RIM has been granted a major patent on the keyboard and text-input features of its upcoming BlackBerry 10 smartphones.
With Apple and Samsung both securing major patents, Research in Motion, makers of the BlackBerry smartphones, seemed to be falling behind in the ongoing smartphone wars. However, this week the USPTO granted RIM a rather broad and general patent on the keyboard for their new BlackBerry 10 keyboard and its logic-based text prediction. The patented system, rather than simply looking for typos, actively tries to predict what you’re trying to type by examining the context of the words or common expressions. With this patent, RIM has ensured that they don’t have to worry about another company poaching one of the key features of their new platform.
While the official text of the patent is rather dry, the basic abstract can be read below.
A handheld electronic device includes a reduced QWERTY keyboard and is enabled with disambiguation software. The device provides output in the form of a default output and a number of variants. The output is based largely upon the frequency, i.e., the likelihood that a user intended a particular output, but various features of the device provide additional variants that are not based solely on frequency and rather are provided by various logic structures resident on the device.
The device enables editing during text entry and also provides a learning function that allows the disambiguation function to adapt to provide a customized experience for the user. The disambiguation function can be selectively disabled and an alternate keystroke interpretation system provided. Additionally, the device can facilitate the selection of variants by displaying a graphic of a special <NEXT> key of the keypad that enables a user to progressively select variants generally without changing the position of the user's hands on the device.