cellphones.jpgLos Angeles – Microsoft was recently awarded a design patent for the slider design on smartphones that Nokia may use to create unique devices.  Unlike the usual slider phone designs, the new patent is for a phone that allows the keyboard to sit flush with the screen when opened, which would allow users to type more comfortably.

Though seemingly irrelevant compared to the billions of dollars at stake in the technology patent wars or the bidding wars for portfolios containing thousands of patents, Microsoft’s new slider design patent could become invaluable with its new partnership with smartphone-maker Nokia.  The partnership, announced earlier this year, will allow Nokia to make Windows Phone its primary operating system. 

Having lost its dominance in the smartphone industry, Nokia is relying on Microsoft’s technology platform to give it a needed boost.  Likewise, Microsoft is looking to Nokia to help it carve out its share of a mobile phone market which is currently dominated by Apple and Google. 

Nokia, experienced at manufacturing phone handsets, may potentially utilize Microsoft’s new patent to produce a slider phone that other companies cannot compete with.  Apple, with the lion’s share of the smartphone market, has decided to discontinue use of buttons in favor of a full touch screen approach, however there are still a lot of users who prefer using the buttons to type.  If Nokia is successful at creating the unique new slider phone, then Microsoft can offer a smartphone that will appeal to those users.

As Microsoft attempts to break into the smartphone market, it shouldn’t consider any patent victory too small.  With consumers always shopping around for the “next best thing” on the market, producing a successful line of slider phones through Nokia could be a nice advantage for a company that currently has limited involvement in the smartphone market.