Will next-gen N-Gage mobile phones have plug-in joysticks?

Patent filed by Nokia hints at an innovative control mechanism

Will next-gen N-Gage mobile phones have plug-in joysticks?

Patents aren't always a guide to companies' upcoming products, but a patent filed by Nokia recently does hint at a possible control method for phones running its next-gen N-Gage platform.

The patent concerns a phone with a built-in rollerball, which you can plug a stylus into to make what's effectively a joystick (hey kids, that's what we used to play games with in the days before joypads).

The patent application (sniffed out by CrunchGear) points out that joysticks are much better than traditional mobile rockers for controlling games, but that due to the space requirements, they've never been used for mobile phones and handheld devices.

"Accordingly, a continuing search has been directed to the development of apparatuses and methods by which a user may obtain the advantages of compactness provided by rockers, as well as the advantages of greater agility and pointing capabilities provided by pointing devices, such as joysticks," says the application.

Now, here's the interesting bit. The application names John Patrick Wong and Jeff Philip Crampton as co-inventors, and says both are based in Vancouver. That'd be the same Vancouver where the executives in charge of the next-gen N-Gage are based, then...

To be honest, we're wondering how you'd press the buttons if you're holding the phone in your left hand, and wiggling the joystick with your right. What do you think? Are joysticks the way forward for mobile phones, or a PSP-style analog nubbin, or something else?