BlackBerry may have found a way to bridge the gap between a big-screen, all-touchscreen device and its traditional phone factor with physical QWERTY keyboard. The company’s newly filed patent talks about a physical keyboard that somehow overlays a touch sensitive display, potentially bringing the Q10-like experience to the Z10 and Z30 owners. Yup, it sounds like a dream come true. Here’s what how BlackBerry describes its 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.
Now we can only hope that this patent will actually find its way into a real-world product. Just imagine the Z30 with this handy accessory – it would be the perfect BlackBerry device offering everything a user could hope for, a big-screen experience when browsing the web and watching videos, and physical QWERTY keyboard when typing emails and editing documents. Love it!