WO1997044946A1 - Portable data terminal - Google Patents

Portable data terminal Download PDF

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Publication number
WO1997044946A1
WO1997044946A1 PCT/GB1997/001214 GB9701214W WO9744946A1 WO 1997044946 A1 WO1997044946 A1 WO 1997044946A1 GB 9701214 W GB9701214 W GB 9701214W WO 9744946 A1 WO9744946 A1 WO 9744946A1
Authority
WO
WIPO (PCT)
Prior art keywords
data
display apparatus
portable
keyboard
data input
Prior art date
Application number
PCT/GB1997/001214
Other languages
French (fr)
Inventor
Bruce Kelly Jackson
Geoffrey Hugh Roper
Original Assignee
Hugh Symons Group Plc
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
Priority to GBGB9609431.3A priority Critical patent/GB9609431D0/en
Priority to GB9609431.3 priority
Application filed by Hugh Symons Group Plc filed Critical Hugh Symons Group Plc
Publication of WO1997044946A1 publication Critical patent/WO1997044946A1/en

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
    • G06F1/1615Constructional details or arrangements for portable computers with several enclosures having relative motions, each enclosure supporting at least one I/O or computing function
    • G06F1/1616Constructional details or arrangements for portable computers with several enclosures having relative motions, each enclosure supporting at least one I/O or computing function with folding flat displays, e.g. laptop computers or notebooks having a clamshell configuration, with body parts pivoting to an open position around an axis parallel to the plane they define in closed position
    • 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
    • G06F1/1662Details related to the integrated keyboard
    • 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
    • G06F1/1684Constructional details or arrangements related to integrated I/O peripherals not covered by groups G06F1/1635 - G06F1/1675
    • G06F1/169Constructional details or arrangements related to integrated I/O peripherals not covered by groups G06F1/1635 - G06F1/1675 the I/O peripheral being an integrated pointing device, e.g. trackball in the palm rest area, mini-joystick integrated between keyboard keys, touch pads or touch stripes
    • G06F1/1692Constructional details or arrangements related to integrated I/O peripherals not covered by groups G06F1/1635 - G06F1/1675 the I/O peripheral being an integrated pointing device, e.g. trackball in the palm rest area, mini-joystick integrated between keyboard keys, touch pads or touch stripes the I/O peripheral being a secondary touch screen used as control interface, e.g. virtual buttons or sliders
    • GPHYSICS
    • G06COMPUTING; CALCULATING; COUNTING
    • G06FELECTRIC DIGITAL DATA PROCESSING
    • G06F3/00Input arrangements for transferring data to be processed into a form capable of being handled by the computer; Output arrangements for transferring data from processing unit to output unit, e.g. interface arrangements
    • G06F3/01Input arrangements or combined input and output arrangements for interaction between user and computer
    • G06F3/02Input arrangements using manually operated switches, e.g. using keyboards or dials
    • G06F3/023Arrangements for converting discrete items of information into a coded form, e.g. arrangements for interpreting keyboard generated codes as alphanumeric codes, operand codes or instruction codes
    • G06F3/0238Programmable keyboards

Abstract

The apparatus has a LCD display unit (1) and a keyboard (2). Within its case (3), adjacent the edge of the display unit (1), it incorporates a cellular telephone aerial (4), with an aerial drive circuit (5) mounted beneath the keyboard. With the circuit (5) is also mounted a processor board (6) and a battery pack (7). Also provided on the board is an 8 Megabyte ROM chip (9) and a 4 Megabyte RAM chip (10). Embedded as firmware in the ROM chip is operating software. The keyboard (2) comprises a plurality of dedicated keys (21) such as cursor movement keys and a touch sensitive display device (22). The latter displays keys and their significations. When the area of the screen represented by a key is touched, the device (22) inputs to the processor (8) an input having the signification of the key. The firmware controls the signification in accordance with the function for which the apparatus is being used.

Description

PORTABLE DATA TERMINAL

The present invention relates to a method and apparatus for data processing.

It is well known to transmit data via the public telephone system. For this a pair of computers are each equipped with a modem enabling them to be directly connected for data transfer via a telephone line, which may include a radio link. Recently, portable computers, typically battery powered, have been equipped with "data cards", enabling them to communicate via a cellular telephone to a base station computer Whilst such a system is capable of sophisticated functions, it is generally utilised for functions which do not require the extent of computing power provided by a typical portable computer Such functions include providing quotations for financial services.

The object of the present invention is to provide cheaper apparatus able to perform functions analogous to those for which a portable computer and cellular telephone are used.

The invention employs a portable, low-capability data processor communicating via a cellular telephone link to a base station, high-capability data processor. It is important to note that the "low-capability data processor" is likely to be of low capability not so much as a result of its microprocessor chip's inherent capability, but because of the low capability of the hardware devices associated with the microprocessor, in particular the lack of disk memory, and/or the low capability of the microprocessor's firmware

According to a first aspect of the invention there is provided portable, data input and display apparatus comprising: a visual display unit, a keyboard, a telephone unit and a processor adapted to drive the visual display unit and the keyboard and control the telephone unit, without having the capability to perform substantive data processing functions, the processor being so programmed that data entered via the keyboard is caused by the processor to be transmitted via the telephone unit for remote processing in accordance with a substantive data processing function and that a result of the remote processing is returned to the apparatus via the telephone unit and caused to be displayed on the visual display unit.

Normally, the processor will be programmed for minor processing functions without transmission for remote processing, for instance simple arithmetic functions will be performed locally, whereas databases will be stored at the remotely.

Normally the data entered via the keyboard will not be transmitted in raw data form, but will be formatted before transmission. Similarly, the result of the remote processing will be received in a format requiring interpretation prior to display.

According to a second aspect of the invention there is provided a computer system including at least one portable, data input and display apparatus of the first aspect in combination with a base station comprising a computer programmed for performing the substantive data processing function, the computer having random access memory for storage of data and/or software for the substantive data processing function and a modem via which data can be received from the data input and display apparatus for processing and via which a result of the processing can be returned to the data input and display apparatus.

The base station computer may be a desk top computer equipped with hard disk memory. Alternatively, it may be a mainframe computer equipped with equivalent non-volatile memory.

According a further aspect of the invention there is provided a method of data processing consisting in the steps of: inputting data via its keyboard to a data input and display apparatus of the first aspect in a computer system of the second aspect of the invention, transmitting the data to the base station computer, processing the data on the base station computer, returning a result of the processing of the said apparatus of the first aspect and displaying the result on the visual display unit of the said apparatus

Normally the input data will be processed to a format convenient for transmission before actual transmission, and the result will be interpreted by the data input and display apparatus prior to display

It can be envisaged that the said apparatus of the first aspect of the invention may be dedicated to a single data processing function In this case, its processor or an associated ROM would have embedded software oi "firmware" dedicated to the single function by having the capability to display at least one page on the visual display unit and to communicate with a base station for processing of data in the single function However, it is envisaged that the apparatus will usually be adapted with appropriate firmware for a plurality of functions Either these may be limited to a selectable number, having appropriate scieens incorporated in the embedded firmware, or the plurality of functions may be unlimited in being able to be selected from those available from the base station In the latter case, particularly where the apparatus is adapted to be able to utilise functions generally available via a data transmission network such as the Internet, the appropriate screens and certain softwaie will be downloaded from the base station to the apparatus However the software will be substantially limited to that necessary to input data to the base station and display the result therefrom

Where the apparatus is dedicated to certain functions, the keyboard may be an overlay keyboard Where the apparatus is dedicated to a single data processing function, the overlay similarly will be dedicated to the single, remote data processing function, preferably as a permanent printed overlay secured to the keyboard Alternatively, particularly where the apparatus is adapted for a plurality of data processing, the keyboard may be a touch-sensitive display, the firmware being adapted to cause the keyboard display to display functions for its touch sensitive regions in accordance with the data processing function concerned. It is however envisaged that the keyboard may be a conventional QWERTY keyboard.

In accordance with one particular embodiment, the visual display unit is separable from the keyboard, each being adapted for communication by wireless means, preferably the DECT transmission protocol. In this embodiment, the processor may be incorporated with the keyboard. Alternatively the processor may be incorporated with the visual display unit.

Whilst it is envisaged that the telephone unit may be a land line modem, it is preferably a radio telephone unit, conveniently of the cellular type.

To help understanding of the invention, a specific embodiment thereof will now be described by way of example and with reference to the accompanying drawing, in which:

Figure 1 is a perspective view of a data input and display apparatus according to the invention;

Figure 2 is a block diagram of the apparatus; Figure 3 is a diagram of the apparatus in use with a base station; Figure 4 is a main menu screen;

Figure 5 is a calculator screen;

Figure 6 is a keyboard layout suitable for use with the calculator screen; Figure 7 is a first diary screen;

Figure 8 is a keyboard layout suitable for use with the first diary screen; Figure 9 is a view similar to Figure 1 of an overlay keyboard for a varied apparatus according to the invention and

Figure 10 is another similar view of another varied apparatus having a separable keyboard and visual display unit.

The apparatus shown in Figure 1 appears similar to a conventional lap top computer in having a LCD display unit 1 and a keyboard 2. Within its case 3, adjacent the edge of the display unit 1, it incorporates a cellular telephone aerial 4, with an aerial drive circuit 5 mounted beneath the keyboard. With the circuit 5 is also mounted a processor board 6 and a battery pack 7. It should be noted that in contrast to a conventional lap top computer, the apparatus has no disk drive.

The processor chip 8 on the board is a Motorola MPC821 PowerPC processor. Also provided on the board is an 8 Megabyte ROM chip 9 and a 4 Megabyte RAM chip 10. Embedded as firmware in the ROM chip is certain software adapting the apparatus to its purpose and Java software written by Sun Microsystems Corporation. The latter software has the advantage of being able to interface with base stations having a variety of operating systems, thereby avoiding the necessity for the apparatus to be specific to base stations utilising a particular operating system.

The keyboard 2 comprises a plurality of dedicated keys 21 such as cursor movement keys and a touch sensitive display device 22. The latter displays keys and their significations. When the area of the screen represented by a key is touched, the device 22 inputs to the processor 8 an input having the signification of the key. The firmware controls the signification in accordance with the function for which the apparatus is being used.

Normally the apparatus's firmware will be adapted to provide the user with a choice of a limited number of functions, for instance dedicated functions such as financial services quotation applications, a diary, an address book, communication by fax & electronic mail and calculator functions. Figure 4 shows these functions as menu choices. If the calculator function is chosen, the LCD display 1 displays a screen showing a result field 51, a memory total field 52 and a main menu reselection field 53, see Figure 5. Simultaneously, certain keys in the keyboard are controlled to be number and operator keys, see Figure 6. Since the processing operations for the calculator function are simple, they are carried out by the processor 8 without the need for co¬ operation with the base station. For other functions, the display and keyboard changes accordingly For instance for the diary function, the display shows a screen having a date field 54 and a series of time and appointments fields 55,56, see Figure 7 The keyboard displays a series of self-explanatory keys, see Figure 8, to enable selection of the date, which causes pages of the diary screen to be scrolled to show appointments When the date has been selected, the keyboard changes to an alphanumeric format whereby appointment text can be entered The actual diary data is stored remotely from the apparatus, as explained in more detail below.

For functions requiring remote processing and/or storage of data, the apparatus is used in combination with a base station computer 1 1 , equipped with a modem 12 for completing a telephone link - involving a land line 13 and a telephone transceiver station 14 - with the drive circuit 5, see Figure 3 The base station computer is programmed with the necessary substantive software and provided with memory for storage of data files associated with the functions for the particular apparatus It should be noted that a plurality of apparatuses of Figure 1 will normally be associated with one base station

In another use of the apparatus, it will be programmed for use with a data transmission network. In this use, it will be able to communicate with an indefinite number of base stations Such stations will offer a wide variety of functions The data input and result display screens for these will not be incorporated in the firmware Rather they will be transmitted to the apparatus on initial selection of such a function A limited amount of software associated with these screens will be transmitted at the same time to allow their use This software is analogous to a "client front end" in a client server network

In use of the apparatus, the action of the user opening it, causes it to switch on and a telephone link to be established with the base station. Then the user is presented with a page on the display unit 1 from which he can choose the function to be used. On selection of this, the next page is specific to the function and is displayed from the embedded firmware. Sufficient data is then input via the keyboard 2 to initiate the function Next, the input data is transmitted to the base station The base station computer processes and/or stores the data and as appropriate returns the result to the apparatus via the telephone link. The result is then caused by the processor to be displayed on the display unit. It will be appreciated that so far as the user is concerned, the apparatus appears to function as a conventional lap top computer. However the computing function is in effect carried out at the remote base station.

Use of the apparatus will now be illustrated in more detail with reference to the example of a diary program. Such a program is essentially a dedicated database program. The firmware information to enable the first diary screen, see Figure 7, further screens for differing presentations of diary information, e.g. by week and month, and the corresponding keyboard displays is stored in ROM chip 9. The diary data is stored as a database on the hard disk of the remote, base station computer 1 1. When the user wishes to view or insert diary data, he chooses the Figure 7 screen and selects the relevant date. This initiates interrogation with the base station computer, which interrogates its hard disk for the particular user's diary data for the date chosen. The data is transmitted to the user and displayed. If the user wishes to edit or add to the data, he does so and on indication that he has finished by use of an "enter" key, the new data is transmitted to the base station and stored. The information is formatted for transmission. For instance, to give a simple example, the date information will be displayed in spelt month form whilst it is transmitted in numeric date form, and indeed returned in numeric form and interpreted back to month form by the apparatus. Since the diary information can run over one year, it will normally be transmitted for a shorter period, such as a month, for instance.

The individual transmissions when explained thus appear very simple, especially since a diary application is in itself simple; other functions are more complex. However, it will of course be understood that considerably more information is required at each transmission, such as the identity of the user, his apparatus, the substantive software used, etc. Each transmission will require to be made in accordance with a defined protocol. The data stream to be transmitted is assembled in the RAM 10. Incoming transmissions are also temporarily stored in the RAM. Further the RAM is used by the microprocessor chip during its processing. It is for these tasks that the RAM requires to be as large as 4 Megabytes. Equally the ROM requires to be 8 Megabytes because since it has stored not only the JAVA operating system, but also a minor amount of software, including screens adapted to display data, associated with each program for which the apparatus is adapted to be used. Thus both the ROM and the RAM perform some functions normally performed in a conventional personal computer by its hard disk.

The invention is not intended to be restricted to the details of the above described embodiment. For instance the telephone link to the base station may be established under control of the user when transmission is required by use of a dedicated switch. The keyboard 2 may be replaced by an overlay keyboard 102, with an overlay 1020 as shown in Figure 9. It comprises an array of switches with a flexible cover. The overlay sheet 1020 has keys and their signification printed on and is arranged over the cover, whereby when the area indicated, for instance, by the numeral 1 is depressed, contact is made at the switch(s) signifying input of the data numeral 1 to the processor.

Further, the keyboard and the display may be separable, as illustrated in Figure 10, where by the keyboard 202 and the display 201 can be set up at respectively ergonomically convenient positions, which is not always possible when they are connected as in a laptop computer. The units are provided with DECT (Digital European Cordless Telecommunication) protocol transceivers. Either unit can be provided with the processor, RAM & ROM and the cellular telephone unit.

Claims

CLAIMS:
1. A portable, data input and display apparatus comprising: a visual display unit, a keyboard, a telephone unit and a processor adapted to drive the visual display unit and the keyboard and control the telephone unit, without having the capability to perform substantive data processing functions, the processor being so programmed that data entered via the keyboard is caused by the processor to be transmitted via the telephone unit for remote processing in accordance with a substantive data processing function and that a result of the remote processing is returned to the apparatus via the telephone unit and caused to be displayed on the visual display unit.
2. A portable, data input and display apparatus as claimed in claim 1, wherein the processor is programmed for minor processing functions without transmission for remote processing.
3. A portable, data input and display apparatus as claimed in claim I or claim 2, wherein the processor is programmed for formatting of entered, input data for transmission and interpretation of a received result which has been remotely formatted.
4. A portable, data input and display apparatus as claimed in claim 1, claim 2 or claim 3, wherein the processor is dedicated to a single, remote data processing function.
5. A portable, data input and display apparatus as claimed in claim 4, wherein the processor or an associated ROM have embedded firmware dedicated to the single function by having the capability to display at least one page on the visual display unit and to communicate with a base station for processing of data in the single function.
6. A portable, data input and display apparatus as claimed in claim 1, claim 2 or claim 3, wherein the processor is programmed with firmware embedded in it or an associated ROM for a plurality of functions.
7. A portable, data input and display apparatus as claimed in claim 6, wherein the plurality of functions is limited to a selectable number, having appropriate screens incorporated in the embedded firmware
8. A portable, data input and display apparatus as claimed in claim 6, wherein the the apparatus is adapted to be able to utilise functions generally available via a data transmission network, the firmware being substantially limited to that necessary to input data to the base station and display the result therefrom, the appropriate screens and certain software being downloaded from the base station to the apparatus.
9 A portable, data input and display apparatus as claimed in any preceding claim, wherein the keyboard is an overlay keyboard.
10 A portable, data input and display apparatus as claimed in claim 9 as appendant to claim 4 or claim 5, wherein the overlay is dedicated to the single, remote data processing function, preferably as a permanent printed overlay secured to the keyboard
1 1 A portable, data input and display apparatus as claimed in claim 9 as appendant to claim 5 or claim 6, wherein the keyboard is a touch-sensitive display, the firmware being adapted to cause the keyboard display to display functions for its touch sensitive regions in accordance with the data processing function concerned.
12. A portable, data input and display apparatus as claimed in any preceding claim, wherein the telephone unit is a radio telephone unit, conveniently of the cellular type
13. A portable, data input and display apparatus as claimed in any preceding claim, wherein the visual display unit is separable from the keyboard, each being adapted for communication by wireless means
14 A portable, data input and display apparatus as claimed in claim 13, where the processor is incorporated with the keyboard
15 A portable, data input and display apparatus as claimed in claim 13, where the processor is incorporated with the visual display unit
16. A portable, data input and display apparatus as claimed in claim 13, claim 14 or claim 15, wherein wireless communication means employs the DECT transmission protocol
17. A computer system including at least one portable, data input and display apparatus according to any preceding claim in combination with a base station comprising a computer programmed for performing the substantive data processing function, the computer having random access memory for storage of data and/or software for the substantive data processing function and a modem via which data can the data input and display apparatus for processing and via which a result of the processing can be returned to the data input and display apparatus.
18. A computer system as claimed in claim 17, wherein the base station computer is a desk top computer equipped with hard disk memory.
19. A computer system as claimed in claim 17, wherein the base station computer is a mainframe computer equipped with equivalent non-volatile memory.
20. A method of data processing consisting in the steps of: inputting data via its keyboard to a data input and display apparatus as claimed in any one of claims 1 to 16 in a computer system of any one of claims 17 to 19, transmitting the data to the base station computer, processing the data on the base station computer, returning a result of the processing of the said data input and display apparatus and displaying the result on the visual display unit of the said apparatus.
21. A method as claimed in claim 20, wherein the input data is formatted for transmission and the result of the remote processing is interpreted prior to display.
PCT/GB1997/001214 1996-05-04 1997-05-02 Portable data terminal WO1997044946A1 (en)

Priority Applications (2)

Application Number Priority Date Filing Date Title
GBGB9609431.3A GB9609431D0 (en) 1996-05-04 1996-05-04 Data processing
GB9609431.3 1996-05-04

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WO1997044946A1 true WO1997044946A1 (en) 1997-11-27

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PCT/GB1997/001214 WO1997044946A1 (en) 1996-05-04 1997-05-02 Portable data terminal

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WO (1) WO1997044946A1 (en)

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EP2685374A4 (en) * 2011-04-15 2014-04-02 Zte Corp Wireless network access terminal and running method thereof
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