We can only hope that as this patent application was filed early last year, RIM abandoned the idea for the Torch's form factor instead. Not just flipping back-to-front to reveal a QWERTY-to-numeric keypad, it would rotate for landscape/portrait use too.

Looking like it's powered by G1-style hinges, you can just imagine the headache involved in getting the phone out of your pocket each time. "Do I need to write an email, or make a call?! Do I want to view it in portrait or landscape?!"

The patent describes the phone as working like so:

"In a first aspect, a handheld electronic device, such as a smartphone, has a first device member and a second device member that are connected via a connector. The second device member is rotatable about a rotation axis that is canted relative to an axis of the second device member. As a result, when the second device member is rotated between a first position and a second position, its orientation changes. This may facilitate, for example, switching the handheld electronic device between a text entry mode and a telephone mode. "

Kind of boggles the mind, right? [Patent via GoRumors]