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Method and apparatus for displaying previews of stored messages in a data communication receiver

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Publication number
WO1997002525A1
WO1997002525A1 PCT/US1995/008304 US9508304W WO1997002525A1 WO 1997002525 A1 WO1997002525 A1 WO 1997002525A1 US 9508304 W US9508304 W US 9508304W WO 1997002525 A1 WO1997002525 A1 WO 1997002525A1
Authority
WO
Grant status
Application
Patent type
Prior art keywords
message
messages
stored
display
user
Prior art date
Application number
PCT/US1995/008304
Other languages
French (fr)
Inventor
Rami C. Levy
Randi Faris
Charles Mellone
Original Assignee
Motorola 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

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Classifications

    • GPHYSICS
    • G08SIGNALLING
    • G08BSIGNALLING OR CALLING SYSTEMS; ORDER TELEGRAPHS; ALARM SYSTEMS
    • G08B5/00Visible signalling systems, e.g. personal calling systems, remote indication of seats occupied
    • G08B5/22Visible signalling systems, e.g. personal calling systems, remote indication of seats occupied using electric transmission; using electromagnetic transmission
    • G08B5/222Personal calling arrangements or devices, i.e. paging systems
    • G08B5/223Personal calling arrangements or devices, i.e. paging systems using wireless transmission
    • G08B5/224Paging receivers with visible signalling details
    • G08B5/227Paging receivers with visible signalling details with call or message storage means

Abstract

A data communication receiver (100) includes a display (140) for displaying information, a memory (120, 125) for storing messages, and controls (145) for receiving a user input indicating that previews of the messages are to be displayed. A controller (115) provides a portion of a first stored message to the display (140) for presentation on a predetermined region, such as a single line, of the display (140) and subsequently provides a portion of a second stored message to the display (140) for presentation on the single line of the display (140). Alternatively, subjects, rather than portions of message text, for each of the first and second messages can be provided to the display (140) for display on the single line of the diplay (140).

Description

METHOD AND APPARATUS FOR DISPLAYING PREVIEWS OF STORED MESSAGES IN A DATA COMMUNICATION RECEIVER

Field of the Invention

This invention relates in general to data communication receivers, and more specifically to the display of message information in a data communication receiver.

Background of the Invention

Data communication receivers, e.g., pagers, are commonly carried by persons who desire to receive messages when away from a computer or telephone. A message received by a pager is typically stored in memory, after which it is presented to the user either automatically in response to message reception or manually in response to user inputs. Once stored in the pager, the message can also usually be retrieved and presented to the user at a later time. This is generally accomplished by retrieving and presenting each message to the user until the user has located the message which he desires to read.

Over recent years, however, pager memories have been expanded so that pagers are able to store large numbers of messages. Therefore, a user who desires to locate a particular message often must read a large number of messages before locating the desired one. Furthermore, some or all of the stored messages may be quite lengthy so that they cannot be retrieved, displayed, and read by the user quickly. As a result, the user may have difficulty locating a particular stored message for presentation when many messages have been received because, in such a situation, the user is forced to individually scroll through all of the stored messages in a tedious and time-consuming operation. Locating a particular stored message therefore can both waste time and inconvenience a user whose pager has received many messages.

Thus, what is needed is a method and apparatus for locating a particular stored message without having to read each message in its entirety. Summary of the Invention

According to an aspect of the present invention, a data communication receiver includes a display for displaying information, a memory for storing messages, and controls for receiving a user input indicating that previews of the messages are to be displayed. A controller provides a portion of a first stored message to the display for presentation on a predetermined region of the display and subsequently provides a portion of a second stored message to the display for presentation on the predetermined region of the display. Alternatively, subjects, rather than portions of message text, for each of the first and second messages can be provided to the display for display on the predetermined region of the display.

According to another aspect of the present invention, a method for displaying portions of stored messages in a data communication receiver comprises the steps of receiving a user input indicating that previews of the stored messages are to be displayed and displaying a portion of a first of the stored messages, wherein the portion of the first of the stored messages can be displayed on a predetermined region of a display. Subsequent to the displaying step, a portion of a second of the stored messages is presented on the predetermined region of the display. Alternatively, subjects of the first and second stored messages can be displayed during the message previews.

Brief Description of the Drawings

FIG. 1 is an electrical block diagram of a data communication receiver for displaying message previews in accordance with the present invention. FIG. 2 is an illustration of the display of icons representing stored messages of a particular type by the data communication receiver of FIG. 1 in accordance with the present invention.

FIG. 3 depicts the preview of a first message of a first type stored by the data communication receiver of FIG. 1 in accordance with the present invention.

FIG. 4 illustrates the preview of a first message of a first type stored by the data communication receiver of FIG. 1 as well as the preview of status information associated with the first message in accordance with the present invention.

FIG. 5 is an illustration of the preview of a second message of a first type stored by the data communication receiver of FIG. 1 in accordance with the present invention.

FIG. 6 illustrates the preview of a third message of a first type stored by the data communication receiver of FIG. 1 in accordance with the present invention.

FIG. 7 illustrates the display of status information about stored messages on a first display line while displaying a preview of a third message of the first type stored by the data communication receiver of FIG. 1 in accordance with the present invention.

FIG. 8 depicts the display of icons representing stored messages of a second type by the data communication receiver of FIG. 1 in accordance with the present invention.

FIG. 9 depicts the preview of a message of the second type by the data communication receiver of FIG. 1 in accordance with the present invention.

FIG. 10 is a flowchart of the preview operation of the data communication receiver of FIG. 1 in accordance with the present invention.

Description of a Preferred Embodiment

FIG. 1 is an electrical block diagram of a data communication receiver, e.g., pager 100, for providing a user with message previews in accordance with the present invention. The pager 100 comprises an antenna 105 for receiving radio frequency signals and a receiver 110 for demodulating the radio frequency signals to generate a stream of data. The data is subsequently processed by a controller 115 coupled to the receiver 110 for controlling the operation of the pager 100 and for recovering messages from the data.

In accordance with the present invention, the pager 100 receives two different types of message. A first type of message is a "personal" message that can be sent, for example, by calling a terminal (not shown) and providing the terminal with an address associated with the pager 100 and a message, both of which are encoded and transmitted as a radio frequency signal in a manner known to one of ordinary skill in the art. A second type of conventional message received by the pager 100 is a "mail drop" message that includes information originated by a specialized service to which the user subscribes. For instance, the user can subscribe to financial or sports services to receive up-to-date information relating to those particular subjects. In this manner, the user can conveniently receive stock prices, updates about a particular sporting event, and information relating to other subjects offered by service providers.

The pager 100 preferably includes a personal message memory 120 for storing personal messages, which can, for example, be distinguished from mail drop messages based upon source information included in the received message or a unique pager address included in the received message. Status information about the received personal message can also be stored in the personal message memory 120. Such status information includes time of reception, presentation status, alarm status, and protection status. More specifically, the memory 120 stores information about whether or not the message has been read, i.e., presentation status, whether or not the user has set an alarm time at which the message is to be automatically presented to the user, i.e., alarm status, and whether or not the user has locked the message so that it will not be erased when the memory 120 is full, i.e., protection status.

The pager 100 also includes a mail drop memory 125 for storing received mail drop messages. Status information, such as presentation status and reception time, can be stored as well. Additionally, in accordance with the present invention, the database type of each mail drop message is stored in the mail drop memory 125 to indicate the subject of the mail drop message.

Further included in the pager 100 is a clock 130 for generating time values by which the controller 115 can determine a current time and data both for display to the user and for stamping incoming messages with a reception time. An alert mechanism 135 is coupled to the controller 115 for emitting a sensible alert in response to reception of a message, and a display 140 is coupled to the controller 115 for displaying information, such as messages and times, to the user. User controls 145 are manipulated by the user to retrieve and display a message, to set the time, and to display message previews, as will be explained in greater detail below. Also coupled to the controller 115 is a memory, such as a read only memory (ROM) 150, for storing a pager address, subroutines performed by the controller 115 during pager operation, and, in accordance with the present invention, a number n of characters that can be displayed on a predetermined region, e.g., a single line, of the display 140. A counter 155 coupled to the controller 115 is utilized for performing a message preview subroutine stored in the ROM 150.

In accordance with the present invention, the controller 115, clock 130, ROM 150, personal message memory 120, mail drop memory 125, and counter 155 can be implemented using a microcomputer, such as an MC68HC05, C08, or Cll series manufactured by Motorola, Inc.

Alternatively, the above-mentioned elements can be implemented in hardware for performing the equivalent operations. The antenna 105, receiver 110, controls 145, alert 135, and display 140 are preferably implemented in a manner well known to one of ordinary skill in the art. For conventional message display purposes, the pager 100 preferably operates in either a personal mode, in which icons representing stored personal messages are displayed for easy access by the user, or a mail drop mode, in which icons representing stored mail drop messages are displayed. When, for instance, the pager 100 is in the personal message mode, three icons are displayed across a top line of the display 140, as shown in FIG. 2, to represent the three personal messages stored in the personal message memory 120 (FIG. 1). In this mode, the user can simply manipulate the controls 145 to select an icon, in response to which the message associated with that icon is displayed in a conventional manner. Alternatively, the user can manipulate the controls 145 in a predetermined fashion to indicate that stored personal messages are to be previewed.

During the preview of stored personal messages, only that portion of a personal message that can be presented on a predetermined region, e.g., a single line, of the display 140 is provided to the display 140 so that a user can conveniently scroll through the first line of each personal message to locate a particular personal message. As a result, the user is not forced to read all of the stored personal messages, some of which might be quite lengthy, to locate the desired one. FIG. 3 illustrates the preview of a first of the personal messages stored in the personal message memory 120. As shown, the first 305 of the three displayed icons is highlighted to indicate to the user that the first of three stored personal messages is being previewed. Additionally, the portion of the first stored personal message which can be presented on the bottom line of the display 140 is displayed to the user so that the user can quickly determine the content of the first personal message without having to read the entire message.

As shown in FIG. 4, information in addition to a portion of the message can be displayed during the message preview as well. For example, status information about the previewed message can be displayed on the bottom line of the display 140 to inform the user of other pertinent information. It will be appreciated, however, that fewer characters of the previewed message can be displayed when status information, such as reception time, is displayed during the preview.

Referring next to FIG. 5, the preview of the second stored personal message is depicted. During this preview, the second 505 of the three displayed icons is highlighted to indicate to the user that a portion of the second stored personal message is being displayed on the bottom line of the display 140. FIG. 6 illustrates the preview of the third stored personal message. FIG. 6 further illustrates the display of status information associated with the third personal message on the bottom line of the display 140. The time displayed on the bottom line indicates the reception time of the third personal message, the "bell" icon 605 indicates that the user has set an alarm time for the message, and the "lock" icon 610 indicates that the message has been protected from deletion from the personal message memory 120 (FIG. 1). Alternatively, referring to FIG. 7, status information about stored messages could be displayed on a different predetermined region of the display 140 than that utilized for presentation of the message previews. For instance, status information could be displayed on a top line of the display 140 at the same time the messages are being previewed on the bottom line. As shown, three icons on the top line of the display 140 represent the three stored personal messages. These icons can be utilized to conveniently present at least some of the status information about the three stored personal messages to the user such that valuable space on the bottom line, i.e., the message preview line, is not consumed by icons representative of the status information. By way of example, an icon 620 representative of an unread message can be underlined to indicate that the user has not yet read the message. It will be appreciated that, in other embodiments of the present invention, the icon could be distinguished in another way, such as by blinking, to indicate the unread status of the message. When a stored message has been locked to protect the message from deletion, a "lock" icon 625 can represent the locked message. As shown in FIG. 7, the second icon 620 is underlined to inform the user that the second stored message has not been read, and the third icon 625 is in the form of a lock to indicate that the third message is protected from deletion. Additionally, the icon representative of the currently previewed message is highlighted, as described above, to indicate to the user which of the stored messages is being previewed.

In this manner, status information is conveniently displayed to the user on a line different from that utilized to display the message preview. As a result, the bottom line of the display used for the message preview can accommodate a greater number of message characters so that the user is more likely to grasp the content of the previewed message. The user, therefore, is presented with the maximum number of message characters while, at the same time, status information about the stored messages is related to the user on a different display line. Furthermore, the display of the status information on the top line through use of the message icons allows the user to easily navigate to the different messages based upon the status information.

FIGs. 8 and 9 illustrate the preview of the mail drop messages stored in the mail drop memory 125 (FIG. 1). As shown in FIG. 8, when the pager 100 is in the mail drop mode, icons representative of the stored mail drop messages are displayed near the top of the display 140 to indicate to the user the number of stored mail drop messages. These icons can, for example, be shaped differently from those representing the personal messages such that the user can easily determine the mode in which the pager 100 is currently set. When the user manipulates the controls 145 to begin the preview operation, a first 805 of the icons is highlighted to indicate to the user that a preview of the first mail drop message is being displayed, as shown in FIG. 9. Additionally, in accordance with the present invention, information indicative of the subject of the first mail drop message is presented to the user on the bottom line of the display 140. As shown, the word "financial" is displayed on the bottom line to indicate to the user that the first stored mail drop message includes financial information. By further manipulating the controls 145, the user can continue to display previews of the other stored mail drop messages. In this manner, the user can quickly locate stored mail drop messages pertaining to a particular subject without having to read each received mail drop message. As a result, the particular message can be locate quickly so that the user does not waste time reading messages in which he has no interest.

In conventional pagers, on the other hand, the user must read each message individually to locate a particular message. Such a process, which can be time-consuming and tedious, is not required for the preview of messages stored by the pager 100 in accordance with the present invention. Although the pager 100 has been described as including both a personal message memory 120 and a mail drop memory 125, it will be appreciated that messages of both types can be stored in a single memory and simply flagged to indicate message type. Furthermore, it will be appreciated that the preview operation for different message types could be performed in a mixed manner rather than separately. For example, a list of icons corresponding to all stored messages could be displayed, and the preview of each message, or of the message subject, could occur in an order determined by reception time of each message. Alternatively, a portion of the text of each message, regardless of message type, could be displayed during the message preview. In this way, message text, rather than message subject, would be displayed even for mail drop messages.

Other types of message previews could also be performed by the pager 100. By way of example, the pager 100 could omit prepositions or other short words from a message during message preview so that the user could be presented with a greater amount of more meaningful message information during the preview. The message "The meeting is at 4 p.m. on Monday" could, for instance, be previewed as "meeting 4 p.m. Monday". It will be appreciated that other methods of message preview can be utilized without departing from the teachings herein.

Referring next to FIG. 10, a flowchart depicts an example of the preview operation of the controller 115 (FIG. 1) in accordance with the present invention. At step 902, the controller 115 receives a user input from the controls 145 indicating that stored messages are to be previewed. In response to the user input, at step 904, the controller 115 determines a current pager mode, e.g., personal or mail drop, for performance of the preview subroutine stored in the ROM 150. Additionally, at step 906, the controller 115 determines the number of stored messages of the type indicated by the current pager mode. For example, when the pager 100 is in the mail drop mode, the controller 115 determines the number of stored mail drop messages. When the pager 100 is in the personal message mode, the controller 115 determines the number of stored personal messages in the personal message memory 120. When, at step 908, there are no stored messages in the searched memory, an appropriate message is displayed, at step 910, to indicate to the user that there are no messages of the type indicated by the current pager mode. When stored messages are found in the appropriate memory, the value p stored in the counter 155 is set to "one", i.e., p = 1, at step 912.

Thereafter, at step 914, information is provided to the display 140 to present icons representative of the number of stored messages to the user. At step 916, information is subsequently provided to the display 140 to highlight the pth icon. When, at step 918, the pager 100 is in the personal mode, the controller 115 retrieves, at step 920, the first n characters of the pth message from the personal message memory 120 (FIG. 1), wherein n represents the number of characters that can be displayed on a single line of the display 140. Alternatively, when the pager 100 is in the mail drop mode, the controller 115, at step 922, retrieves n characters of the database type, or subject, associated with the pth mail drop message from the mail drop memory 125. Thereafter, for either message type, the n retrieved characters are provided, at step 924, to the display 140 to form the message preview. It will be appreciated that, in situations where status information is to be displayed on the single display line during the preview, the number of characters provided to the display 140 is reduced to accommodate display of the appropriate status icons and times.

Once the message preview for the pth. message has been displayed, at step 924, the controller 115 waits for reception of a user input indicating that further messages are to be previewed, at step 926, although it will be appreciated that further message previews could occur automatically. When no further user input is received, indicating that the user does not desire further previews, the screen displayed to the user prior to entry into the preview mode is again displayed to the user, at step 928. When, on the other hand, an input is received, at step 926, the controller 115 increments the counter 155, at step 930. Next, at step 932, the controller 115 determines whether the counter value p exceeds the number of stored messages of the current preview type, e.g., mail drop or personal. When p is greater than the number of stored messages, the controller 115 exits the preview mode and returns, at step 928, to the screen previously displayed to the user. When p does not exceed the number of stored messages, operation of the controller 115 resumes at step 916 for the preview of further stored messages.

In summary, the pager as described above utilizes a preview operation to display portions of stored messages to a user. The user can, by manipulation of pager controls, elect to have portions of stored messages presented on a single line of a pager display in order to glance at a preview of each stored message until the desired message is located. When the pager is able to receive mail drop messages pertaining to particular subjects, the subject of stored mail drop messages, rather than a portion of the message text, can be conveniently displayed during the pager preview operation to apprise the user of the subject of a stored message. As a result, the user of the pager in accordance with the present invention can quickly scroll through message previews, rather than lengthy messages, to determine the content of stored messages without having to read each message in its entirety. By now it should be appreciated that there has been provided a method and apparatus for allowing a user to preview stored messages for rapid location of a desired message.

Claims

1. A method for displaying portions of stored messages in a data communication receiver having a display, the method comprising the steps of: receiving a user input indicating that previews of the stored messages are to be displayed; displaying a portion of a first of the stored messages, wherein the portion of the first of the stored messages can be displayed on a first predetermined region of the display; and presenting, subsequent to the displaying step, a portion of a second of the stored messages, wherein the portion of the second of the stored messages can be displayed on the first predetermined region of the display.
2. The method of claim 1, further comprising the steps of: retrieving, prior to the displaying step, the portion of the first of the stored messages from a memory; and retrieving, prior to the presenting step, the portion of the second of the stored messages from the memory.
3. The method of claim 1, further comprising the steps of: determining, in response to the receiving step, a message type further indicated by the user input; selecting the stored messages to be previewed based on the message type indicated by the user input.
4. The method of claim 3, wherein the displaying step comprises the steps of: determining that the first of the stored messages is of the message type; and displaying the portion of the first of the stored messages.
5. The method of claim 3, wherein the presenting step comprises the steps of: determining that the second of the stored messages is of the message type; and presenting the portion of the second of the stored messages.
6. The method of claim 1, further comprising the step of: presenting, substantially coincident with the displaying step, status information about the first of the stored messages on the first predetermined region of the display.
7. The method of claim 1, further comprising the step of: displaying, substantially coincident with the presenting step, status information about the second of the stored messages on the first predetermined region of the display.
8. The method of claim 1, further comprising the step of: presenting, substantially coincident with the displaying step, status information about at least the first of the stored messages on a second predetermined region of the display.
9. The method of claim 1, further comprising the step of: displaying, substantially coincident with the presenting step, status information about at least the second of the stored messages on a second predetermined region of the display.
10. A method for displaying previews of stored messages in a data communication receiver having a display, the method comprising the steps of: receiving a user input indicating that the previews of the stored messages are to be displayed; displaying information indicative of a subject of a first of the stored messages on a first predetermined region of the display; and presenting, subsequent to the displaying step, information indicative of a subject of a second of the stored messages on the first predetermined region of the display.
11. The method of claim 10, further comprising the step of: presenting, substantially coincident with the displaying step, status information about the first of the stored messages on the first predetermined region of the display.
12. The method of claim 10, further comprising the step of: displaying, substantially coincident with the presenting step, status information about the second of the stored messages on the first predetermined region of the display.
13. The method of claim 10, further comprising the step of: presenting, substantially coincident with the displaying step, status information about at least the first of the stored messages on a second predetermined region of the display.
14. The method of claim 10, further comprising the step of: displaying, substantially coincident with the presenting step, status information about at least the second of the stored messages on a second predetermined region of the display.
15. A data communication receiver having a display for displaying information, the data communication receiver comprising: a memory for storing messages; controls for receiving a user input indicating that previews of the messages are to be displayed; and a controller coupled to the memory, the controls, and the display for providing a portion of a first of the messages to the display for presentation on a first predetermined region of the display and for subsequently providing a portion of a second of the messages to the display for presentation on the first predetermined region of the display.
16. The data communication receiver of claim 15, wherein the memory includes: first memory means for storing messages of a first type; and second memory means for storing messages of a second type.
17. The data communication receiver of claim 16, wherein the user input is further indicative of one of the first and second types of messages, and wherein the first and second of the messages are of the one of the first and second types of messages indicated by the user input.
18. The data communication receiver of claim 15, wherein the memory further stores status information for each of the messages stored in the memory.
19. The data communication receiver of claim 18, wherein the controller includes providing means for providing the status information about the first of the messages to the display substantially coincident with providing the portion of the first of the messages to the display.
20. The data communication receiver of claim 18, wherein the controller includes providing means for providing the status information about the first of the messages to the display for presentation on a second predetermined region of the display substantially coincident with providing the portion of the first of the messages to the display for presentation on the first predetermined region of the display.
21. The data communication receiver of claim 18, wherein the controller includes providing means for providing the status information about the second of the messages to the display substantially coincident with providing the portion of the second of the messages to the display.
22. The data communication receiver of claim 18, wherein the controller includes providing means for providing the status information about the second of the messages to the display for presentation on a second predetermined region of the display substantially coincident with providing the portion of the second of the messages to the display for presentation on the first predetermined region of the display.
23. The data communication receiver of claim 15, wherein the first predetermined region of the display comprises a single line of the display.
24. A data communication receiver having a display, the data communication receiver comprising: a memory for storing messages; controls for receiving a user input indicating that previews of the messages are to be displayed; and a controller coupled to the memory, the controls, and the display for providing information relating to a subject of a first of the messages to the display for presentation on a first predetermined region of the display and for subsequently providing information relating to a subject of a second of the messages to the display for presentation on the first predetermined region of the display.
25. The data communication receiver of claim 24, wherein the memory further stores status information for each of the messages, and wherein the status information for one of the messages is provided to the display when information relating to a subject of the one of the messages is provided to the display for presentation on the first predetermined region of the display.
26. The data communication receiver of claim 24, wherein the first predetermined region of the display comprises a single line of the display.
27. The data communication receiver of claim 24, wherein the memory further stores status information for each of the messages, and wherein the status information for one of the messages is provided to the display for presentation on a second predetermined region of the display when information relating to a subject of the one of the messages is provided to the display for presentation on the first predetermined region of the display.
PCT/US1995/008304 1995-07-03 1995-07-03 Method and apparatus for displaying previews of stored messages in a data communication receiver WO1997002525A1 (en)

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