So earlier last month, we caught wind of a BlackBerry device that was given the codename Windermere. As to how real this device is remains to be seen, but one of the interesting aspects of the phone isn’t so much its odd design, but its unique keyboard which according to the rumors, would sport a gesture-based physical keyboard.
Now thanks to a recent BlackBerry patent discovered by BBNews.pl, it seems to suggest that the Windermere could be true, and also reveals the technology behind the gesture-based keyboard for the phone.
For those who did not read our coverage, basically the rumors suggested that the Windermere’s keyboard would not only be a physical keyboard that requires one to depress the individual keys, but it would be a gesture-based one as well. This means that users would be able to swipe the keys to perform different functions.
In fact we wouldn’t be surprised if the phone featured a keyboard that would be able to mimic the Swype keyboard physically. So how does it work? The patent describes how the keyboard will have multiple layers where the physical keyboard will actually overlay a touch sensitive display.
We’re guessing this means that the individual keys have the ability to transfer a user’s touch to the touch sensitive display, much like using a stylus or those stick-on joysticks for smartphones/tablets. So not only will the phone be able to register physical key presses, but touch-based ones as well. According to BlackBerry’s official description in the patent:
“A physical keyboard having a plurality of individual keys temporarily overlays a touch-sensitive display. Each individual key selectively provides either of a first level of capacitive coupling and a second, different level of capacitive coupling to the touch-sensitive display. By one approach the key provides that first level of capacitive coupling to the touch-sensitive display when a user asserts the key (for example, by pressing upon the key) to thereby communicate to the touch-sensitive display a selection of that individual key. The key can provide that second level of capacitive coupling when a user touches, but does not assert, the individual key. So configured, this second level of capacitive coupling serves to communicate to the touch-sensitive display an input instruction other than a selection of that individual key.”
What do you guys think?