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Printing from a mobile phone using MMS

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000200836D
Publication Date: 2010-Oct-27
Document File: 3 page(s) / 37K

Publishing Venue

The IP.com Prior Art Database

Abstract

This idea proposes to enable printing from a mobile device (e.g. cell phone) using multimedia messaging service (MMS). Most existing methods for printing from a mobile phone involve a wireless network such as WiFi or Bluetooth and the target printer's existing Local Area Network (LAN) connections. These existing methods for communicating between a mobile phone and a printer use either an IP or email address; they don't use a cell phone number. This idea proposes using the cell phone network communication capabilities of the cell phone with MMS to send the data to the printer to be printed. Two methods are proposed to accomplish this. The first method would add cell phone communication capability to the printer. A cell phone could then directly communicate with the printer to submit print jobs. In an alternative method, the cell phone would send print jobs as picture messages (or document messages) to a print service that is on the mobile phone network using MMS. The print service in turn creates a print-ready file and sends the job to a printer connected to it by network for fulfillment. Both methods would require a telephone account (and a monthly bill) for the printer or server that communicates on the cell phone network.

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Printing from a mobile phone using MMS

This idea proposes to enable printing from a mobile device (e.g. cell phone) using multimedia messaging service (MMS).  Most existing methods for printing from a mobile phone involve a wireless network such as WiFi or Bluetooth and the target printer's existing Local Area Network (LAN) connections. These existing methods for communicating between a mobile phone and a printer use either an IP or email address; they don't use a cell phone number.  This idea proposes using the cell phone network communication capabilities of the cell phone with MMS to send the data to the printer to be printed.  Two methods are proposed to accomplish this.  The first method would add cell phone communication capability to the printer.  A cell phone could then directly communicate with the printer to submit print jobs.  In an alternative method, the cell phone would send print jobs as picture messages (or document messages) to a print service that is on the mobile phone network using MMS. The print service in turn creates a print-ready file and sends the job to a printer connected to it by network for fulfillment. Both methods would require a telephone account (and a monthly bill) for the printer or server that communicates on the cell phone network. 

Method #1: Printer on the cell phone network

The goal is to make it as simple and easy as possible to print from a mobile phone and just as simple and reliable to collect fees for printing. The idea uses MMS to send printable documents to a printer that acts like a mobile phone with a print engine attached. So the printer contains the hardware needed to behave like a mobile phone and send and receive SMS and MMS. The phone company already has mechanisms for charging for text messages, data transmissions and transactions that involve special phone numbers or common short codes, so everything is in place to charge for the calls made in accordance with this idea.

A mobile phone user starts with a picture or document on their phone that they want to print. The user finds the phone number of the target printer. It could already be in their contact list or it could be displayed on or near the printer that the user is standing next to, published in an online list of available locations that offer the service and where the user can pick up printed output, or via an application like Nokia’s Point and Find. The user then sends a picture to the printer as a picture message. The user can optionally include information in the text field of the picture message with simple job information such as the number of copies.

The printer receives the message and accompanying picture. It can either print it immediately or send a text message back to the user confirming the instructions and quoting a price, which the user accepts in their response back. Receipt of this confirmation message by the printer would then queue the picture for printing. It may be that the picture message is coming fr...