A few years back Research In Motion was awarded a patent for a trapezoidal keyboard design. The concept was designed around the sole use of your thumbs to type. RIM’s official patent for the angular keyboard gives the following abstract:
Wireless handheld mobile communication device including a housing with a display above a keyboard exposed for user actuation. A length of the device is greater than the width. Each key of a right-hand keyfield has a longitudinal axis oriented at a left-to-right inclined angle while each key of a left-hand keyfield has a longitudinal axis oriented at a right-to-left inclined angle from the vertical centerline. A left boundary of the keyboard is located adjacent the left lateral side edge of the device and the right boundary of the keyboard is located adjacent the right lateral side edge of the device so that the keyboard spans a substantial entirety of the width of the device. When the device is cradled in a right hand of the user, the longitudinal axis of each key of said plurality of keys located on the right is oriented to be parallel with a widthwise axis of the user’s right thumb. When said device is cradled in a left hand of the user, the longitudinal axis of the keys located on the left-hand side of said vertical centerline is oriented to be substantially with a length wise axis of the user’s left thumb. At least one key in the right-hand keyfield and one key in the left-hand keyfield is isosceles trapezoidal shaped.
The first image shows a concept of this trapezoidal keyboard in the Bold 99xx form factor, visualized courtesy of BBin. Many hands-on reports on the new BlackBerry 10 physical QWERTY device say it will resemble the current Bold 99xx. However, what if RIM were to ever utilize a trapezoidal keyboard design? I personally believe it could be a winning design. If there was a BlackBerry 10 smartphone with this angular keyboard, I’d rock it. Would you?