Waterloo (CA) – Research in Motion (RIM) has been granted a patent which indicates that the company may be working on widescreen Blackberrys.
RIM’s patent, for which the company applied on August 28, 2006, basically describes a complex integration of vertical or horizontal view adaption in mobile devices, similar to what is offered by Apple’s iPhone today. Use a device in cellphone mode and the screen will use a vertical layout, use it for text messaging, web browsing or picture viewing and the screen switch to a horizontal layout.
Devices featuring such capability typically integrate an accelerator chip to determine their orientation. RIM does not provide details how it detects the orientation of the device, but simply states that “the software must be able to determine the orientation of the device”, while “linking the software recognition of device orientation to an external or internal orientation-determinative switch, such as a mercury switch” is offered as alternative “example”.
Other simply switching between portrait and landscape modes, RIM also outlines a concept through which the screen configurations would change as well. “The device detects the orientation positioned by the user and modifies the elements shown on the display screen so that they are presented in the correct orientation to the user,” the patent text reads.
When held horizontally, the device is in “voice communication mode” and will display a regular phone keypad. Held horizontally, the device switches to data communication mode and displays a keyboard. This virtual keyboard can be configured with different layouts (alphabetical, QWERTY, QWERTZ or AZERTY) and users could even decrease the number of keys by applying multiple functions to single keys – which means that there is more space for more frequently used keys.