A Smartphone That Can Fly - RIM's "Winged" Keyboard :)

By Kevin Michaluk on 26 Dec 2008 11:17 am EST
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RIM's Flying Keyboard

You can't say the guys and gals at Waterloo don't at least try to innovate. Over the past year and a bit we've featured a few cool-looking RIM patents here in the blogs, including one for an Angular Keyboard, a SureType BlackBerry with Tilt & Slide form factor and even a full-out BlackBerry Slider. Whether or not we ever see these patents actually get used in a BlackBerry smartphone only time will tell. Regardless, at least these three patens are are all kinda cool to look at.

I can't really say the same for RIM's latest patent application though. Just yesterday, the USPTO made public RIM's filing for an "APPEARANCE ADAPTABLE KEYPAD FOR A HANDHELD COMMUNICATION DEVICE." From the abstract:

A handheld communication device configurable between a telephone mode and an email mode is described. The handheld communication device has a body with a front face at which a user input is located. The user input includes an appearance-adaptable keypad configurable between a telephone keypad when the device is in the telephone mode, and a text entry keypad when the device is in the email mode. The telephone keypad includes a plurality of alphanumeric input keys. The telephone keypad is arranged in a standard telephone keypad layout when the device is in the telephone mode. The text entry keypad includes a plurality of alphabetic input keys. The text entry keypad is arranged in a standard text entry keyboard layout when the device is in the email mode.  

Maybe there is genius buried within the patent description, but if that's the case the image above doesn't do it justice. I don't think the flying keyboard concept will.. er.. fly :-)

[ via Engadget Mobile ]

Topics: News & Rumors

Reader comments

A Smartphone That Can Fly - RIM's "Winged" Keyboard :)

21 Comments

This would make me laugh if it was a true joke. They have to be kidding. If they were going to do a fold out (and they shouldn't) at least make it a Qwerty one!

Reminds me of a Batman gadget, where it's slim and you can push in on the sides, then it expands out.... I don't see it being too durable. I'd like to see how many of these would get replaced due to the keypad falling apart, or breaking off....

Although the diagram looks a little clumsy, the claims are interesting. The first claim -- which you can find by clicking on the patent link above -- illustrate the concept of having the keyboard change its nature, from telephone mode to standard keyboard mode, based on whether you're entering data in "phone call" mode or email mode.

Depending on how far back in time the effective filing date goes, this could be a very powerful claim.

And honestly, while I think RIM does a lot of amazing R&D... yeah, this keyboard patent kinda sucks if it's a potential product. :p

However, Waterloo isn't stupid; I suspect (as has been suggested over at The Other iPhone Blog... sorry, BGR) that this is a patent designed to prevent abuse of the SureType keypad by broadening the claim.

If it worked it seems like it could be kinda cool. You could have the form factor of the 81xx with a QWERTY key pad. At least that's what I think it does. LOL

probably an uber-dumbed-down illustration so USPTO and judges for potential future lawsuits can understand wtf it is. The real engineering could be way different.

probably an uber-dumbed-down illustration so USPTO and judges for potential future lawsuits can understand wtf it is. The real engineering could be way different.

I'm going to have an issue with that keyboard when im drunkdfjgdbfg!! and since I'm not a 17yo girl, I wont like.

Maybe the above image is a normal Pearl, but the image just has the keypad zoomed in so the patent reviewers would be able to see the actual layout of numbers and doubled up letters?

Nevermind, after reading the actual patent app, it does state things like:

"
10. The handheld communication device as recited in claim 9, said device further comprising a transitionable key cover having a closed configuration substantially obscuring at least one column of said two outboard columns.

11. The handheld communication device as recited in claim 10, wherein said transitionable key cover further comprises an open configuration substantially exposing at least one column of said two outboard columns.

12. The handheld communication device as recited in claim 11, wherein said transitionable key cover is manually transitionable between the closed and open configurations by a user of the device.

13. The handheld communication device as recited in claim 11, wherein movement of said transitionable key cover between the closed and open configurations is automated under the control of a microprocessor on the device in correspondence with the device transitioning from the telephone mode to the email mode.

14. The handheld communication device as recited in claim 11, wherein said transitionable key cover slides relative to the body of the device between the closed and open configurations.

15. The handheld communication device as recited in claim 11, wherein said transitionable key cover pivots relative the body of the device between the closed and open configurations.
"

Weird