US 20050250547 A1
An apparatus includes a display and a keypad. The keypad has a plurality of keys, a first subset of which are adapted to define a first arrangement of keys, and a second subset of which are adapted to define a second arrangement of keys. Further, the apparatus includes a light provision arrangement that has at least one light source. A controller coupled to, and adapted to control the operations of, the light provision arrangement, to highlight the first and second subsets of keys during a first and a second mode of operation respectively. The keypad has a first and a second different relative operational disposition to the display, in said first and second modes of operation respectively.
1. An apparatus, comprising:
a keypad having a plurality of keys, a first subset of which are adapted to define a first arrangement of keys, and a second subset of which are adapted to define a second arrangement of keys;
a light provision arrangement including at least one light source; and
a controller coupled to, and adapted to control the operations of,
the light provision arrangement, to at least highlight the first and second subsets of keys during a first and a second mode of operation respectively, and
the keypad being in a first and a second different relative operational disposition to the display, in said first and second modes of operation respectively.
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This application claims the benefit of priority from:
The present disclosure is related to the field of electronic device user interfaces. More specifically, but not exclusively, the present disclosure relates to the design of input mechanisms for use in portable electronic devices.
Mobile electronic devices have become ubiquitous in today's fast paced society. Various portable or mobile handheld devices can perform multiple tasks as well as provide multiple communication systems. For example, the personal digital assistant (“PDA”) cellular telephone, in addition to serving as a personal organizer and cellular phone, may also provide text messaging, paging, and Internet connectivity. Accordingly, most devices require an interface for entering alphabetic as well as numeric characters.
The personal preference of the user of the mobile communications is one factor driving the different configurations of mobile communications devices. For example, with wireless-enabled PDAs some users prefer the use of a stylus to “hand write” information for entry into the wireless-enabled PDAs. In contrast, other users prefer that a wireless-enabled PDA contain a miniaturized QWERTY keyboard to facilitate the entry of data. Note that, at times, different users with different personal preferences may share use of a mobile communications device.
Certain environmental conditions may affect the user of a mobile communications device. For example, a user may have a preference to use a mobile communications device with a keypad located below the display device. However, under particularly sunny conditions, the user may decide that having the keypad over the display, so that the shadow from the hand on the keypad blocks direct sunlight, is a more desirable configuration.
Portable communication devices may be loaded with a number of different applications. For example, a mobile communications device may be used in a configuration as a wireless mobile telephone. In such a case the most desirable input method is via a traditional numeric input keypad found on most wireless mobile telephones. At a second time, however, a mobile communications device may be used to record notes at a meeting attended by the user. In this usage mode, it is more desirable to have a traditional QWERTY keyboard for entering data.
Thus, various factors determine the method of interaction with today's mobile communications devices.
Similar reference numerals in the drawings denote similar elements throughout the several views; the figures in each of the views illustrate various embodiments of the present invention.
Embodiments of the present invention include, but are not limited to, a reduced keypad for a mobile electronic device and apparatuses including the same.
Parts of the description will be presented in terms such as portable or mobile electronic devices. As is well understood by those skilled in the art, the term “portable/mobile electronic device” (hereafter, “electronic device”, or simply “device”), as used herein, including in the claims, comprise devices configured to operate as wireless portable phones, PDAs, and the like.
The term “wireless portable phone”, as used herein, refers to the class of telephone devices equipped to enable a user to make and receive calls wirelessly, notwithstanding the user's movement, as long as the user is within the communication reach of a service or base station of a wireless network service provider. Unless specifically excluded, the term “wireless portable phone” is to include the analog subclass as well as the digital subclass (of all signaling protocols).
In the following description, various aspects of the illustrative embodiments will be described. It will be apparent, however, to those skilled in the art that alternate embodiments of the present invention may be practiced with all or only some aspects of the present invention. For purposes of explanation, specific numbers, materials and configurations are set forth in order to provide a thorough understanding of the described embodiments. However, it will be apparent to one skilled in the art that alternate embodiments of the present invention may be practiced without the specific details. In other instances, well-known features are omitted or simplified in order not to obscure the illustrative embodiments.
Various operations will be described as multiple discrete steps, in a manner that is most helpful in understanding the present invention, however, the order of description should not be construed as to imply that these operations are necessarily order dependent. In particular, these operations need not be performed in the order of presentation.
The phrase “in one embodiment” is used repeatedly. The phrase generally does not refer to the same embodiment, however, it may. The terms “comprising”, “having” and “including” are synonymous, unless the context dictates otherwise.
The term “activation” means an affirmative action by a user to provide a value associated with a key as input to the electronic device. Key activations may include a traditional mechanical key that, when pressed, causes the key to contact a switch on a circuit board located beneath the key. Alternatively, key activations may mean the touching by a user (or stylus) of a pressure sensitive key or a capacitive or resistive touch sensitive surface, as well as on “soft” keys on a touch-sensitive display.
The embodiments are described herein with respect to a character set based on the English language. It is to be recognized that the invention may be practiced with characters of other languages as well.
While the present invention is described with respect to its improvement over a miniaturized “QWERTY” keyboard, one skilled in the art will recognize that the present invention may be practiced with respect to other keyboard layouts, such as a Dvorak keyboard and the like. Moreover, while the present invention is described with respect to an improvement over a miniaturized QWERTY keyboard, the present invention may be practiced with standard-sized keyboards in an attempt to enhance their functionality as well.
Other mobile devices include simply a conventional telephone keypad.
Another method used for entering text on mobile telephone device 200 may include predictive text entry (T9 Text Input™). Using predictive text entry, a user activates each key only once to enter each letter of a key sequence representing a word. Software may then produce a list of word possibilities for the particular key sequence. If the desired word is correctly “predicted”, the user then selects it from the list.
Referring now to
Electronic device 300 also includes a processor or processing unit 310, a controller 315, a keypad (keyboard) 325, a display 385, a keypad display controller (also referred to as a “light provision arrangement”) 345, and a memory 350, all interconnected along with the communications interface 330 via a bus 320. Memory 350 generally comprises random access memory (“RAM”), a read only memory (“ROM”) and a permanent mass storage device, such as a disk drive, flash RAM, or the like. Other components (not shown) that may be included in various embodiments include a type of memory device separate from memory 350; such as a subscriber identity module (SIM), a Programmable Read Only Memory (PROM) device, an Electrically Erasable Programmable Read Only Memory (EEPROM) device and the like.
Memory 350 stores an operating system 355, a key map 365, and an input method routine 375 formed in accordance with embodiments of the present invention. In an embodiment, input method routine 375 may include an input routine associated with a multi-tap input routine, a predictive text input routine, or both. The keypad 325 has a plurality of keys. These keys may be divided into at least two subsets of keys, each subset of keys being adapted to define corresponding arrangements of keys.
In one embodiment in accordance with the present invention, the light provision arrangement 345 is coupled to controller 315. Light provision arrangement 345 includes at least one light source (not shown). For different embodiments, various subsets of keys may correspondingly be highlighted by the light provision arrangement 345 to provide an indication to a user of the respective mode of operation in which the electronic device 300 may be configured to operate. For example, a first subset of keys (or selective subsets of the indicia of the first subset of keys) may be configured to be highlighted during a first mode of operation of the electronic device 300, while a second subset of keys (or selective subsets of the indicia of the second subset of keys) may be configured to be highlighted during a second mode of operation.
To illustrate, in one embodiment electronic device 300 may be configured to operate in a numeric mode. In this mode, activation of each data entry key is interpreted by the controller 315 as numeric input selections and the light provision arrangement 345, under the instruction of controller 315, selectively illuminates the numerals of the keypad 325. In another embodiment, the electronic device may be configured to operate in an alphanumeric mode. In the alphanumeric mode, activation of each alphanumeric entry key of the keypad 325 is interpreted by the controller 315 and the light provision arrangement 345 selectively illuminates the QWERTY portions of the keypad 325. Alternately, the area of the keypad 325 having the numeric, or the QWERTY portions may be backlit corresponding to the mode of operation.
For the embodiments, the keypad 325, coupled and controlled by controller 315, has at least two different relative operational dispositions to the display 385. For some embodiments, the keypad 325 may be configured/adapted to be operated from a position above the display 385, below the display 385, to the right of the display 385, and/or to the left of the display 385. The subsets of keys may be defined to complement the relative operational dispositions, correspondingly. For example, one subset of keys may be defined to operate from the left of the display 385 when the electronic device is in a PDA mode of operation (e.g., the first mode of operation) in one embodiment. In another embodiment, a subset of the keys may be defined to operate from below the display 385 when the electronic device is configured to be in a phone mode of operation (e.g., the second mode).
For some embodiments, the only keys that can be activated by a user may be those that are highlighted by the light provision arrangement 345.
In various embodiments, memory 350 also stores application(s) 360. These applications, for some embodiments, may correspond to the different modes of operation for the electronic device 300. For example, in one embodiment the electronic device 300 may be configured to operate predominately as a PDA. In another embodiment, the electronic device 300 may be configured to operate as a cell phone (portable phone). For other embodiments, the electronic device may, for example, operate as an entertainment device providing MP3 music support, video conferencing capability, video recorder and camera capabilities, or as a gaming device. It will be appreciated by those of ordinary skill in the art and others, that while key map 365, input routine 375 and applications 360 are described as separate individual software components, they may actually be combined, comprised of multiple software components; or may in fact be sub-parts of one or more integrated software components. In particular, input routine 375 may be integrated with applications 360 or operating system 355. Additionally, while key map 365 and input routine 375 are illustrated as software components (e.g., part of the operating system, or a discrete application), in alternate embodiments, they may be hardware components of electronic device 300.
It will be appreciated that the software components may be loaded from a computer readable medium into memory 350 of the host computer or electronic device 300 using a drive mechanism (not shown) or network mechanism (not shown) associated with the computer readable medium, such as a floppy, tape, DVD/CD-ROM drive, flash RAM, network interface card, or communications interface 330.
Further, communication interface 330 may be designed to support one or more signaling protocols, including but not limited to Code Division Multiple Access (“CDMA”), Time Division Multiple Access (“TDMA”), Global System for Mobile Communications (“GSM”), General Packet Radio Service (“GPRS”) and so forth. Moreover, communication interface 330 may be implemented using a separate transmitter and receiver.
In accordance with various embodiments, each input key on the keypad 325 may be associated with one or more alphabetic and/or numeric values to comprise a reduced keypad. In aggregate, a reduced keypad has fewer keys than the limited keyboard shown in prior art QWERTY keyboard 110 and obviously fewer keys than a standard QWERTY keyboard layout. However, in various embodiments, the reduced keypads of the present invention may provide more data entry or input keys than the simple telephone keypads, such as conventional telephone keypad 210.
In one embodiment, successive selected characters are stored in a memory and become a generated text string. In one embodiment, the key map 365 also includes a numeric digit corresponding to each alphanumeric key, where the numeric digit is the numeric digit corresponding to the data entry key. The numeric digit corresponds to an activation count that is one greater than the activation count corresponding to the last letter in the ordered set corresponding to each data entry key. For example, in the embodiment illustrated in
In an embodiment, controller 315 can be configured/adapted to control operations of the light provision arrangement 345. Light provision arrangement 345 includes at least one light source (not shown). For different embodiments, various subsets of keys may correspondingly be highlighted by the light provision arrangement 345 to provide an indication to a user of the respective mode of operation in which the electronic device 300 may be configured to operate. For example, in one embodiment a first subset of keys may be configured to be highlighted by being backlit during a first mode of operation of the electronic device 300, while a second subset of keys may be configured to be highlighted by being backlit during a second mode of operation. In another embodiment, the plurality of keys may be equipped with light sources. For example, light emitting diodes (LEDs) may be coupled to various subsets of indicia on each key to allow different portions (the numeric, alphanumeric, or alphabetic portions) of each key to be selectively illuminated corresponding and in response, at least in part, to device 300 currently configured mode of operation. In an alternate embodiment, light valves may be disposed between each of the sets of indicia on each of the keys and one or more corresponding light sources. The light valves may then be controlled by controller 315 in response to the mode of operation of device 300.
The intensity of the illumination highlighting the keys, for some embodiments, may be varied. It isn't necessary that illumination highlighting the keys be binary (on/off). Rather, the intensity may be varied to denote the corresponding mode of operation and/or selection of the keys. For example, in a numeric mode, the intensity of the illumination of the numeric indicia on a first set of keys may be noticeably greater than that of other indicia. Additionally, the most recently selected key may temporally illuminated with the highest intensity. Conversely, if device 300 is in an alphabetic mode, the QWERTY portion of each of the keys containing the QWERTY indicia of a second subset of keys may be noticeably greater than that of other indicia. Likewise, the most recently selected key may temporally illuminated with the highest intensity. In some embodiments, the controller 315 may be adapted to modify the intensity of the light emitting from the light source(s) illuminating the keys. For some embodiments, the controller 315 may be modifying the intensity in response, at least in part, to the mode of operation in which device 300 is configured to operate. In other embodiments, a user interface for device 300 may be configured to allow a user to control the intensity of the light emitting from the light sources based at least in part on the user's preferences.
The number of subsets of keys, key arrangements, and modes of operation are illustrative and are not intended to be limiting. More than two subsets of keys, modes of operation and corresponding key arrangements may be defined for device 300.
In one embodiment, a display 385 is coupled to controller 315. In the embodiment, an output signal for controller 315 causes an appropriate alphabetic, numeric or non-numeric character to be displayed on display 385. In one embodiment, as the user repeatedly activates an input key and has not completed selection of a character, each successive activation causes a tentative character selection to overwrite the previous tentative character selection on display 385.
If, however, in decision block 505, it was determined that no input method has been designated for a particular text field, processing continues to decision block 510. In decision block 510 a determination is made whether the application containing the text field has a designated input method (e.g., some external property indicates an input method for the particular text field). If so, processing also proceeds to block 535.
If, however, in decision block 510 it was determined that the application does not have a designated input method, processing proceeds to decision block 515, where a determination is made whether the application (and/or the text field) is of a known input type (e.g., a “name” field is almost always known to be alphabetic/alphanumeric and not conforming to a dictionary, so a multi-tap input method may automatically be chosen). If so, processing proceeds to block 530 where an appropriate input method is set, according to the known input type.
If in decision block 515 it was not determined that the application was of a known input type, processing proceeds to decision block 520. In decision block 520 a determination is made whether a user of the electronic device 300 has designated an input method and, if so, processing proceeds to block 535.
If, however, in decision block 520 it was not determined that the user has designated an input method, processing proceeds to block 525 where a default input method is set. Once an input method has been set, either in block 525, 530 or 535, processing proceeds to the text entering subroutine 540, such as the predictive input method subroutine, the multi-tap input method subroutine, or a numeric input subroutine (not shown, but described above). Once the text entering subroutine 540 returns, then the input text is returned in block 599.
Those of ordinary skill in the art and others will appreciate that other input methods may be automatically determined according to input method determination process 500, without departing from the spirit and scope of the present invention. For example, in one embodiment of the present invention a modified predictive input method may be employed to provide an adaptive predictive input method such that as new words are entered into text fields they are also added to a predictive input dictionary, thereby increasing the predictive capabilities of the adaptive input method. Those of ordinary skill in the art and others will appreciate that there are yet still other input methods that may be employed in various embodiments of the present invention.
For the embodiment, there may be at least two keymaps (examples of which are illustrated in
For the embodiment, at least some of the first plurality of input keys 735 may be associated with numeric values 0-9 and the first set of alphabetic values to form a telephone keypad layout based on the first plurality of input keys' numeric values and respective first sets of alphabetic values. Each of the input keys of the first and second plurality of input keys 735 and 745 may be associated with one or more non-alphabetic or non-numeric character values as well. Thus, as illustrated, the bottom row of the first plurality of input keys 735 may also include input keys 735 b and 735 c associated with at least an asterisk and a pound symbol, respectively.
In the illustrated embodiment, at least some of the first plurality of input keys 735 and second plurality of input keys 745 may be associated with a third plurality of indicia 740 corresponding to a second alphabetic keyboard layout that is different from the first alphabetic keyboard layout. The controller 315 may be adapted to dynamically bind a second keymap to some of the keys in the second subset of keys. This keymap may then define a second set of alphabetic values that correspond to, and are represented by, the first plurality of indicia 737 and the third plurality of indicia 740. In contrast to each of first sets of alphabetic indicia 738, which may include one or more alphabetically ordered letters, each of second sets of alphabetic indicia 740 may include one or more letters arranged to be compatible with a QWERTY like keyboard layout. Thus, in an embodiment, each of first plurality of input keys 735 may be arranged relative to each of adjacent or partially surrounding second plurality of input keys 745 to form the QWERTY like keyboard layout. Note also that in the embodiment, and as described above, at least one set from the first or second sets of alphabetic indicia, 738 and 740 respectively, comprises a single alphabetic letter or value. For example, in the embodiment, input key 735 d is associated with a second set of alphabetic values 740 comprising the single alphabetic value ‘E.’
Note that for clarity, only one input key 735, one input key 745, one numeric value 737, one set of alphabetic values 738, and one set of second set of alphabetic values 740 have been labeled in the figure. Furthermore, please note that in the embodiment shown, although input keys 745 may include two groups of keys substantially disposed on a left and a right side of input keys 735, in alternate embodiments, the second plurality of input keys 745 may be disposed at other suitable locations relative to the first plurality of input keys 735 to facilitate the formation of the QWERTY keyboard layout or other suitable layout.
Additionally, as noted previously, in various embodiments, the first plurality of input keys 735 or the second plurality of input keys 745 may include one or more input keys associated with one or more non-alphabetic or non-numeric values. Examples of such associated values include, but are not limited to, punctuation marks, special symbols or characters, device commands or other suitable values. In one embodiment, device command values may include function keys, cursor-control keys, or modifier keys. For example, as referenced above, input keys 735 c and 735 d, may include an asterisk or pound symbol on a lower portion of the respective keys. In the illustrated embodiment, input key 735 a includes symbols, “?” “!” and “/” while input key 745 c includes a device command value of “select.” As another example, in the embodiment shown, first plurality of input keys 735 includes an input key 735 e associated with device command value of ′space bar ′ as well as numeric value “0”.
Note also that although in
In one embodiment, there may be a toggle button or an input key for activation of a QWERTY mode of operation or telephone keypad mode of operation. Thus, a user may input data using a QWERTY like layout for textual input and a telephone keypad for entry of telephone numbers and the like. For a user to input data into electronic device 300, in an embodiment, a keypad such as the ones illustrated in
In the illustrated embodiment, each of the first plurality of keys 735 (indicated in shaded area) may be a numeric key associated with a unique number or numeric value and corresponding indicia 737. Input keys having numeric values zero, and four through nine (0, 4-9) of first plurality of keys 735 may be associated with a first set of alphabetic values and corresponding first alphabetic indicia 738, each set having approximately three or four alphabetically ordered letters, in accordance with the embodiment. Thus, more specifically, in one embodiment, as illustrated in
Furthermore, in an embodiment, each of the alphabetically ordered letters of first sets of alphabetic values associated with the first alphabetic indicia 738 corresponds to a DTMF signal substantially consistent with a DTMF signal corresponding to the alphabetically ordered letters of a conventional telephone keypad layout. This may allow mnemonic phone numbers, such as 1-800-FLOWERS, and the like, to be entered in the same manner as on a conventional telephone keypad because the correspondence between each letter and numeric key is compatible.
Alternately, in an embodiment as illustrated in
Such an embodiment may be advantageous when using multi-tap entry. Thus, the letters having a higher probability of occurrence are selected by a single activation of the input key and letters with a lower probability of occurrence are selected by activating the input key two or more times. For example, as illustrated in
Input key 1035 b of
Thus, it can be seen from the above descriptions, a keypad having two or more subsets of keys in a keypad has been described for use on a portable electronic device. In various embodiments, the keypad has at least a first and a second operational disposition to a display corresponding to a first and a second mode of operation within the device. In one embodiment, there may be a toggle button or an input key for activation of a QWERTY mode or a telephone keypad mode. Thus, a user may use a QWERTY layout for textual input and a telephone keypad for entry of telephone numbers and the like. In various embodiments, keypad 325/425/5251625 may be used with a multi-tap mode of entry or a predictive text mode of entry.
Those of ordinary skill in the art will appreciate that exemplary keypad 1025, as well as the other exemplary keypads 325, 625, 725, 825, 925 and 1025 are shown by way of illustration and are not meant to limit the scope of the present invention.
It will be appreciated that although particular embodiments of the invention has been described in detail, various modifications and improvements can be made by a person skilled in the art without departing from the scope of the present invention. It will also be appreciated that the frequency of use of letters varies in situations where users predominately use languages other than English, or where geographical or cultural differences result in different corpuses of use. In these situations, ordered sets other than those explicitly described, in accordance with the present invention, may be desirable.