It looks like Research in Motion is trying to improve upon their BlackBerry keypad with a new patent filed for a dual-mode QWERTY keypad that could make it easier to switch between text entry mode and phone mode.
To make a short story long you can read the abstract from the patent filed today after the jump…
In accordance with the teachings described herein, systems and methods are provided for implementing a dual-mode keypad for a mobile device. The mobile device may operate in a telephony mode and a text-entry mode. The dual-mode keypad may include a plurality of dual-mode keys that each include an associated telephony character and at least one associated text-entry character.
The dual-mode keys may include one or more toggle keys, with each toggle key having a plurality of associated text-entry characters and one associated telephony character. When the mobile device is in text-entry mode, the dual-mode keys may be used to input the associated text-entry characters, with the toggle keys each being operable to input a first text-entry character when a first portion of the toggle key is pressed and to input a second text-entry character when a second portion of the toggle key is pressed.
When the mobile device is in telephony mode, the dual-mode keys may be used to input the associated telephony characters, with the toggle keys each being operable to input one of the associated telephony characters when any portion of the toggle key is pressed.