It appears there will be no new BlackBerry phones coming out of Research In Motion's annual smartphone shindig, BlackBerry World, this week, but Google could be looking to pick up some of that slack very soon if a new patent filing is any indication.
The patent application, published late last week, gives top billing to Android chief Andy Rubin and details a design for a smartphone with a slide-out keyboard. A hard keyboard would be a first for Google's trademark line of Nexus phones, if that is what this application actually portends.
Google's manager of global communications and public affairs, Jim Prosser, told CNET in an email that the company files "patent applications on a variety of ideas that our employees come up with. Some of those ideas later mature into real products or services, some don't. Prospective product announcements should not necessarily be inferred from our patent applications."
But there's a few hints that the filing is serious business, namely that Rubin's name is on it and that it went from submission in January to being published this month -- much faster than the typical 18-month turn-around time.… Read more