BlackBerry has been on a roll of late with the launch of their new Z10 touchscreen smartphone, their Q10 with touchscreen and physical keyboard and software announcements that BlackBerry's popular messaging services called BBM is coming to both iOS (iPhone only) and Android in the coming months. Adding to that momentum, the US Patent Office published a new patent application this week illustrating a future BlackBerry smartphone with a unique flexible display design. It's BlackBerry's second such design in the past 60 days.
One of BlackBerry's latest patent filing presents us with two patent figures that clearly illustrate a view of a compact smartphone and/or PDA design having a folding structure and a flexible display.
According to Blackberry, this future smartphone will be able to maintain a minimum bend radius of the folded flexible display when the smartphone is in the closed configuration so as to protect the flexible display from damage.
An exemplary smartphone is illustrated in FIGS. 1 and 2 below. As shown in these figures, the handheld electronic device is of the "flip" or "foldable" variety.
BlackBerry's patent points out that input devices area 34 could include, for example, a keyboard, keypad, touchpad, gamepad, or a track ball, or any other type of input device. It's also shown in patent figure 1 as patent point # 24 where the input device has been folded into the folded area.
In patent FIG. 1 we see a flexible housing portion (#20c) which includes stiffening ribs (#38) to control the bend radius of housing (#20) in the closed configuration.
BlackBerry filed their patent application under serial number 296364 back in Q4 2011 and was published this past week at the US Patent and Trademark Office. Considering that this is a patent application, the timing of such a product to market is unknown at this time.
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