Microsoft patents smartphone keyboard that’s swappable for 2nd battery or game controller


Patents wars are hurting the technology industry, but here’s an example of an idea that’s actually worth patenting. This Microsoft patent was published today. It details out a phone that has a slide-out keyboard that can be removed. While removed, it could work as a remote control for the device or another device, reports WMPowerUser. And its swap-able. The picture above shows the potential for a game-like controller, an extra battery, or a second screen for the phone. The title of the patent is “Mobile communication device having multiple, interchangeable second devices.” The full patent application can be found here.

“A mobile communication device comprises a first device with a first display and multiple second devices,” reads the patent application. “The second devices are releasably attachable to the first device and are interchangeable with each other. The mobile device can operate as a mobile cell phone with one or more second devices operable as a mobile phone hand set. The second devices can comprise one or more game controllers, batteries, physical keyboards and/or mobile phone handsets with a display. In a detached configuration, the first device is separated from the second devices and can wirelessly communicate with one or more of the detached second devices. In a three device configuration, the first device can send commands, control signals or content to one or more external devices in addition to the second devices.”

Imagine a phone that could output HDMI to a TV and allow you to use this accessory controller to wirelessly connect to the TV screen and play. Cool, right?

Might there be a Windows Phone 7 device coming out this year that uses this technology? It would be quite cool if one of the Nokia devices employed this idea, or if Microsoft applied it broadly to keyboarded Windows Phone devices. The keyboard sizes would have to be standardized though. It’s no fun if you have to buy new accessories for each phone.

Would you want a phone that can hot swap between game controller, extra battery, and keyboard? Or do people not care about peripherals?