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Interchangeable Keyboard/Controller Face Plate for a Mobile Device

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000130495D
Publication Date: 2005-Oct-25
Document File: 2 page(s) / 46K

Publishing Venue

The IP.com Prior Art Database

Abstract

1. Users who want to use only one mobile communication device are forced to choose between phone and larger "PDA-like" form-factor smart phones. There is a trade-off of size vs. "input convenience". Smaller handhelds are less cumbersome to carry, but as a result of their size, they provide fewer keys/controls to the user. Larger handhelds are more cumbersome to carry, but have more space for keys and controls. The user is forced to choose between size and "input convenience." Some mobile devices allow the user to connect external controllers/keyboards, but the size of the device increases considerable since the existing keyboard/controller on the device still takes up valuable space and space could also be sacrificed to provide the external peripheral's connection (e.g. a keyboard attached to a USB interface on the device needs space for the USB connector). 2. The existing and non-replaceable keyboard/controller interface on a mobile device may not be well suited to certain applications (e.g. a keyboard may not be well suited to playing games). 3. Multi-lingual users are restricted to one keyboard/controller with one set of keys, which restricts them from "directly" inputting languages that do not use the same alpha-numeric symbols as on the keyboard/controller. For example, a QWERTY keyboard can be used to directly input the English language but it cannot be used to directly input the Japanese language, which has a different alphabet. Languages that are not well suited to the keyboard/controller need to be entered by "indirect" and alternative means, which could be more difficult to learn and more inconvenient to the user. Additionally, some countries have different keyboard layouts then the QWERTY layout and a mobile device's keyboard interface may not seem as intuitive to users in such countries as to users in Countries that do adopt the QWERTY layout. 4. The user is restricted to the manner of input that their mobile device provides. For example, some users don't have the option of using a stylus pen as a means of input. 5. A non-removable "open-faced" mobile device's keyboard provides a slight security hole in the sense that an attacker who steals the device has the option of inputting data. A mobile device with an interchangeable keyboard / controller face plate that is easy to change solves the problems above. Interchangeable keyboards / controllers could work much like the "snap-on"/ejectable face plates used as interfaces for some car stereo systems. The user could "eject" their current keyboard/controller face plate and "snap-on" a preferred keyboard/controller. The problems stated are solved as follows: 1. Allowing users to easily change their keyboards gives them flexibility. When they want to carry a smaller, less cumbersome device (e.g. a mobile phone-like form factor), they could snap a keyboard onto the handheld with fewer keys; perhaps they could snap a strictly phone-keyboard-only face plate onto the handheld if they are only intending to use the device as phones. Conversely, if a user wants "input convenience" and "direct input", then a user could snap a keyboard/controller onto the device with more keys and controls such as a QWERTY keyboard. The size of the handheld is not compromised greatly since the new keyboard replaces the old keyboard and there is a specialized interface on the face of the handheld which optimizes the space required to allow for plugging/snapping/ejecting the keyboards / controllers (e.g. similar to the "snap-on" plates of some car stereo interfaces, the interface could be on the face of the mobile device where the keyboard snaps on). 2. The user has the option of attaching a keyboard that is better suited to the application that he/she is currently using. For example, a user could attach a "game console-like" controller to their handheld if they want to play an arcade-style game on their mobile device (i.e. a controller with a direction pad, primary/alternate "firing" buttons). Driver software may need to be loaded on the device to allow the user to map the controls to certain keys if an application is not "peripheral-aware". 3. A multi-lingual user has the option of attaching a different keyboard that is better suited to the language that the user wants to input. For example, a Japanese user could switch his/her QWERTY keyboard for one that has the Japanese alphabet on it. 4. A user could interchange the keyboard with any kind of interface, including one that allows them to directly input data using a stylus. 5. A keyboard/controller could be branded with a handheld so that only the branded keyboards/handhelds can input data into the handheld. A user could increase security by removing the keyboard from the handheld (when not in use) and thus prevent thieves from entering data into it. A thief would not be able to use a separate keyboard to enter data because only the keyboards included with the handheld can be used with it (i.e. the included keyboards act like a "keys" to a handheld).

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INTERCHANGEABLE KEYBOARD

Interchangeable Keyboard/Controller Face Plate for a

Mobile

Device

Disclosed Anonymously

1. Users who want to use only one mobile communication device are forced to choose between phone and larger "PDA-like" form-factor smart phones. There is a trade-off of size vs. "input convenience".  Smaller handhelds are less cumbersome to carry, but as a result of their size, they provide fewer keys/controls to the user.  Larger handhelds are more cumbersome to carry, but have more space for keys and controls.  The user is forced to choose between size and "input convenience."

Some mobile devices allow the user to connect external controllers/keyboards, but the size of the device increases considerable since the existing keyboard/controller on the device still takes up valuable space and space could also be sacrificed to provide the external peripheral's connection (e.g. a keyboard attached to a USB interface on the device needs space for the USB connector). 

2. The existing and non-replaceable keyboard/controller interface on a mobile device may not be well suited to certain applications (e.g. a keyboard may not be well suited to playing games).

3. Multi-lingual users are restricted to one keyboard/controller with one set of keys, which restricts them from "directly" inputting languages that do not use the same alpha-numeric symbols as on the keyboard/controller.  For example, a QWERTY keyboard can be used to directly input the English language but it cannot be used to directly input the Japanese language, which has a different alphabet.  Languages that are not well suited to the keyboard/controller need to be entered by "indirect" and alternative means, which could be more difficult to learn and more inconvenient to the user.  Additionally, some countries have different keyboard layouts then the QWERTY layout and a mobile device's keyboard interface may not seem as intuitive to users in such countries as to users in Countries that do adopt the QWERTY layout.

4. The user is restricted to the manner of input that their mobile device provides.  For example, some users don't have the option of using a stylus pen as a means of input.

5. A non-removable "open-faced" mobile device's keyboard provides a slight security hole in the sense that an attacker who steals the device has the option of inputting data.

A mobile device with an interchangeable keyboard / controller face plate that is easy to change solves the problems above.  Interchangeable keyboards / controllers could work much like the "snap-on"/ejectable face plates used as interfaces for some car stereo systems.  The user could "eject" their current keyboard/control...