Patents are the currency of the realm these days, and companies accrue them however they can -- whether filing for their own or buying someone else's. Microsoft's no stranger to the patent game, and it's added one more piece to its IP stockpile in the form of a "moveable housing of a mobile communications device." A broad title, to be sure, but the patent essentially covers sliders where the keyboard ends up flush with the screen after it's moved. In existing designs, the sliding display gets in the way of pressing the top row of keys, and squishing the grid's size or fattening up the phone are the only ways to make space for fingers to press them. This new design frees phalanges and keys from such constraints, and adds a little something to the phone's aesthetics as well. Sounds great Microsoft, now put this patent in the capable hands of Nokia's hardware engineers and get to work making a sleek new WP7 slider, stat!

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Microsoft patents new type of mobile slider, puts keyboards and screens on equal footing