Is RIM working on a BlackBerry-charging hip-holster?


A patent granted to Research In Motion (RIM) yesterday by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) details the company’s interest in a phone-charging hip-holster.

Figures explaining what each element of the holster does (image: USPTO)

An extract from the filing states that the product will be “a handheld electronic device that includes a first battery and a holster that includes a second battery and a charging apparatus.”

Detailing how the process will work when users insert their BlackBerry phones into the holster, the company explains at length.

“When the handheld electronic device and the holster are electrically connected together, the charging apparatus charges the first battery on the handheld electronic device from the second battery on the holster when the first battery charge has been depleted to a given level and the second battery charge is above a second given level.”

In layman’s terms, the BlackBerry holster will have a charging cable attached to the bottom, which can be plugged into a wall socket to charge the holster’s built-in battery pack.

When it is fully charged and a BlackBerry inserted into the hip-holster, the built-in battery pack will charge the user’s phone while it is resting on the hip.

It is said that the holster will also have its own mini-speakers to alert users to notifications – preventing muffled sounds from the BlackBerry’s covered speakers while charging. “The holster also includes a microcontroller that communicates with a microprocessor on the handheld electronic device to identify alerts and activate a notification device powered by the second battery on the holster.”

The latest patent filing is actually a follow-up to a similar filing submitted back in 2007, so it seems that RIM has been working on the idea for a while. “This application is a continuation of U.S. application Ser. No. 11/871,396 entitled ‘Handheld Electronic Device with Holster Having a Notification Device’ which was filed on Oct. 12, 2007,” the latest filing stated.

A description in the filing alluded to the possibility of RIM investigating the feasibility of a BlackBerry which makes use of a smaller battery (which can, in turn, make the device smaller) without sacrificing battery power.

“It would be desirable to provide an improved handheld electronic device having a reduced weight and/or a smaller form factor than currently known devices without sacrificing battery power or battery life. It would be further desirable to provide such a device that can communicate better with a user when the device is in a holster.”

Charlie Fripp – Consumer Tech editor