on a LCD unit and running Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 MSM8974AB. Of course, that's some wild speculation based on scraps of info from current operating systems but still worth mentioning.
So we have some code names, some specs, and some patents that all seem to follow along with previous rumors of these magical devices that may or may not be in testing. What else? Well, according to Ofutur and his info there are also some suggested timelines in which we may actually see these devices.
In his post on BerryReview, which initially looked at the info, he's updated the post to say things look to be shaping up for an early Q2 2015 release. Is that even believable or plausible? Yeah, it is, and I don't really have any doubts at all that BlackBerry is testing more, shall we say, Passport like devices, but I'm guessing they'll be waiting to see how well that device actually does before committing on any Visas or Victorias.
The salt is heavy here but it's all interesting no matter how you shake it.