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BlackBerry Patents Tactile Touch Sensitive Display Keyboard


BlackBerry was awarded a patent recently for what seems to be the touch sensitive keyboard we heard about coming to the Windermere codename device. The keyboard is intended to be a touch sensitive part of the device which is very innovative. spotted this new patent for a physical keyboard that somehow overlays a touch sensitive display. That means that each key has two functions one for touch and one for pushing. That means you can have both touch events and physical button push events.

Windermere 2

Here is how BlackBerry describes it in the patent:

A physical keyboard having a plurality of individual keys temporarily overlays a touch-sensitive display. Each individual key selectively provides either of a first level of capacitive coupling and a second, different level of capacitive coupling to the touch-sensitive display. By one approach the key provides that first level of capacitive coupling to the touch-sensitive display when a user asserts the key (for example, by pressing upon the key) to thereby communicate to the touch-sensitive display a selection of that individual key. The key can provide that second level of capacitive coupling when a user touches, but does not assert, the individual key. So configured, this second level of capacitive coupling serves to communicate to the touch-sensitive display an input instruction other than a selection of that individual key.

Check out the patent here

14 total comments on this postSubmit your comment!
  1. Hey guys, I love your articles, but having tactile touch seems really redundant since tactile means “of, pertaining to, endowed with, or affecting the sense of touch.”

  2. So we’re looking at SurePress version 2? Seems overly complicated considering they already have the technology. Just build another Storm and call it a day. I’d buy it!

  3. That means you can’t just pass your fingers over your keys for fun anymore…it will do something like a gesture.
    Wouldn’t that defy the purpose of having actual physical keys? It sounds nice and all but I hope we don’t have another Storm technology that doesn’t last.

    • I think the Storm got a bad rap, not because the technology wasn’t fantastic or innovative – it won quite a number of awards – but because the device was slow, the UI was unfinished (ie, rushed), and it was crippled by its limited memory. The limited memory and performance issues meant app developers weren’t exactly lining up to write apps for the Storm.

      The underlying OS needed to be replaced, but they had no time – they had to make it work with what they had. Memory management was probably good enough but with only 128 MB RAM, the device just couldn’t stand up once you installed a few apps.

      Now, with QNX in the core and much better hardware, BlackBerry has a much better prospects at making those innovative ideas work well!

      Folks like to put down everything about the Storm because the device was a failure and helped tarnish BlackBerry’s good name, but it had a lot of great little ideas with some good potential. BlackBerry had partnered with AT&T on this, but someone dropped the ball and mismanaged the project and its priorities.

      Typing on the Storm 2, especially, was quite pleasing rather than typing on a solid piece of glass. Indeed, you had the instant assurance and instant feedback of pressing down on a key, because the entire screen was like a multi-dimensional key.

      Finally, Amir, physical keys take up considerable display space, so I quite liked the concept of swiping the keys away so I can watch a video or browse the web. I’ve had the Storm 1 & 2, but I do like what the folks have done with the Z10’s virtual keyboard.

      BlackBerry continues to innovate to create a better user experience, and that continues to be very healthy for the company. I look forward to seeing what that tactile sensitive keyboard looks like. To the folks at BlackBerry, keep bringing it!

      • I hope it works out and doesn’t get slammed in reviews and…they mention the fact that android applications now work ota…

  4. Only BlackBerry can make such innovation come true.
    Greatly looking forward to this.

  5. If I understand correctly, the patent was rejected because prior art already exists. So, not patented.

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