Google has filed for a new patent to create a Nexus phone with a slide out keyboard.
The application, published last week, names Android chief Andy Rubin and gives details of a design for a smartphone with a slide out QWERTY keyboard. The phone would be the first in the line of Google Nexus mobiles to have a hard keyboard.
According to Rubin, the keyboard could include other controls or even displays, such as a switch, LED indicator, touch screen, or a port of some kind: a headphone port, for example.
However, Jim Prosser, Google's manager of Global Communications and Public Affairs said that Google files for "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."
A hard QWERTY keyboard has traditionally been preferred by BlackBerry users. As it appears that RIM will not be releasing any new phones at BlackBerry world this week, Google may be looking to lure some of RIM's customers away.