The beauty of the messaging beast known as the BlackBerry, is, of course, the lovely QWERTY pad layout and giant luscious screen. We have seen a goodly pile of patent applications from RIM in an effort to preserve said keyboard while potentially supplying a new twist on a fairly utilitarian (and a bit long in the tooth) design. This latest application sees your favorite handset fitted with keys in a "garage door" type layout, so if you only need a few keys for watching a video or wandering the interwebs, the extra keys just roll back into the handset's body. Apparently RIM may already know what Apple could discover next week: on screen keyboards can be pretty weak affairs, albeit much easier to keep clean.

[Via Unwired View]

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RIM's patent application for reconfigurable keypad