A newly published BlackBerry Patent application offers technology that would allow users to either "increase" or decrease" the amount of space occupied by the BlackBerry keypad.
This option is being positioned as one that would allow more space to be occupied by the view screen.
For example, if you were browsing the web on your BlackBerry, but do not intend to do much typing during the session, you could use this technology to, in effect, making the viewscreen larger at the expense of the keyboard that you aren't really needing right then.
The Patent app is entitled, Handheld electronic device with reconfigurable keypad.
In the case of this Patent app, the Abstract pretty much tells it all:
An improved handheld electronic device has a display and a keypad, with the keypad being movable among a number of configurations that enable the "real estate" occupied by the keypad to be increased or decreased, and to correspondingly enable the viewable area of the display to be relatively decreased and increased, respectively.
In one aspect, a first keypad portion and a second keypad portion can be disposed substantially coplanar when the keypad is in a first position and disposed noncoplanar when in a second position.
In another aspect, a device can include a keypad and a flexible sheet-like piece of covering material structured to overlie a display, with the keypad and the piece of covering material being connected together.
In another aspect, a keypad assembly can being movable between a first position wherein at least a portion of the keypad overlies a first area of a display and is operable to provide input, and a second position overlying one of none of the display and a second area of the display smaller than the first area.
In another aspect, a method of operating a device includes translating at least a portion of a keypad apparatus between a first position overlying a first area of a display and second position overlying one of none of the display and a second area of the display smaller than the first area.
In another aspect, a method of protecting a device includes overlying at least a portion of a display with at least a portion of a keypad apparatus.
In another aspect, a method of adjusting a device between an ON condition and an OFF condition includes translating at least a portion of a keypad assembly between a first position and a second position.
I can really see a use for this, especially in scenarios such as I've described.