Three patents were submitted in January which named Android’s Andy Rubin as the creator. Rubin was part of the Danger Inc. team who designed the T-Mobile Sidekick series of sliding QWERTY-keypad devices back in 2002.
The designs detail a number of innovations which could allow even the slimmest phones to be fitted with a retractable keypad, avoiding the chunky and cumbersome handsets of the past.
Along with the space-saving innovations, the patents show other features which could be included on a sliding panel including notification LEDs, a trackpad or possibly another touchscreen.
With HTC recently claiming that consumers will choose a slim device even at the expense of other features such as extended battery life, the thickness of any upcoming devices will be an important consideration for manufacturers.