BlackBerry applies for patent on ‘shrinking’ keyboard when not in use

London, Feb 12: BlackBerry has filed a new pair of patents to secure the rights to a new technology that would conceal concertina-like keyboards within their digital devices.

Physical keys have been in the past been hidden by sliders and, occasionally, twisting mechanisms, but such devices are not able to achieve the slim profile consumers have come to expect from their gadgets.

The new BlackBerry technologies would solve that problem by allowing the keys to flip edge-side on so that they could pivot into place as the user pulls out a retractable section to start typing, the Daily Mail reports.

According to the paper one of the patent applications read, ‘in addition to traditional numerical keypads used for dialing a telephone number, next generation smart phones and mobile computing devices for example may also include additional interfaces such as touch screen or form factor QWERTY keypads to facilitate text messaging, e-mailing, web browsing and other functions.’

One such configuration may be the so-called slider phone that includes a sliding cover that may be opened to expose the additional keyboard for increased text input functionality, it said.

In devices like this (or with other folding or clamshell style devices), a significant amount of internal device real estate is reserved to accommodate the keypad and associated mechanism, it added.

According to the paper, the applications seem to be attempts by BlackBerry to recapture the initiative in smartphone design, after they fell behind in innovation to Apple, Samsung, HTC and others. (ANI)