WO1995034958A1 - A pc card cellular-based communication system - Google Patents

A pc card cellular-based communication system

Info

Publication number
WO1995034958A1
WO1995034958A1 PCT/US1995/007796 US9507796W WO1995034958A1 WO 1995034958 A1 WO1995034958 A1 WO 1995034958A1 US 9507796 W US9507796 W US 9507796W WO 1995034958 A1 WO1995034958 A1 WO 1995034958A1
Authority
WO
Grant status
Application
Patent type
Prior art keywords
pc
module
card
cellular
notebook
Prior art date
Application number
PCT/US1995/007796
Other languages
French (fr)
Inventor
Eric J. Gradeler
Matthew A. Herron
Lawrence Lam
Robert Yuan
Original Assignee
Apple Computer, Inc.
Priority date (The priority date is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the date listed.)
Filing date
Publication date

Links

Classifications

    • GPHYSICS
    • G06COMPUTING; CALCULATING; COUNTING
    • G06FELECTRIC DIGITAL DATA PROCESSING
    • G06F1/00Details not covered by groups G06F3/00 – G06F13/00 and G06F21/00
    • G06F1/16Constructional details or arrangements
    • G06F1/1613Constructional details or arrangements for portable computers
    • G06F1/1633Constructional details or arrangements of portable computers not specific to the type of enclosures covered by groups G06F1/1615 - G06F1/1626
    • G06F1/1656Details related to functional adaptations of the enclosure, e.g. to provide protection against EMI, shock, water, or to host detachable peripherals like a mouse or removable expansions units like PCMCIA cards, or to provide access to internal components for maintenance or to removable storage supports like CDs or DVDs, or to mechanically mount accessories
    • GPHYSICS
    • G06COMPUTING; CALCULATING; COUNTING
    • G06FELECTRIC DIGITAL DATA PROCESSING
    • G06F1/00Details not covered by groups G06F3/00 – G06F13/00 and G06F21/00
    • G06F1/26Power supply means, e.g. regulation thereof
    • G06F1/266Arrangements to supply power to external peripherals either directly from the computer or under computer control, e.g. supply of power through the communication port, computer controlled power-strips
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H01BASIC ELECTRIC ELEMENTS
    • H01QANTENNAS, i.e. RADIO AERIALS
    • H01Q1/00Details of, or arrangements associated with, antennas
    • H01Q1/12Supports; Mounting means
    • H01Q1/22Supports; Mounting means by structural association with other equipment or articles
    • H01Q1/2258Supports; Mounting means by structural association with other equipment or articles used with computer equipment
    • H01Q1/2275Supports; Mounting means by structural association with other equipment or articles used with computer equipment associated to expansion card or bus, e.g. in PCMCIA, PC cards, Wireless USB
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04BTRANSMISSION
    • H04B1/00Details of transmission systems, not covered by a single one of groups H04B3/00 - H04B13/00; Details of transmission systems not characterised by the medium used for transmission
    • H04B1/38Transceivers, i.e. devices in which transmitter and receiver form a structural unit and in which at least one part is used for functions of transmitting and receiving
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04BTRANSMISSION
    • H04B1/00Details of transmission systems, not covered by a single one of groups H04B3/00 - H04B13/00; Details of transmission systems not characterised by the medium used for transmission
    • H04B1/38Transceivers, i.e. devices in which transmitter and receiver form a structural unit and in which at least one part is used for functions of transmitting and receiving
    • H04B1/3816Mechanical arrangements for accommodating identification devices, e.g. cards or chips; with connectors for programming identification devices
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04WWIRELESS COMMUNICATIONS NETWORKS
    • H04W88/00Devices specially adapted for wireless communication networks, e.g. terminals, base stations or access point devices
    • H04W88/02Terminal devices

Abstract

A PC card cellular-based communications system including a PC module containing wireless telephone electronics, a notebook computer having a PC card slot, and a telephone handset which also includes a PC card slot. When the PC module is inserted into the PC card slot of the notebook computer, the PC module is powered by the notebook computer and provides cellular voice and data communications from the notebook computer. When the PC module is inserted into the PC card slot of the handset, the PC module is powered by a battery within the handset to provide a handheld wireless telephone. To enable analog voice communications, both the PC module and the notebook computer include modifications to the standard PC digital interface to provide an analog interface between the PC module and the notebook computer.

Description

A PC CARD CELLULAR-BASED COMMUNICATION SYSTEM

CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED PATENT APPLICATION

The present application is related to application Ser. No. 08/260,716, docket No. P1352 entitled "Analog Interface for a PC Card" which was filed on the same date as the present application and assigned to the assignee of the present application.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION The present invention relates generally to a PC card cellular- based system, and more particularly to a PC card cellular-based communication system combing a PC module containing wireless telephone electronics that provides mobile telecommunications for a portable computer, and a telephone handset sleeve that may be associated with the PC module to form a handheld wireless telephone. Notebook and portable computers are small, lightweight versions of conventional desktop personal computers (PCs). The portability aspect of notebook computers emphasizes the need for notebooks to have greater storage capacity and access to external data. Because of mechanical size limitations placed on hardware devices, however, not all of the storage and communication components found in desktop PCs can be included in notebook computers. Instead, the missing hardware is provided on PC cards which interface with the notebook computers. A PC card is a small credit-card sized device that may be inserted or removed from a slot in a computer in a manner similar to a floppy disk.

The standard for PC cards is defined by the Personal Computer Memory Card International Association (PCMCIA). The PCMCIA standard is a hardware and software specification for memory, input- output (I/O), storage, and communications devices such as a memory cards, hard disk drives, and modems. The PCMCIA specification defines three physical card and slot sizes referred to as Type I, Type II and Type III. All three types of PC cards are approximately two inches wide and three inches in length, but the height varies to accommodate various functions. A Type I PC card is approximately three millimeters in height and typically includes memory type devices, such as random access memory (RAM). A Type II PC card typically includes either memory or I/O devices, such as a modem, and is approximately five millimeters in height. A Type III PC card includes memory and I/O devices similar to a Type II PC card but the components are larger. For example, a Type III PC card may contain a hard disk drive. At approximately ten millimeters in height, a Type PC III card is the tallest of the three.

A PC card containing the components of analog modem is widely used to enable a notebook computer to communication with external sources. A PC analog modem card typically includes a phone jack for connection to a wall-mounted telephone jack, referred to as a RJ11 socket, through a standard telephone cable. Once connected, a PC analog modem card allows the notebook to transmit and receive data over telephones lines. The problem with this method of communication is that the portability of the notebook computer is limited to the availability of wall-mounted RJ11 sockets. For example, a notebook equipped with a PC analog modem card is unable to communicate to the outside world in environments that do not include wall-mounted RJ11 sockets, such as outdoors and in most forms of transportation.

The recent emergence of wireless communication devices has eliminated the need for wire-based communications by making it possible for portable computers to communicate using radio waves. Cellular-based telephones and modems include a cellular radio and antenna, and operate by transmitting radio signals to a central service provider. The service provider then transfers the signal via the public switched telephone network to a remote telephone or modem. The use of cellular technology is advantageous because it frees notebook computers from wire-based communication, thereby increasing the portability and connectivity of the notebook. Various forms of cellular technology exist that provide notebook computers with cellular capability. One such method is shown in FIG. 1. This method involves connecting a PC analog modem card 11 of a notebook computer 12 to a portable cellular phone 18. The connection is made through a converter box 14 which is a device that acts as an interface between the protocol of the analog modem card 11 and the protocol of the cellular phone 18. The converter box 14 is connected to the PC analog modem card 11 via a standard telephone cord 16, and to the handheld cellular phone 18 over a proprietary connection 20. Connecting a PC analog modem card 11 to a cellular phone in this manner eliminates the need for the notebook computer 12 to transmit and receive data through its PC analog modem card 10 using a wall-mounted RJ11 socket (not shown).

A second method for providing cellular capability to a notebook is to provide a cellular-ready modem on a PC card which is then inserted into the notebook computer 12, as shown in FIG. 2. A cellular-ready modem card 30 includes an analog modem that is capable of communicating with a cellular phone without the need for a converter box 14 (FIG. 1 ). The cellular-ready modem card 30 includes a standard telephone jack 32 and a jack 34 for direct connection to a cellular phone 18 via cable 36. The two jacks allow the modem card 30 to be connected to a standard RJ11 socket for standard analog transmission, or to a cellular phone 18 for cellular transmission. A PC cellular-ready modem card 30 dispenses with the need for the converter box 14. (FIG. 1 ) by moving the functions of the converter box into the PC card 30. However, as in the first method, a cellular-ready modem card 30 requires that the notebook computer 12 to be tethered by a cable to a cellular phone 18.

The two methods described above require at least one tethered connection between the notebook and a second device (a converter box or cellular phone). Therefore, these methods do not provide an integrated wireless communication design for notebook computers. The tethered connection between a notebook and a cellular phone is usually over a proprietary interface which prevents a user from using devices made by different manufactures because of incompatibility between the devices. Furthermore, because components are tied together, tethered-based solutions increase the possibility that one, or all, of the components may be toppled from a table-top and damaged. To overcome these problems, a PCMCIA Type II card has been introduced that includes a cellular modem rather than an analog modem. This allows the notebook computer to transmit data over a cellular radio without requiring a tether or a portable cellular telephone. However, as shown in FIG. 3, a PCMCIA cellular modem card 40 includes a large extension 42 that houses a cellular radio and antenna. The design of the cellular modem card 40 may include circuitry which does not fit in a standard-sized PC card because the extension 42 of the cellular modem card 40 extends beyond both the sides and the top of the notebook computer 12. Because the design of the cellular modem card 40 is not integrated with the design of notebook computer 12, the extension 42 of the cellular modem card 40 may interfere with the user of the notebook computer 12 when performing keyboard operations. Furthermore, the cellular modem card 40 is fragile and may be cracked or broken since the weight of the extension 42 is unsupported outside the housing of the notebook 12.

Besides the design disadvantages of a cellular modem card, the card also possess functional limitations. The user of a notebook computer equipped with cellular modem card incurs the cost of a cellular radio, but not the functionality of a portable cellular telephone because cellular modems enable the cellular transmission of raw data and facsimile data (fax) but not the transmission of voice. The user must therefore purchase a cellular telephone in addition to a cellular modem card if the user also desires to place regular cellular telephone calls. Although the prices of cellular phones are declining, cellular subscription rates remain high. In addition, cellular carriers only issue one cellular telephone number per subscription. This means a user who purchases a cellular phone to supplement the card must maintain two subscription accounts and two phone numbers, one for the PC cellular modem and one for the cellular telephone.

Accordingly, it is an object of the present invention to provide a PC card cellular-based communication system that supports both computer and telephone cellular usage using a single cellular subscription and telephone number.

It is another object of the present invention to provide a PC card cellular-based communication system that includes a PC module containing a cellular radio and an analog modem that provides cellular capability to both a notebook computer and a telephone handset sleeve.

It is a further object of the present invention to provide a PC module that supports voice applications, is integrated into the design of a notebook computer, and operates without the use of a tether.

Additional objects and advantages of the invention will be set forth in part in the description which follows, and in part become apparent to those skilled in the art upon examination of the following, or may be learned by practice of the invention. The objects and advantages of the invention may be realized and obtained by means of the instrumentalities and combinations particularly pointed out in the claims.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention includes a PC card cellular-based communications system comprising a PC module including a cellular radio and an analog fax and data modem, a notebook computer having a PC card slot, and a telephone handset including a PC card slot, a microphone, a speaker, and a keyboard. The PC module includes means for providing cellular voice and analog fax and data capability to the notebook computer when the PC module is disposed in the PC card slot of the notebook computer, and means for providing cellular voice capability to the handset when the PC module is disposed in the PC card slot of the handset.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The accompanying drawings, which are incorporated in and constitute a part of the specification, schematically illustrate a preferred embodiment of the invention and, together with the general description given above and the detailed description of the preferred embodiment given below, serve to explain the principles of the invention. FIGS. 1 and 2 depict prior art systems for enabling a notebook computer to communicate over a cellular telephone.

FIG. 3 shows a notebook computer equipped with a prior art PCMCIA cellular modem card.

FIG. 4 depicts a PC module in accordance with the present invention.

FIG. 5 is an illustration showing that the PC module may be used with both a telephone handset and a notebook computer.

FIG. 6 depicts the PC module inserted into a PC slot of the handset to provide a hand-held cellular telephone. FIG. 7 depicts the PC module inserted into a PC slot of the notebook computer to provide cellular voice and data capability to the notebook computer. FIG. 8 depicts the PC module in the notebook computer and connected to the handset to provide voice telephone calls from the handset.

FIG. 9 depicts the PC module in the notebook computer connected to an external data access arrangement for direct connection to telephone lines for landline modem usage.

FIG. 10 is a circuit diagram illustrating an audio interface in default mode between the notebook computer and the PC module.

FIG. 11 is a circuit diagram illustrating the audio interface in audio mode between the notebook computer and the PC module.

FIG. 12 is a circuit diagram illustrating an audio interface in default mode between the PC module and the handset.

FIG. 13 is a circuit diagram illustrating the audio interface in audio mode between the PC module and the handset.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

The present invention will be described in terms of the preferred embodiment. The present invention is PC card cellular- based system including a PC module containing a cellular phone radio and an analog modem that provides cellular communication capabilities to both a notebook computer and a telephone handset.

Referring to FIG. 4, a PC module 50 in accordance with the present invention is shown. The PC module 50 comprises a cellular radio 52, an antenna 54, an analog modem 56, a connector 58 for external connections, and a standard female 68-pin connector 59. In a preferred embodiment, the PC module 50 is a PCMCIA Type III card and may be inserted into any electronic device that is equipped with either a PCMCIA Type III slot or a PCMCIA bay comprising two Type II slots. The PCMCIA standards currently define a 68-pin connector as the electrical hardware interface for PC cards. When the PC module 50 is docked into a PC slot, the female 68-pin connector 59 on the PC module 50 mates with a male connector of the PC slot (not shown).

The analog modem 56 operates in a well known manner and the signals produced by the analog modem 56 are broadcast over the antenna 54 by the cellular radio 52. Because of size constraints involved in placing both the cellular radio 52 and the analog modem 56 together in a Type III card, the size of the analog modem 56 must be reduced in order to fit into the card. In a preferred embodiment, the size of the analog modem 56 is miniaturized based on the express modem architecture disclosed in U.S. Patent No. 5,134,648, issued on July 25, 1992, and assigned to the assignee of the present application, entitled "Reconfigurable Modem for a Computer or the Like", the entire disclosure of which is hereby incorporated by reference. In a preferred embodiment, the cellular radio 52 is compliant with the Advanced Mobile Phone System (AMPS) standard which defines protocols for cellular communications, and the analog modem 56 is compliant with the former Consultative Committee for International Telephone and Telegraph (CCITT) V.32 and V.17 bis standard, now the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) standard.

A primary feature of the present invention is that the PC module 50 provides cellular capabilities to both a notebook computer 80 and a wireless telephone handset sleeve 60 that includes a Type III PC slot 62 for accepting the PC module 50, as shown in FIG. 5. The telephone handset 60 also includes a display 64, a keyboard 66, a speaker 68, a microphone 70, and a battery housed in battery compartment 72. When the 68-pin connector 59 of PC module 50 is inserted into the slot 62 of the handset 60, as shown in FIG. 6, the handset 60 becomes a handheld cellular telephone powered by the battery contained in the handset 60. Cellular telephone calls may then be made from the handset 60 in a conventional manner. In a preferred embodiment of the present invention, the PC module 50 includes an address book of names and associated telephone numbers. This feature allows one PC module 50 to be utilized with more than one handset 60 while retaining the telephone numbers of the user.

FIG. 7 shows the PC module 50 inserted into a PC slot 81 of the notebook computer 80. Once inserted into the slot 81 of the notebook computer 80, the PC module 50 is powered by the computer power supply (not shown). The PC module 50 provides cellular voice capability to the notebook computer 80 through the cellular radio 52, and provides fax and data capabilities to the notebook computer 80 through the analog modem 56. The voice capability provided by the PC module 50 enables the use of voice applications on the notebook computer 80, such as speakerphone and voice messaging applications. It should be noted, however, that the PC module 50 does not implement the speakerphone function within the notebook computer 80. Rather, the PC module 50 only allows for the speakerphone function if the notebook contains the proper architecture, as explained below. By using the PC module 50 in both the handset 60 and notebook 80, a user benefits from both a cellular telephone and a cellular notebook that share the same telephone number under a single cellular service provider subscription.

Even though the PC module 50 enables a user to place voice calls from the notebook computer 80 when the PC module 50 is docked in to the slot 81 of the notebook computer, a user may prefer to use the handset 60 rather than the computer to place voice calls either because of privacy concerns, or because the speakerphone function is not available. For these reasons, the present invention supports a privacy handset feature, as shown in FIG. 8, wherein the handset 60 is connected to an audio cable 82 which plugs into the connector 58 of the PC module 50. Through the use of the audio cable

82, a user may hold telephone conversations using the microphone 68 and speaker 70 of the handset 60 while the PC module 50 remains docked in the notebook computer 80, rather than using the speaker and microphone of the notebook computer. Because transmission over telephone lines is more reliable and less expensive than cellular transmission, the PC module 50 may also be used as a standard analog modem when a regular phone line is available. As shown in FIG. 9, the analog modem mode of operation requires the use of an external data access arrangement (DAA) 90. A DAA 90 is a standard physical telephone line interface that allows other devices to interface with a telephone line. The DAA 90 is plugged into the connector 58 of the PC module 50 and includes a standard RJ11 socket 94 for connection to a standard wall-mounted RJ11 socket (not shown) via a standard phone cable 92 and telephone plug 93. In this mode, the cellular radio 52 of FIG. 4 is disabled and all communication occurs through the analog modem 56 of the PC module 50.

The voice capability provided by the PC module 50, mentioned above, is implemented over the 68-pin interface between the PC module 50 and the PC slot of an electronic device, such as the notebook computer 80. For voice applications, such as speakerphone and voice messaging, the PC module 50 and the notebook computer 80 must exchange bidirectional analog audio signals over this 68-pin interface. Currently, PC card interface standards are digital and cannot process analog signals. Therefore, to provide the PC module 50 with voice capability, the present invention transforms a portion of the PC card digital interface into an analog audio interface while remaining compliant with PC card standards, currently PCMCIA release 2.1 (See Chapter 4.2.6 (Customization)).

FIGS. 10 and 11 illustrate the audio interface of the present invention when the PC module 50 is docked into the slot 81 of the notebook computer 80 using a standard 68-pin connector 122. FIG. 10 illustrates the audio interface between the notebook computer 80 and the PC module in default mode while FIG. 11 illustrates the audio interface between the notebook computer 80 and PC module 50 in audio mode. In the default mode, the PC interface operates as normal, but in the audio mode the PC interface is modified to provide a four- wire analog audio interface, as explained below.

The notebook computer 80 contains well known computer components, which will not be discussed here in detail, including a CPU (central processing unit) 124 for processing data, an I/O (input/output) bus 126 for communication with various computer components, a microphone 128, a speaker 130, audio circuitry 132 for applications requiring sound processing, and a PC controller 134 which acts as the interface between the 68-pin connector 122 and the I/O bus 126. The PC module 50 also contains well-known standard components including a microcontroller 136 for controlling and coordinating the electrical devices within a PC card, audio circuitry 140 which includes a standard audio signal processor as part of the circuitry of the cellular radio 52 of FIG. 5 in a standard fashion, and address inputs 142 which are used by the addressing circuitry (not shown) for performing normal PC card functions, such • as accessing memory or registers in the PC module 50.

To modify the standard PC interface, the present invention adds to the notebook computer 80 a notebook switch 144, a pair of audio- out lines 150 and 152, and a pair audio-in lines 154 and 156. In addition, amplifiers 158 and 160 are included in the audio circuitry 132 for increasing signal strength of the audio lines 150 through 156. Similarly, the present invention adds to the PC module 50 a module switch 146, a pair of module audio-in lines 162 and 164, and a pair of module audio-out lines 166 and 168. A serial communications controller 138 is also added to the PC module 50 for controlling external digital serial communications through the customized PC interface when the PC module 50 is docked in the handset 60 (FIG. 5), as discussed below. The switches 144 and 146, and the audio lines 150 through 156, and 162 through 168, function to modify the pin assignments of the pins designated as 49, 50, 51 , 52, 53, and 54 on the PC 68-pin connector 122. As described here, the 68-pin connector 122 is the single unit formed when the 68-pin female connector 59 of the PC module 50 is mated with the 68-pin male connector of the PC slot 81. In an unmodified PC card, pins 49 through 54 extend from the 68-pin connector 122 to connect directly to lines A20 through A25 of the PC controller 134, and to lines A20 through A25 of the address inputs 142 of the PC card 50. In accordance with the present invention, switches 1 , 2, 3 and 4 of the notebook computer 80 reassign pins 51 , 52, 53 and 54 of the standard PC interface to audio lines 150, 152, 154 and 156. The remaining signal assignments of the 68-pin connector 122 in the notebook computer 80 are connected directly to the PC controller 134 over a standard PC bus 148. Since the notebook switch 144 reassigns pins 51 through 54 using the four analog audio lines 150 through 162, the notebook switch 144 is referred to as providing a four-wire analog interface to the standard digital PC card interface.

In the PC module 50, switches 7, 8, 9 and 10 reassign pins 51 , 52, 53 and 54 of the standard PC interface to audio lines 162, 164, 166 and 168. As shown in FIG. 10, pins designated 49 and 50 of the PC connector 122 are also input to the module switch 146. However, pins 49 and 50 are only reassigned by switches 5 and 6 when the PC module 50 is docked in the handset 60 as explained below. Therefore, when the PC module 50 is docked in the notebook computer 80, the PC module 50 also provides a four-wire analog interface to the standard digital PC card interface using the four audio lines 162 through 168.

Upon insertion of the PC module 50 into the slot 81 of the notebook computer 80, the notebook computer 80 is in default mode and the PC module 50 appears to the CPU 124 as a standard PC card. The CPU 124 activates a standard CPU VCC (power line) 170 which supplies power to the PC module 50 over pins 17 and 51 (not shown) and Pin 18. After the PC module 50 senses that power is applied to Pin 18, the PC module 50 resets to default mode. As shown in FIG. 10, in the default mode switches 1 , 2, 3 and 4 of the notebook switch 144 are positioned (vertically) to connect pins 51 , 52, 53 and 54 of the 68-pin connector 122 to lines A22, A23, A24 and A25 of the PC controller 134 according to PC card standards. Switches 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10 of the module switch 146 are positioned (to the right) to connect pins 49, 50, 51 , 52, 53 and 54 to lines A20, A21 , A22, A23, A24 and A25 of the address inputs 142, also according to PC card standards. At this point, the notebook audio lines 150, 152, 154 and 156, and the module audio lines 162, 164, 166 and 168 are isolated. After the PC module 50 receives power, the CPU 124 and the PC module 50 then begin a standard PC configuration protocol. The CPU 124 determines whether or not the PC module 50 is compatible for audio operation by reading a PC standard card information structure (CIS) from the PC module 50. The CIS is a data structure included in PC cards that informs a CPU of the specific requirements of the particular PC card. The CIS included in the microcontroller 136 of the PC module 50 informs the CPU 124 that the PC module 50 is a cellular modem card requiring an audio interface. Through the CIS and ensuing dialogue, the CPU 124 and the microcontroller 136 of the PC module 50 agree to enter into audio mode by reconfiguring the PC interface.

Audio mode begins in the notebook computer 80 when the CPU 124 instructs the PC controller 134 to reconfigure the PC interface by repositioning the notebook switch 144. The PC controller 134 responds by activating a switch control line 172 which repositions the notebook switch 144. At the same time, audio mode begins in the PC module 50 when the microcontroller 136 reconfigures the PC interface by activating a switch control line 174 to reposition the notebook switch 144.

FIG. 11 is a circuit diagram of the notebook computer 80 and the PC module 50 in the audio mode. In the audio mode, switches 1 and 2 of the notebook switch 144 are positioned (to the right) to reassign pins 51 , and 52 of the 68-pin connector 122 to the audio-out lines 150 and 152 of the audio circuitry 132. Similarly, switches 3 and 4 of the notebook switch 144 are positioned to reassign pins 53 and 54 of the 68-pin connector 122 to the audio-in lines 154 and 156 of the audio circuitry 132. In the PC module 50, switches 7 and 8 of the notebook switch 144 are positioned (to the left) to reassign pins 51 , and 52 of the 68-pin connector 122 to the audio-in lines 162 and 164 to the audio circuitry 140. Switches 9 and 10 of the notebook switch 144 are positioned to reassign pins 53 and 54 of the 68-pin connector 122 to the audio-out lines 166 and 168 of the audio circuitry 132. The audio interface of the present invention enables analog bidirectional communication between the PC module 50 and the audio circuitry 132 of the notebook computer 80. The voice capability provided by the audio interface may be used by a host computer to implement speakerphone and voice applications through the speaker 130 and microphone 128 as long as a host computer includes the switch 144 and the audio lines 150 through 156 of the analog interface as described herein. During a telephone conversation, audio signals received over the air by the cellular radio 52 (FIG. 4) of the PC module 50 are processed by the audio circuitry 140 of the PC module 50 and then transmitted over the audio-out lines 166 and 168 to the audio-in lines 154 and 156 of the notebook computer 80 through pins 53 and 54 of the 68-pin connector 122. The audio signals are then processed by the audio circuitry 132 and transmitted to the speaker 130 of the notebook computer 80. Signals received from the notebook 80 user over the microphone 128 are processed by the audio circuitry 132 of the notebook computer 80 and transmitted over audio-out lines 150 and 152 to the audio-in lines 162 and 164 of the PC module 50 using pins 51 and 52 of the 68-pin connector 122. The signals are processed by the audio circuitry 140 and then broadcast to their destinations over the cellular radio 52.

FIGS. 12 and 13 illustrate the analog interface of the PC module 50 when it is docked in the handset 60. FIG. 12 illustrates the analog interface of the PC module in the default mode while FIG. 13 illustrates the analog interface of the PC module 50 in normal audio mode. The handset 60 includes the display 64 (not shown), the keyboard 66, the microphone 70, and the speaker 68 of the handset (see FIG. 5). The handset also includes a display driver 204 to operate the display 64, a serial communication controller 202, and a microcontroller 200 for controlling the operation of the display driver 204 and the keyboard 66 through an address/data bus 206.

In the handset 60, pins 49 and 50 of the 68-pin interface are connected directly to the serial communications controller 202 while pins 51 and 52 are connected directly to the microphone 70 through amplifiers 210 and 212, and pins 53 and 54 are connected directly to the speaker 68 through amplifier 214. These direct connections eliminate the need for a switch as used in the notebook computer 80. Both the serial communications controller 202 in the handset 60 and the serial communications controller 138 in the PC module 50 control digital serial communications through the 68-pin connector 122. The use of the serial communications controllers 202 and 138 are required to enable the exchange of digital data and control signals between the handset microcontroller 200 and the microcontroller 136 in the PC module 50. The use of the serial communications controller 138 is not required when the PC module 50 is docked in the notebook computer 80 (see FIG. 10) because the CPU 124 communicates with PC module 50 using the digital PC bus 148 of FIG. 10. The microcontroller 136 of the PC module 50 communicates with the serial communications controller 138, the audio circuitry 140, and the address inputs 142 through a standard a PC module bus (not shown).

Upon insertion of the PC module 50 into the slot 62 of the handset 60, the PC module 50 is in default mode. As shown in FIG. 12, switches 5 through 10 of the module switch 146 are positioned (to the right) to assign pins 49 through 54 to address lines A20 through A25 of the address inputs 142 according to PC card standards, as explained above. The handset 60 provides power to the PC module 50 through pins 17 and 51 (not shown) and applies a ground 208 to Pin 18 of the 68-pin connector 122. Through the ground 208 applied to Pin 18, the microcontroller 136 determines that the PC module 50 is inserted into the handset 60 and that audio mode is required. After detecting the ground 208 on Pin 18, the PC module microcontroller 136 begins the audio mode by activating the switch control line 174 to reposition switches 5 through 10 of the notebook switch 136. As shown in FIG. 13, switches 7 and 8 of the notebook switch 144 are positioned (to the left) to reassign pins 51 , and 52 of the 68-pin connector 122 to the audio-in lines 162 and 164 to the audio circuitry 140. Switches 9 and 10 of the notebook switch 144 are positioned to reassign pins 53 and 54 of the 68-pin connector 122 to the audio-out lines 166 and 168 of the audio circuitry 132 (just as when the PC module 50 is docked in the notebook computer 80). In addition, switch 5 of the notebook switch 144 reassign pins 49 to a standard transmit data (TxD) line, and switch 6 of the notebook switch 144 reassigns pin 50 to a standard receive data (RxD) line of the analog interface. Reassigning pins 49 and 50 of the 68-pin connector 122 to the TxD and RxD lines enable the serial communication controller 138 of the PC module 50 to transmit and receive control and data signals with the serial communications controller 202 of the notebook computer 80.

After the switch 146 is repositioned, as shown in FIG. 13, analog signals received over the cellular radio 52 (see FIG. 4) are transmitted to the speaker 68 of the handset 60 through lines 166 and 168, and analog signals received by the microphone 70 of the handset 60 are transmitted to the cellular radio 52 of the module 50 through lines 162 and 164. This enables analog voice conversations through handset 60 using the PC module 50.

In summary, a cellular-based communication system has been disclosed comprising a handheld telephone handset containing a PC slot, and a PC card containing wireless telephone electronics that provides cellular usage to both a notebook computer and the handset using a single subscription and telephone number. The present invention has been described in terms of a preferred embodiment wherein the PC module 50 is a PCMCIA card. In addition to the standards above, a PC module could be provided that is compatible with the Cellular Digital Packet Data (CDPD) standard or the European Group Special Mobile (GSM) cellular standard, and the analog modem could be upgraded to a CCITT V.34 (Vfast) standard modem. Applications similar to wireless cellular technology could also be developed on a PC Type III card in order to accommodate emerging markets such as digital cordless phones for office and short range public applications, for example.

The invention, however, is not limited to the embodiment depicted and described. Rather, the scope of the invention is defined by the appended claims.

Claims

WHAT IS CLAIMED IS:
1. A PC card radio communications system, comprising: a PC module including a radio and an analog facsimile and data modem; a computer including a first PC card slot, a first microphone, and a first speaker; a handset including a second PC card slot, a second microphone, a second speaker, and a keyboard; and said PC module further including means for providing voice, and analog facsimile and data capability to said computer when said PC module is disposed in said first PC card slot of said computer, and means for providing voice capability to said handset when said PC module is disposed in said second PC card slot of said handset.
2. A PC card radio communications system as in Claim 1 wherein said computer further includes a power supply and wherein said handset includes a battery; and when said PC module is disposed in said first PC card slot of said computer, said PC module is powered by said power supply, and when said PC module is disposed in said second PC card slot of said handset, said PC module is powered by said battery in said handset.
3. A PC card radio communications system as in Claim 2 wherein said PC module further includes means for providing voice capability to said handset when said PC module is disposed in said first PC card slot of said computer.
4. A PC card radio communications system as in Claim 3 wherein said PC module further includes means for connecting said PC module to a standard telephone wall jack when said PC module is disposed in said first PC card slot of said computer to establish direct communications over telephone lines rather than establishing communications over said radio of said PC module.
5. A PC card radio communications system as in Claim 4 wherein said radio is a cellular radio which is compliant with the analog AMPS standard.
6. A PC card radio communications system as in Claim 5 wherein said PC module is a PCMCIA Type III card, and said first and second PC card slots are PCMCIA Type III slots.
7. A cellular-based communication system including a computer having a first slot, said system comprising: a handset including a microphone, a speaker, a keyboard, a battery, and a second slot; and PC card means for providing cellular voice and data communications from said computer when said PC card means is disposed in said first slot of said computer, and for providing cellular voice communications from said handset when said PC card means is disposed in said second slot of said handset.
8. A cellular-based communication system as in Claim 7 wherein said PC card means is a PCMCIA Type III card including hardware and software interfaces compliant with PCMCIA standard 2.1.
9. A cellular-based communication system as is Claim 8 wherein said first and second slots are PCMCIA Type III slots.
10. A PC card radio-based telephone apparatus comprising: a handset including a display, a microphone, a speaker, a plurality of control buttons, a battery, and a slot for receiving a PC card; a PC module disposed in said slot in said handset, said PC module including a radio and antenna, and means for receiving power from said battery, and means for providing voice communications to said handset through said radio and antenna.
1 1 . A PC card radio-based telephone apparatus, comprising: a computer including a display, a microphone, a speaker, a plurality of control buttons, a power supply, and a slot for receiving a
PC card; a PC module disposed in said slot in said computer, said PC module including a radio and antenna, and means for receiving power from said power supply, and means for providing voice communications to said computer through said radio and antenna.
12. A PC card for providing wireless communication to an electronic device including a microphone and speaker, said PC card communicating with said electronic device through a digital PC interface, said PC card comprising: a radio; an antenna for transmitting signals from said radio and receiving signals for said radio; and means coupled to said radio for exchanging bi-directional analog signals with said electronic device through said PC interface, thereby providing voice capability to said electronic device.
13. A PC card as recited in claim 1 further including an analog modem for facsimile and data communications.
14. A PC card as recited in claim 2 wherein said electronic device is a computer equipped with a PC slot and wherein said PC card is removeably insertable into said slot.
15. A PC card as recited in claim 1 wherein said electronic device is a handheld telephone sleeve equipped with a PC slot and wherein said PC card is removeably insertable into said slot.
PCT/US1995/007796 1994-06-16 1995-06-15 A pc card cellular-based communication system WO1995034958A1 (en)

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US26077394 true 1994-06-16 1994-06-16
US08/260,773 1994-06-16

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WO1998020622A1 (en) * 1996-11-01 1998-05-14 Ericsson Inc. Modular radiotelephone
US5832371A (en) * 1996-11-01 1998-11-03 Ericsson, Inc. Modular radiotelephone
WO1998040976A3 (en) * 1997-03-07 1998-12-03 Dosch & Amand Gmbh & Co Kg Device and method for dect-standard cordless communication
WO1998040976A2 (en) * 1997-03-07 1998-09-17 Dosch & Amand Gmbh & Co. Kg Device and method for dect-standard cordless communication
US6584510B2 (en) 1997-04-23 2003-06-24 Nokia Mobile Phones Ltd. Computer and a method of operating a computer
EP0887987A2 (en) * 1997-06-24 1998-12-30 Kunihiko Koike Telephone transmitting/receiving unit and mobile communication terminal
JPH1117790A (en) * 1997-06-24 1999-01-22 Kunihiko Koike Telephone transmission/reception unit and mobile communication terminal
EP0887987A3 (en) * 1997-06-24 2001-10-04 Kunihiko Koike Telephone transmitting/receiving unit and mobile communication terminal
WO1999002002A1 (en) * 1997-07-03 1999-01-14 Dosch & Amand Gmbh & Co. Kg Plug-in telecommunication card
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EP0918399A1 (en) * 1997-11-14 1999-05-26 Option International Telecommunications card
EP0919931A2 (en) * 1997-12-01 1999-06-02 Nokia Mobile Phones Ltd. Method for transmitting a digital audio signal
US6202109B1 (en) 1997-12-01 2001-03-13 Nokia Mobile Phones Limited Method for transmitting a digital audio signal
EP0919931A3 (en) * 1997-12-01 2000-08-30 Nokia Mobile Phones Ltd. Method for transmitting a digital audio signal
FR2781105A1 (en) * 1998-07-07 2000-01-14 France Telecom Mobile network system for temporary connection to a fixed information system
WO2000002352A1 (en) * 1998-07-07 2000-01-13 France Telecom Network mobile system for temporary connection to fixed information system
US6101398A (en) * 1998-08-26 2000-08-08 Telefonaktiebolaget Lm Ericsson System supporting data/fax connection with a dual mode mobile telephone
WO2000014644A1 (en) * 1998-09-08 2000-03-16 Telefonaktiebolaget Lm Ericsson (Publ) Multiple uses of pcmcia interfaces
US6845249B1 (en) * 1999-05-24 2005-01-18 Sierra Wireless, Inc. Analog test output switchably connected to PCMCIA connector pin
US6970725B1 (en) 1999-07-27 2005-11-29 Siemens Aktiengesellschaft Radio communication device comprising a power extraction unit
WO2001008363A1 (en) * 1999-07-27 2001-02-01 Siemens Aktiengesellschaft Radio communication device comprising a power extraction unit
WO2001026342A2 (en) * 1999-10-06 2001-04-12 Siemens Aktiengesellschaft Telecommunications module
WO2001026342A3 (en) * 1999-10-06 2002-01-17 Siemens Ag Telecommunications module
FR2805115A1 (en) * 2000-02-11 2001-08-17 France Telecom Plug in electronics apparatus universal telecommunications module having high quantity production processor/radio wave receiver/voice coder and memory card with subscriber identity with amplifier antenna delivering.
WO2002060079A1 (en) * 2000-12-22 2002-08-01 Ubinetics Limited Wireless pc card assembly
US7593723B2 (en) 2001-05-10 2009-09-22 Rony Zarom Modular personal device system
WO2002091212A2 (en) * 2001-05-10 2002-11-14 Decima Ventures Ltd. Modular personal device system
WO2002091212A3 (en) * 2001-05-10 2004-04-08 Decima Ventures Ltd Modular personal device system
US9319516B2 (en) 2001-06-27 2016-04-19 Skky, Llc Media delivery platform
US9219810B2 (en) 2001-06-27 2015-12-22 Skky Incorporated Media delivery platform
US9037502B2 (en) 2001-06-27 2015-05-19 Skky Incorporated Media delivery platform
US9118693B2 (en) 2001-06-27 2015-08-25 Skky Incorporated Media delivery platform
US9124718B2 (en) 2001-06-27 2015-09-01 Skky Incorporated Media delivery platform
US9124717B2 (en) 2001-06-27 2015-09-01 Skky Incorporated Media delivery platform
US9203956B2 (en) 2001-06-27 2015-12-01 Skky Incorporated Media delivery platform
US9203870B2 (en) 2001-06-27 2015-12-01 Skky Incorporated Media delivery platform
US9215310B2 (en) 2001-06-27 2015-12-15 Skky Incorporated Media delivery platform
US7668231B2 (en) 2001-08-22 2010-02-23 Sierra Wireless, Inc. Modular data device
WO2003019916A1 (en) * 2001-08-22 2003-03-06 Sierra Wireless, Inc. Modular data device

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