Except for the hyped new S60 Touch interface upgrade, Nokia has not been on the forefront of development of new user interfaces and phone form factors lately.
Most of the new ideas were left to experiment and introduce to LG - interesting touchpads on LG KF600, LG KF510 or LG Secret KF750, Samsung -interactive touchpads on it’s Soul and upcoming Samsung L870 Symbian smartphone, or Motorola - really cool interactive keypad on Moto ROKR E8 or upcoming ZN5.
But that does not mean that Nokia has not been experimenting with the new user interfaces in their labs. As a recently available Nokia patent filing from 2006 shows, Nokia has been thinking about interactive/touchscreen keypads for a while now:
The patent application describes the mobile phone with dual screens, with the bottom one having capacitive touchscreen functionality and performing the interactive/programmable keypad functions. Between these two screens sits a usual Nokia keypad with physical hard or soft keys to perform most needed and used functions, like picking up or ending phone call, accessing menu items, etc.
Of course, this interactive keypad idea is not limited to candybar form factor and can be easily applied to Nokia sliders and flip phones as well.
While a pretty novel and interesting idea in 2006, when patent application was filed, right now now it’s pretty well known and in one form or the other has ben implemented in quite a few handsets.
Still, nobody has got all the details of touchscreen user interface on mobile phone quite right yet.
So a well implemented touchscreen keypad, combined with Nokia hapticos technology and the possibilities of the new S60 Touch, might lead to quite interesting handsets … eventually. When Nokia finally gets down to business and start really working on improving the user interfaces on their phones.