Looks like they’re at it again, if this just unearthed patent is any indication.
The graphic above may be a bit confusing, so here’s how it works: Imagine a clamshell phone, like the LG enV. Instead of opening the handset by pulling the hinged halves apart, however, you slide the top layer down a few millimeters, and bam! It springs open. When you slide the top half down, you’re breaking the connection between two magnets (one in each half of the phone) that held it closed, allowing the spring-loaded hinge to do its thing.
If you’ve ever owned a Sidekick, you know how oddly addicting the act of opening/closing a spring-loaded handset can be when you’ve got idle hands. The patent, as dug up by the guys over at WMPoweruser, can be found here.