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We've seen smartphones with keypads that can spin away from the screen before (see the Motorola Flipout), but RIM seems to have something slightly different in mind with this patent application that was filed back in 2010 and just published today. It describes a device with a keypad that's coupled at one corner, but which can remain operable in at least two positions, or potentially three. That could include a position, for instance, where the screen is partially covered by the keypad and a second where it's below the screen, or one where the keypad can remain below the screen both in portrait and landscape modes -- or even flipped behind the device with the keys still accessible. Of course, it is still just a patent application, so we wouldn't recommend pinning your hopes on this as RIM's next big thing.

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RIM patent application describes rotating keypad that can be used in more than one position