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Exchangeable Smart Input/Output Modules of a Wireless Device having a Constant Form Factor

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000130454D
Publication Date: 2005-Nov-09
Document File: 4 page(s) / 16K

Publishing Venue

The IP.com Prior Art Database

Abstract

Problems:

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This is the abbreviated version, containing approximately 30% of the total text.

EXCHANGEABLE SMART INPUT / OUTPUT MODULES

Exchangeable Smart Input/Output Modules of a Wireless Device having a Constant Form Factor

Disclosed Anonymously

Problems:

1. A user typically purchases a given device based on which device comes closest to the user’s "feature list" needs. A user may want specific core built-in functionality within a device, e.g. Bluetooth, MP3, voice-activated dialing, etc and may compromise his preferred input/navigation method. Having a device that supports swappable input modules allows the user to personalize and have flexibility with his device purchase. Input module is defined as navigation and keypad. An output module or display typically would only be exchanged when damaged. However, there is a significant cost difference between display technologies, e.g., a 2.5" CSTN LCD module is around $20.00 US less expensive (double the cost to the user) than 2.5" TFT.  So, there could be an opportunity for manufacturer which then translates to user savings. Another reality primarily due to growing demand for LCD displays is sourcing and availability. Having a changeable output module approach allows a device manufacturer to more readily switch to another display source.

Another variance to this invention would be to have modules that are "hot-swappable". This implies that the device would not have to be powered off or battery removed in order to swap-in different modules. Typically this is done only for memory interfaces or more mission critical instrumentation in demanding environments, but could be applicable in this instance to such customers as the military. It could also be implemented in designs where the battery is "built-in" (i.e. non-replaceable).

2. Even though most input (navigation/keypad) and output (LCD) modules require common respective hardware signal interfaces, most do not conform to a common pin-out or connector arrangement. This invention allows for a universal interface for an input module and a universal interface for an output module. This could potentially drive standardization and allow an equivalent to an open systems design approach.  This could extend to third parties that wish to develop their own custom input module to target a specific application.

3. The output and input modules of many wireless devices usually have the highest mortality rate of all components of a device. Many people do not wish to give up a slighted damaged wireless device and sometimes live with a display blemish. Having these parts field-replaceable or at least detachable to send a replacement module allows for more efficient expedition of repair. Also, as far as design and testing, the radio and core processing is not typically a problem. The difficult areas and time consuming design areas tend to be the display and keypad/navigation. Decoupling these design efforts from a base system or core board would also make sense from design and manufacturing engineering cost standpoint.

4. Future extensibility. Currently...