I am not sure if this will ever see the light of day but RIM has an interesting concept with their latest patent filing. N4BB spotted this patent on a “MOBILE DEVICE WITH A CONCEALED KEYBOARD” that RIM applied for in 2011 and was just published. The description details a rotating keyboard that fits flush with the back of a mobile device and hinges into place. Here is how RIM’s lawyers describe it:
An electronic device having a concealed keyboard includes a first housing, a second housing rotatably coupled to the first housing, and a concealment cover coupled to a rear of the first housing. The first housing has a coupling edge and two sides that are substantially perpendicular to the coupling edge of the first housing. The second housing has a coupling edge and two sides that are substantially perpendicular to the coupling edge of the second housing. A receiving portion is formed on a rear surface of the first housing and is configured to receive the second housing. When the second housing is in the receiving portion, each respective side of the first housing and the second housing are co-terminal with one another. The concealment cover is exteriorly positioned with respect to the second housing when the second housing is in the receiving portion.
Check out the full patent filing at the USPTO or the additional images below. I think it could be really cool if RIM could find a way to conceal their keyboard inside the housing of the PlayBook to make it a sort of hybrid laptop/tablet. Still other vendors have not done amazingly well with similar hybrid designs.