New BlackBerry Patent: is it dual-mode or the first international BlackBerry?

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Another RIM patent popped up, and this one stretches the limits of BlackBerry Cool’s technical expertise (if we ever had any). Turns out USPTO patent application #20060178116 refers to a”mobile wireless communications device providing pattern/frequency control features and related methods.”

Now what does this mean? We’re not all that sure. But looking at the patent abstract, it states that the “mobile wireless communications device may further include a frequency/pattern diversity controller for controlling the wireless transceiver to preferentially operate with the plurality of antennas.”

While this could be refering to a dual-mode (i.e. cellular and WiFi) device, BlackBerry Cool is putting its money down on a BlackBerry with the ability to switch to multiple frequency bands depending on where you are. What frequency bands a device is compatible with is a big deal for road warriors who travel internationally, and find that their device doesn’t operate on any of the surrounding networks. If this patent refers to a device that can pick up any frequency band on the fly (or potentially, multiple bands for faster data speeds), it would make the BlackBerry the first truly international device.

But don’t take our word for it. Read the patent below and scour the PDF.

Patent application #20060178116:

A mobile wireless communications device may include a portable housing, a wireless transceiver carried by the portable housing, and a plurality of antennas also carried by the portable housing. Each antenna may have a different gain pattern at a different respective operating frequency, and the antennas may have different shapes to define different gain patterns at a given operating frequency. The mobile wireless communications device may further include a frequency/pattern diversity controller for controlling the wireless transceiver to preferentially operate with the plurality of antennas.

  • Thought

    You gotta love patents and the fact that they become public record! It makes attempting to discern the future so much more fun!

    The patent does seem to mention Wireless LAN and the IEEE 802.11 standard (which is WiFi)quite a bit, and so there’s no doubt that the patent includes the potential for a device that can handle WiFi.

    However, many patents are written to be as broad as possible, to lay claim to as much intellectual property as possible. So this patent may be able to be interpreted to include operation on multiple cellular systems.

    Of course, just because a patent is filed does not mean a company will ever use that patent. It’s standard practice for many companies to file patents for any and every idea they come up with, just in case.

    As an aside, I find it interesting that there’s this enthusiasm for discovering new RIM patents. This reminds me of the way that Apple fans scour the patent office for new patents filed by that company.

  • Thought

    You gotta love patents and the fact that they become public record! It makes attempting to discern the future so much more fun!

    The patent does seem to mention Wireless LAN and the IEEE 802.11 standard (which is WiFi)quite a bit, and so there’s no doubt that the patent includes the potential for a device that can handle WiFi.

    However, many patents are written to be as broad as possible, to lay claim to as much intellectual property as possible. So this patent may be able to be interpreted to include operation on multiple cellular systems.

    Of course, just because a patent is filed does not mean a company will ever use that patent. It’s standard practice for many companies to file patents for any and every idea they come up with, just in case.

    As an aside, I find it interesting that there’s this enthusiasm for discovering new RIM patents. This reminds me of the way that Apple fans scour the patent office for new patents filed by that company.