BlackBerry working on smartphone with flipout keyboard?

Patent filing for BlackBerry Visa / VictoriaA new patent filing by BlackBerry suggests that the company could be working on a new smartphone with a flip-out keyboard. Unlike the BlackBerry Torch which featured a keyboard that slid out from underneath the display, USPTO patent 8,830,667 shows a keyboard that would pivot out when needed. Here’s how BlackBerry explains it:

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 illustrations show that when the keyboard hidden away, a single row of keys is still accessible. Flipping the keyboard out adds two more rows of keys. BlackBerry introduced a three-row keyboard with the BlackBerry Passport. The new device, currently codenamed Visa and Victoria (for different variants?), could sport the same touch sensitive capabilities as well.

Patent filing for BlackBerry Visa / Victoria

BerryReview, which discovered the patent, suggests that the BlackBerry Visa could launch as early as Q2 2015.

If nothing else, it’s great to see BlackBerry coming up with new smartphone designs that go beyond the monoblock form factor that is so prevalent now.

Sources : USPTO // BerryReview