A new patent filing by BlackBerry reveals the company is possibly preparing to manufacture a smartphone with touchscreen and a physical QWERTY keyboard. This is not a reincarnation of the Torch, but a new device that has a “storable keyboard [with] a pivoting cover.”
The patent, filed June 14th, 2012 and revised on September 9th, 2014, shows a number of drawings that hint at a touch sensitive slider with a three-row physical keyboard. We’ve already seen the three-row keyboard surface on BlackBerry’s upcoming Passport, so this could become a reality.
The official description of the filing states:
“A keyboard portion is configured to move (with respect to a housing) between a deployed position and a non-deployed position. A cover pivotally couples to the housing and is configured to at least partially cover the keyboard portion when the keyboard portion is in the non-deployed position and to reveal the keyboard portion when the keyboard portion is in the deployed position. By one approach the cover is configured to move the keyboard portion between the deployed position and the non-deployed position as the cover pivots with respect to the housing.”
According to BerryReview, BlackBerry is aiming to bring this to market, and is internally calling it the “Visa” or “Victoria.” It’s expected to launch date sometime early Q2 2015 with a 5.5-inch display.