The ever-decreasing size of mobile devices might be a godsend for the pocket, but it poses problems for keyboard input. There have been a variety of solutions looking to solve the problem, from the iPhone’s onscreen keyboard to the Virtual Keyboard (VKB) that projects a keyboard onto any flat surface. One of the problems with these kinds of keyboards, however, is the lack of tactile feedback afforded by pressing actual buttons. Shrinking the keyboard down to fit on a mobile device of course presents its own problems and manufacturers must weigh size against usability by the chubby fingered. Samsung may have a solution with a folding wing design that would allow a reasonably sized keyboard to fold out from the rear of a mobile device.
The proposed design patented by Samsung consists of two thin half-QWERTY keyboards hidden within the body of the device that would fold out like wings on either side of the display to provide a decent sized hardware keyboard for text entry. The thinness of the keyboards in the patent application makes them look scarily snappable, and the design would seem to make one handed typing a near impossibility, but it would definitely free up screen real estate in comparison to onscreen keyboards.
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Plus given it is just a patent application it remains to be seen if and when Samsung would implement the design into a real world product.