If you think the trackballs on RIM’s popular BlackBerry handsets are prone to breaking, just wait until the keypad described in one of RIM’s latest patents is realized – if it is ever realized. While a design of this nature would allow RIM to build a significantly more narrow handset, it would also seemingly be infinitely less usable and fragile. Three rows of the device’s keypad would be positioned on the face of the handset beneath the display. Standard 0-9 keys would be present an accessible at all times to allow standard usage. When used for messaging however, keys located on the devices side panels fold open to provide a full QWERTY or SureType keypad. Yes, trying to use a BlackBerry with a jumpy trackball can be pretty annoying but try using a BlackBerry after half the keys snap off…

[Via Cellpassion]