WO2008059254A1 - An information system for mobile telecommunications - Google Patents

An information system for mobile telecommunications

Info

Publication number
WO2008059254A1
WO2008059254A1 PCT/GB2007/004363 GB2007004363W WO2008059254A1 WO 2008059254 A1 WO2008059254 A1 WO 2008059254A1 GB 2007004363 W GB2007004363 W GB 2007004363W WO 2008059254 A1 WO2008059254 A1 WO 2008059254A1
Authority
WO
Grant status
Application
Patent type
Prior art keywords
mobile
user
game
information
games
Prior art date
Application number
PCT/GB2007/004363
Other languages
French (fr)
Inventor
David Brittain
James Davis
Chris Hosking
Max Thornton
Original Assignee
Superscape 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

Links

Classifications

    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04LTRANSMISSION OF DIGITAL INFORMATION, e.g. TELEGRAPHIC COMMUNICATION
    • H04L67/00Network-specific arrangements or communication protocols supporting networked applications
    • H04L67/06Network-specific arrangements or communication protocols supporting networked applications adapted for file transfer, e.g. file transfer protocol [FTP]
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04LTRANSMISSION OF DIGITAL INFORMATION, e.g. TELEGRAPHIC COMMUNICATION
    • H04L67/00Network-specific arrangements or communication protocols supporting networked applications
    • H04L67/20Network-specific arrangements or communication protocols supporting networked applications involving third party service providers
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04LTRANSMISSION OF DIGITAL INFORMATION, e.g. TELEGRAPHIC COMMUNICATION
    • H04L67/00Network-specific arrangements or communication protocols supporting networked applications
    • H04L67/22Tracking the activity of the user
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04LTRANSMISSION OF DIGITAL INFORMATION, e.g. TELEGRAPHIC COMMUNICATION
    • H04L67/00Network-specific arrangements or communication protocols supporting networked applications
    • H04L67/30Network-specific arrangements or communication protocols supporting networked applications involving profiles
    • H04L67/303Terminal profiles

Abstract

An information system provides, via a mobile communications network, a stored information asset to a remotely located mobile telecommunications device (200). The information asset provides information about a downloadable data file. The system comprises determining means for determining the characteristics of the mobile telecommunication device, and identifying means for identifying a downloadable data file which is compatible with the determined characteristics of the mobile telecommunications device (208). The identifying means is arranged to establish a representation of the stored information asset relating to the compatible downloadable data file and the representation is transmittable to the mobile communications device (210). The system further comprises retrieving means, responsive to a user-selection of the transmitted representation, which retrieves the stored information asset for communication to the mobile telecommunications device (216).

Description

An Information System for Mobile Telecommunications

Technical Field

The present invention relates to an information system for mobile telecommunications. The information system is used with mobile telecommunication devices which can be updated with new applications/data files, such as games, via a telecommunications network. More particularly, though not exclusively the present invention relates to an apparatus of the information system which permits selection of additional information, such as trailers, regarding a new application or game which is fully compatible with a mobile telecommunications device, and facilitates updating of the mobile telecommunications device with the selected new application or game with minimum effort and delay.

Backfiround to the Invention

The field of mobile telecommunication devices is continually evolving as user demands and expectations continually increase. The very first mobile telephones, for example, facilitated little more that the making and receiving of telephone calls and text messages, with early devices not even providing a clock. Nowadays, mobile telecommunications devices (hereinafter termed 'mobile devices') are far more sophisticated and include many different applications, stored on the device itself, which increase the functionality of the mobile device. Common features found on mobile devices include a camera, music player with storage for music files (for example, an MP3 player and music tracks), Internet browser, calculator, to name but a few. It is now the norm for a mobile device to include a small number of game applications. However, it is of course possible to add further applications, music files, games etc to the mobile device either by downloading from a computer, other mobile devices, or the Internet.

A significant area in which it is desirable to add functionality to the mobile device is in the area of mobile games. As mobile devices become more sophisticated, so too do the mobile game applications, and the number of games becoming available is continually increasing. In addition, there are a great number of different models (herein after termed handset models) of mobile devices, each with differing specifications. As a result, there is a diverse range in the capabilities of mobile devices, for example, in terms of processing power, screen size, memory, audio capabilities, and battery size and, therefore, life.

In the context of games, due to the diversity in handset models, it is not possible to have one version of each game which is compatible with every handset model. As a result game publishers publish a number of different versions of each game. Some versions may be suitable for one or more handset models, for example, there may be fifty versions of one game covering eighty different handset models. This causes difficulties for network operators in deciding how many of the different published versions to make available.

Considering the method by which additional content, for example games, is downloaded to the mobile device, the most comprehensive source for new games is the Internet, which provides access to a platform where mobile games can be purchased. Furthermore, a user wishing to purchase a game will, in all likeliness, wish to find out more about the game before selecting to purchase it.

There are two known methods, both of which are described further below, by which a user can access additional information regarding a game, and subsequently purchase the game if desired.

A first prior art method comprises a user browsing the Internet using a mobile device in order to find additional information for a game and subsequently purchasing the game. Initially, when a mobile device connects to the Internet, the user is directed to a start page. From there, the user must select a number of links to arrive at a games page, which is hosted by a server also known as an operator deck. From the games page of the operator deck, the user can review different games and select to purchase one or more if desired. The first prior art method is highly disadvantageous because, as described below, the user must go through a great number of steps and navigate through a number of web pages before viewing the games page and being able to buy a game of interest.

In some situations, the user may go through all of those steps only to find that they cannot buy the game of interest because it is not compatible with the specification of their mobile device. For example, it is possible that a relatively old phone and a relatively new phone could be given the option of selecting to view an information page about the same game, Game X. However, when both phones navigate to the Game X's information page, and wait for the page to load, only the new phone may be provided with the option of buying and downloading the game, if Game X is not compatible with the old phone. Other information about Game X, i.e. ring-tones or wallpaper images may be available to the old phone but not Game X itself. This is an inconvenient scenario.

The type of pages a user may have to navigate through include: a start page; a services page; a news page; a ring-tone/wallpaper page; a games page; and/or a 'my games' page. The user has to wait for each new page to load and this takes a noticeable period of time, rendering this method slow and laborious. In addition, due to the nature of the mobile telecommunications environment, the connection to the Internet is susceptible to disruption as a user physically moves between areas with differing signal reception strengths. As a result, when the user navigates through different pages, connection may be lost and the user will not be able to continue navigation until the mobile device reconnects to the Internet. This problem is worse still, if the user is in the process of downloading a game. Clearly, the longer a user needs to stay connected to the Internet in order to download pages the more likely it is that this method will be disrupted. It is desirable, therefore, to minimise the amount of time a mobile phone needs to be connected to the Internet.

Furthermore, the operator typically markets the game with lowest common denominator of marketing information. For example, the type of additional information that is available may be limited to a static image and brief description as, out of a plurality of different devices with differing capabilities; this accords with the display capability of the device with the lowest specification. This level or quality of additional information may not be enough to provide the user with a clear idea of the product for sale. The list of games available may also become out of date because there is a time lag between the time at which new games are published and the time at which network operators update the list of games that are promoted, and available to buy, via the operator deck. This method is inefficient and slow and does not provide a high quality of additional information which would permit a user to make an informed decision regarding the games available for purchase.

In addition, games are available through network operators and third party sources. Depending on the number of different versions that are available through the user's selected game source, the user may not have the option of buying a game they are interested in if their selected game source does not support their mobile phone. However, the game may be available through other sources and yet the user will not know about this. It would be extremely time consuming for a user to have to search through a number of different game sources to find a game of interest.

The second prior art method comprises pre-storing previews for additional games, on the mobile device, within a menu associated with a game (or other application) already stored on the mobile device, i.e. the previews are embedded within a current game and are accessible from the current game's menu. The previews may be animations or videos of the game in question. After the preview is played the user can select a link to purchase the game which connects the mobile device, via the Internet to a requisite 'Virtual Shop' where the purchasing transaction can be completed.

The second prior art method offers some advantages over the first prior art method in that the previews offer better quality information about the game for sale, the game previews can be viewed without disruption caused by low signal strengths, and the method provides a direct link to the 'virtual shop' where the game can be purchased. However, a major disadvantage with this method is that the previews are pre-stored in the mobile device, being accessible through the menu of the current game stored on the mobile device. As a result, only a finite number of previews can be pre-stored on the mobile device and these previews age with the mobile device, becoming out-of- date over time. The present invention aims to overcome at least some of the above-described problems with the known prior art methods.

It is another aim of the invention to provide access to additional information about new applications, such as games, the additional information being of the highest quality matched to the mobile device receiving the information, wherein a mobile device only has access to additional information about new applications or games which are compatible with the mobile device. Another aim of the invention is to provide accurate and up to date information regarding how and where to purchase the new applications or games.

Summary of the Invention

According to a first aspect of the present invention there is provided an information system for providing, via a mobile communications network, a stored information asset to a remotely located mobile telecommunications device, the information asset providing information about a downloadable data file, the system comprising: determining means for determining the characteristics of the mobile telecommunication device; identifying means for identifying a downloadable data file which is compatible with the determined characteristics of the mobile telecommunications device, the identifying means being arranged to establish a representation of the stored information asset relating to the compatible downloadable data file, the representation being transmittable to the mobile communications device; and retrieving means responsive to a user-selection of the transmitted representation, for retrieving the stored information asset for communication to the mobile telecommunications device.

The present invention advantageously offers a way in which a user can access additional information relating to a downloadable data file. Access to the information is faster and easier, and the information itself is of better quality, relating only to a downloadable data file which is compatible with the user's mobile communications device. Preferably, the identifying means is arranged to identify a set of downloadable data files compatible with the determined characteristics of the mobile communications device, and to generate a group of representations corresponding to the set.

In a preferred embodiment, a receiving means is arranged to receive an information request from the mobile telecommunications device for information relating to compatible downloadable data files.

Typically, the receiving means is arranged to receive technical information relating to the characteristics of the mobile telecommunications device.

Preferably, the mobile telecommunications device comprises a screen and the technical information relates to the screen characteristics.

In addition, the mobile telecommunications device preferably comprises an audio output device and the technical information relates to the audio output device characteristics.

In another embodiment, the receiving means is arranged to receive network identifier information about the mobile communications network.

Optionally, the information request comprises a unique identifier relating to the mobile communications device, the unique identifier being previously assigned by the system to mobile telecommunications device.

In a preferred embodiment, the information request comprises a maximum size limitation parameter for determining the maximum number of representations to be sent to the mobile device.

Preferably, the receiving means is arranged to receive a make and model number of the mobile telecommunications device.

In another embodiment, the determining means is arranged to determine make and model of the mobile telecommunications device. Alternatively, the receiving means is arranged to receive type information about the type of the mobile telecommunications device.

Typically, the determining means is arranged to determine a make and model number for the mobile telecommunications device from the received technical infoπnation.

In a preferred embodiment, the identifying means is arranged to identify one or more downloadable data files compatible with the mobile telecommunications device from the determined make and model number.

Typically, the mobile telecommunications device is associated with one of a plurality of networks, the system further comprising network determining means arranged to identify the network to which the mobile telecommunications device is associated.

A plurality of network operators may operate over a single physical communications network infrastructure. Therefore, it is to be appreciated that any references to determining the communications network means determining the communications network and/or network operator.

Preferably, the network determining means is arranged to identify the network from the network identifier information in the information request.

Typically, the mobile telecommunications device is associated with an IP address and the network determining means is arranged to identify the mobile communications network from the IP address.

An IP address database containing IP address to network mappings is provided in a preferred embodiment, and typically the network determining means is arranged to identify the mobile communications network from the IP address database.

In another embodiment, the network determining means is arranged to identify the mobile communications network by means of a reverse DNS operation. In a further preferred embodiment, the identifying means is arranged to identify one or more downloadable data files compatible with the mobile telecommunications device from the determined mobile communications network.

More preferably, the identifying means is arranged to identify whether any downloadable data files, in the group of identified compatible downloadable data files, are already stored on the mobile telecommunications device.

Typically, the identifying means is arranged to identify whether any data files are stored on the mobile telecommunications device from a look-up table or database on the basis of the unique identifier, and the identifying means is arranged to remove the representations corresponding to the identified stored downloadable data files from the group of representations in order to identify a refined group of representations.

In a further preferred embodiment, the system comprises prioritising means arranged to rank the group of representations into a ranked order, wherein the representations, transmittable to the mobile telecommunications device, are displayable in accordance with the ranked order.

According to a preferred embodiment, the prioritising means further comprises scoring means arranged to assign each representation with a score, and wherein the prioritising means is arranged to rank the group of representations into the ranked order in accordance with the assigned scores.

Optionally, the information request comprises an application ID and the scoring means is arranged to score each representation on the basis of the application ID.

Preferably, the scoring means is arranged to score each representation on the basis of the user preferences.

In one embodiment, the scoring means is arranged to receive user-rating information relating to user-rating scores, wherein the scoring means is further arranged to score each representation on the basis of the user-rating information. In a preferred embodiment, the scoring means is arranged to receive buddy-list information relating to downloadable data files already downloaded to mobile telecommunications devices of users in a buddy-list of the user, wherein the scoring means is further arranged to score each representation on the basis of the buddy-list information.

Preferably, the system comprises demographic identifying means arranged to identify a telecommunications device demographic from the make and model number, wherein the scoring means is arranged to score each representation on the basis of the telecommunications device demographic.

More preferably, the demographic identifying means is arranged to identify a network demographic from the communications network, and the scoring means is arranged to score each representation on the basis of the network demographic.

In another embodiment, there is provided condensing means arranged to condense a list of the ranked order such that the number of representations in the list does not exceed the maximum size limitation parameter.

Preferably, there is provided limitation determining means arranged to determine a maximum size limitation parameter regarding the maximum number of representations to be transmitted to the mobile telecommunications device.

More preferably, the information request comprises limitation information regarding the maximum size limitation parameter and wherein the limitation determining means is arranged to determine the maximum size limitation parameter from the limitation information.

Advantageously, the limitation determining means is arranged to determine the limitation information from time- varying characteristics of the mobile telecommunications device, the time varying characteristics being processor availability, memory availability and file system availability. Alternatively, the limitation determining means is arranged to determine the maximum size limitation parameter from a parameter set by the condensing means.

Optionally, the identifying means is arranged to select a representation for each downloadable data file in the identified set from a plurality of composite representations.

Preferably, the identifying means is arranged to generate a representation for each downloadable data file in the identified set as a collection of representation information.

In a preferred embodiment, the system comprises transmission means arranged to transmit the representation to the mobile telecommunications device.

Preferably, the transmission means is further arranged to transmit, upon user-selection of the representation, the stored information asset associated with the selected representation.

More preferably, the representation includes information about the associated downloadable data file.

Advantageously, the representation includes an access link to the associated information asset.

More advantageously, the representation includes an access link to the downloadable data file.

Alternatively, the representation includes an access link to a webpage containing further information relating to the downloadable data file.

Optionally, the list of representation information includes an access link to a webpage containing a further link to the downloadable data file. In a preferred embodiment, the identifying means is arranged to format the representation as a mark-up language file.

In a preferred embodiment, the system further comprises asset matching means arranged to select from a plurality of different versions of information assets relating to the compatible downloadable data file, a version of the information asset which is optimally matched to the mobile telecommunications device.

Optionally, the downloadable data file may be one of: a downloadable game file; a music file; a ring tone music file; and/or a wall paper image file.

Furthermore, the information asset may optionally comprise one or more of: a three- dimensional (3D) animation; a scripted animation; a slideshow of two-dimensional (2D) images; a textual description of the game; audio tracks synchronized to the visuals; an interactive animation or mini-game; and/or a demonstration version of a music file.

In a preferred embodiment, the system further comprises registration means arranged to receive details and preferences of the user of the mobile telecommunications device wherein the details are stored in an associated user database.

Preferably, the preferences of the user of the mobile telecommunications device include one or more preferred genre of downloadable data files.

The system, optionally, may comprise notification means for notifying a registered mobile telecommunications device regarding available information assets in accordance with the preferences of the user.

Preferably, the notification means notifies registered mobile telecommunications devices in accordance with the one or more preferred genre.

In a preferred embodiment, the system further comprises updating means arranged to enable any of the data stores associated with the information system to be updated. Preferably, the updating means is arranged to update an information asset database with newly available information assets relating to newly available downloadable data files.

More preferably, the updating means is arranged to update the associated user database each time a user downloads the downloadable data file.

In a further preferred embodiment, the system comprises tracking means arranged to track and record user selection of a representation for statistical analysis purposes.

Preferably, the tracking means is further arranged to track and record user selection of an access link to or additional information about the downloadable data file for statistical analysis purposes.

According to another aspect of the invention there is provided a mobile communications system comprising the information system claimed in any preceding claim, and at least one mobile telecommunications device.

Preferably, the at least one mobile telecommunications device is arranged to store, in a cache memory, the transmittable list of representations.

More preferably, the at least one mobile telecommunications device is arranged to determine time-varying characteristics of the mobile telecommunications device, the time varying characteristics being processor availability and memory availability.

According to yet another aspect of the invention there is provided a method for providing, via a mobile communications network, a stored information asset to a remotely located mobile telecommunications device, the information asset providing information about a downloadable data file, the method comprising: determining the characteristics of the mobile telecommunication device; identifying a downloadable data file which is compatible with the determined characteristics of the mobile telecommunications device, the identifying step comprising establishing a representation of the stored information asset relating to the compatible downloadable data file, the representation being transmittable to the mobile communications device; and retrieving the stored information asset for communication to the mobile telecommunications device upon user-selection of the transmitted representation.

The present invention advantageously offers a way in which a user, interested in viewing more applications or games, can access an up-to-date information for suitable applications or games, where access to the information is faster and easier, and the information itself is of better quality, relating only to applications or games which are supported by the user's mobile phone and network operator, and which are the highest possible quality for the user's mobile phone based on the device's characteristics. In other words, the present invention advantageously permits the user to access further information about new games and also provides the user with the ability to purchase a new game, which is automatically compatible for their mobile phone, directly with minimal complexity and effort.

Brief Description of Drawings

Preferred embodiments of the invention will now be described, by way of example only, with reference to the accompanying drawings in which:

Figure 1 is a prior art schematic system diagram showing a telecommunications network connecting a mobile communication device to the Internet;

Figure 2 is a flowchart of a prior art method of Internet browsing from a mobile device which permits a user to access additional information regarding games and optionally purchase a selected game;

Figures 3 a to 3 c are schematic screenshots of a prior art mobile device menu system which shows links to additional game information i.e. game previews;

Figure 4 is a schematic system diagram of the present invention showing a promotion service server (PPS) embodying the present invention connecting a mobile communication device via the Internet and a telecommunications network; Figure 5 is a flowchart showing an overview of the operation of an embodiment of the present invention shown in Figure 4;

Figure 6 is a block diagram of four main modules of the PPS of Figure 4 including a network detection module, a handset detection module, a registration module and a selection module, and their associated databases;

Figure 7 is a block diagram of the components found in the selection module in Figure 6;

Figure 8 is an example of a three-dimensional look-up table stored in a game look-up table database as shown in Figure 7;

Figure 9 is a flowchart of the operation steps of a selection logic module shown in Figure 6;

Figures 10a to 10c are a detailed flowchart showing the steps of operation of the embodiment, in particular showing the steps of operation in relation to a "generate list of suitable games"-step-shβwn-in Figure 5; and

Figures 1 Ia to Hd are schematic screenshots exemplifying the present embodiment.

Detailed Description of Preferred Embodiments

Before describing the present embodiments it is useful to understand how the current prior art systems operate. The following passages with reference to Figures 1 to 3 c describe the prior art methods and systems.

Figure 1 shows an overview of the environment of the prior art systems. A mobile telephone 10 communicates with a mobile device base station 12 using well-known radio-communications infrastructure. The mobile device base station 12 is, in turn, connected via a telephone network to other base stations 14 and one or more network operator gateways 16. The telephone network 18 can comprise landlines (hard wired phone lines), high-bandwidth cables, and microwave and satellite links. The telephone network 18 allows connection to other mobile telephones via base stations 12, 14, fixed telephones and fixed computer terminals via gateways 16. Typically, several networks are provided in parallel, each network being run and supported by a specific network operator.

A mobile phone user must subscribe to one of these network operators in order to be able to communicate with other mobile phones 10 or landline telephones. A subscription may be made by way of a monthly contract or by a "pay-as-you-go" system in which a user pays for the service prior to use. Many network operators exist such as Vodafone®, Orange®, O2® etc. Typically, network operators are local to a particular country or geographical area. However, mobile phones 10 can be used worldwide through the affiliation of network operators or global network operators.

As shown in Figure 1, the mobile phone 10 subscribing to a particular network operator, can access, via the gateway 16, a server 20 hosted by that network operator. The gateway 16 may permit access using a direct physical connection or via the Internet 22. The gateway 16 also permits access via the Internet 22 to other servers.

The operation of the prior art networks described above, in relation to the downloading of games, is described in further detail below with reference to Figures 2, 3 a, 3b, and 3 c.

Figure 2 shows the steps of a typical scenario of interactions that a user of a mobile phone 10 may experience when selecting to review new games (games which the user does not currently own) via the Internet 22, in order to select and buy a game of interest.

In step 100, the user, interested in buying a new game, initiates a connection between the mobile phone 10 and the Internet 22. In step 102, the mobile phone 10 waits for a start page to load, and in step 104 the start page is displayed on the mobile phone's screen 105.

The start page is akin to the homepage of the mobile phone 10, i.e. it is the first page which loads each time the mobile phone 10 connects to the Internet 22. The content on the start page is provided by the network operator and provides links to other web pages provided by the network operator. One such link is to a games page, supported by a part of the server known as a game deck (operator deck), which lists all of the games that the network operator can provide. Every user subscribing to a particular network operator is provided with the same operator deck and the same list of games, irrespective of what model their mobile phone 10 handset is.

In step 106, the user scrolls through the start page in order to find the link to the game deck within the start page. In step 108, the mobile phone 10 waits for the selected games page to load, and in step 110 the games page is displayed on the screen 105 of the mobile phone 10.

In step 112, the user scrolls through the list of games in the games page and upon finding a game of interest, the user selects the game in order to view additional information about the selected game. In step 114, the mobile phone 10 waits for the page containing the additional information to load, and this page is displayed on the screen 105 of the mobile phone 10 in step 116.

At this stage, the user may select to buy the selected game in which case they will jump to step 128 (described below). Alternatively, if the user is not interested in the selected game they may wish to go back to the list of games in step 118. The user again has to wait for the games page to load to the mobile phone 10. Eventually, the list of games is displayed again in step 120. The user again scrolls through the list in order to find another game of interest and selects a different game (second game) in order to view a second additional information page in step 122.

In step 124, the mobile phone 10 waits for the second additional information page to load and in step 126 the second additional information page is displayed on the screen 105 of the mobile phone 10.

In step 128, the user selects to buy the second game. In step 130, the mobile phone 10 waits for a purchase page to load. In step 132, the user can select to buy and download the second game and, upon completion of the transaction, the second game is downloaded to the mobile phone 10 whereupon it is installed. Since the operator deck provides the same list of games to every subscriber viewing the operator deck, it is highly unlikely that a user may select a game which is of particular relevance to him in the first instance. It may take a user a number of attempts, and the user will have to browse a great deal of pages, before they access the types or games they are interested in. This is disadvantageous for the above reasons in that it takes a noticeable period of time for each page to load/display, and this method this method slow, laborious and frustrating for a user.

The disadvantages of the first prior art method are exemplified by the number of steps shown in the example of Figure 2, rendering this method very slow, laborious and frustrating.

The second prior art method for reviewing and buying new games is shown in Figures 3a to 3c. Figure 3a shows selectable options 150 within a games menu 152 displayed on the screen 105 of the mobile phone 10. Game 1 is game stored on the mobile phone 10 and a 'more games' selectable menu item 154 is pre-stored within the game menu 152 associated with Game 1. Selecting the 'more games' menu item 154 presents a further menu 156 of a list of a few additional games, Games 2, 3, and 4, for which a user can select to view a pre-stored preview, if interested. In Figure 3b, Game 3 is highlighted and selected which results in a preview 158 of Game 3 being displayed, as shown in Figure 3c. A preview in this sense means a short animation or video of the game or even several still images of different parts of the game. In addition, a selectable icon 160 on the screen 105 in Figure 3 c provides a communications link to a 'virtual till' on the operator or game deck where the user can select to purchase Game 3 if desired. The link to the 'virtual till' enables the mobile phone 10 to connect via the Internet 22 to a web page which facilitates the purchasing transaction for the selected game, in this case Game 3. A successful purchase of the game results in the selected game being downloaded and installed on the mobile phone 10.

The second prior art method offers some advantages over the first prior art method. However, significant disadvantages exist as described above. „, , , ,_„ ,

An embodiment of the present invention is now described with respect to the remaining figures. Figure 4 is shown as an environment where the present embodiment operates, it is similar to Figure 1 except for the provision of a promotion service server (PSS) 180 which is accessed by the user via the mobile telecommunications network 18 and gateway 16. The PSS 180 is configured to provide a user of a mobile phone 10 with a list of games which are compatible with his mobile phone 10, and which are relevant to the user. This is an important advantage over the first prior art method, which doesn't help a user find games which are relevant to their needs. A user of the first prior art method has to navigate slowly through lots of pages before they find what they are looking for, if at all and this problem is overcome in the present embodiment. Furthermore, upon selection of a game from the list, the PSS 180 provides additional information i.e. trailers, previews etc of the selected games. The PSS 180 also facilitates fast and efficient connection to the operator deck 20 where the user can select to purchase the game if desired.

Figure 5 shows an overview of the operation of the present embodiment. As shown in the mobile phone column 200, in step 204 the user selects to view 'more games'. Typically, this selection is made from within a menu associated with a current game, stored on the mobile phone 10, which the user has previously selected from the games menu within their mobile phone 10.

Selecting to view 'more games' results in a request being made and received by the PSS 180, in step 206. In step 208, the PSS 180 generates a list of games which are suitable for the mobile phone 10 handset model and network operator. This list is transmitted to the mobile phone 10 in step 210 and is displayed on the screen 105 of the mobile in step 212. The user reviews the list of games, and if interested selects, using the keypad, a game in step 214. This results, in a request being made and received at the PSS 180, in step 216, for more information regarding the selected game, and in turn the additional information including a link to purchase the game is transmitted back to the mobile phone 10. In step 218, the additional information is displayed on the mobile phone screen 105. The user, if interested, selects to purchase the game in step 220. Thereafter, the user is transferred directly to the "virtual shop till" on the game or operator deck where he can complete his purchase and download, the game. Referring to Figure 6, the composition of the PSS 180 is shown. The PSS 180 comprises several components including a communications module 250, a network detection module 260, an IP Address database 262, a handset detection module 270, a phone data database 272, a registration module 280, a user database 282, a selection module 290, a trailers/additional information database 292 (herein after referred to as the trailers database 292), containing trailer assets 294, and an updating module 300.

Communication requests to the PSS 180 are handled by the communications module 250. Similarly, all data being transmitted from the PSS 180 is also sent via the communications module 250, which is connected to each of the network detection 260, handset detection 270, registration 280, and selection modules 290. The network detection module 260 is arranged to determine the network operator of a given request from a mobile phone 10 and is connected to the IP Address database 262 which stores IP addresses from different operators. The handset detection module 270 functions to determine the make and model of the mobile phone 10 handset, from which a request is received, and is connected to the phone data database 272 to enable it to perform this function. The registration module 280 enables users of the service to register and is connected to the user database 282 which stores the relevant user records. The selection module 290 is a very important part of the PSS 180 as its function is to select the most compatible and appropriate versions of a game for a requesting mobile phone 10. The selection module 290 is connected to the trailers database 292 which is a database of a plurality of trailer assets corresponding to the most appropriate versions of a game. Within the trailers database 292, multiple trailer assets are used to provide trailers/additional information, allowing the trailer assets also to be matched to the handset characteristics. This again is an improvement over the prior art methods where the preview information provided for a game typically is the lowest common denominator of the devices for which the game is suitable for, such that the preview information can be viewed on each device. This could result in, for example, a low- resolution image being presented on a device which is capable of presenting an image with a much higher resolution. The selection module 290 is also connected to the user database 282. The updating module 300 enables the data provided by third parties to be used to update the data stored within the PSS 180. It is connected to each of the communications, network detection, handset detection, registration, and selection modules 260, 270, 280, 300 and the IP address, phone data, user, and trailers databases 262, 272, 282, 292.

When a user selects to view more games, the request is sent from the mobile phone 10 to the PSS 180 via the telecommunications network 18 and the gateway 16. The communications module 250 decodes the request and forwards the relevant information from the request to each of the appropriate modules.

A request comprises: a global user ID (described below); an application ID (i.e. the ID of the application making the request); a network operator ID (if applicable), a handset ID (if applicable), handset characteristics (including the screen and audio capabilities); an upper limit on number of trailers; a genre ID (identifying the genre of the application making the request); and purchase statistics (detailing the trailers which a user has previously selected to purchase and the games that were actually purchased). The limit on the number of trailers may be dynamically determined by the mobile device prior to sending the request and may take into consideration time- varying characteristics such as processor availability, memory availability and file system space available.

The network detection module 260 determines which operator network the user has subscribed to. This is achieved by using a source IP address seen by the PSS 180 when a connection is made. Network operators use a block of IP addresses. As such, the network operator can readily be identified from the source IP address. This source IP address is used to query the IP Address database 262 which contains a look-up table of IP addresses to network operator mappings.

It is also possible to identify the network operator using reverse DNS. This is a standard Internet service that upon provision of an IP address, returns information about that IP address. The returned information can be parsed for information that identifies the originating network operator.

In addition, application generating the request can determine the mobile phone's network operator from the mobile phone itself and this information can be sent in the request to the PSS 180. In a preferred embodiment, a combination of all of the above methods is used, by the network detection module, to determine the network operator. For example, if the network operator is not identified in the request, the IP address database 262 is queried to find the network operator for the source IP address, and if the network operator is not identified in this manner, the systems then uses a reverse DNS operation.

It is to be appreciated that a person skilled in the art will comprehend alternative methods for identifying the network operator.

If the network detection module 260 does not recognise the IP address of the mobile phone 10 sending the request, the IP address details are logged and stored in a database associated with the PSS 180. This allows the IP Address to be identified manually later, and the IP address database to be updated accordingly. A standard response stating that no games are available is transmitted back to the mobile phone 10 and displayed on the mobile phone screen 105. However, if the network detection module 260 does recognise the IP address of the mobile phone 10 sending the request, the identity of the determined network operator is passed to the selection module 290 for use as described later.

The handset detection module 270 determines the handset model of the mobile phone 10 sending the request. Certain mobile phone 10 handset models include identification data which allows the handset detection module 270 to determine directly the handset model. As an example, in the BREW® system from Qualcomm® it is possible to use an Application Programming Interface (API) on the handset to request the handset's 'PID'. The 'PID' is a unique numerical ID for each handset model in the BREW system. The PID is issued and catalogued by Qualcomm®, and registered developers have access to this catalogue. This PID can therefore be transmitted to the PSS 180, as part of the request, and provides an unambiguous identification of the handset. If explicit identification data does not exist in the request, the handset detection module 270 can infer the handset model from data in the request, such as handset screen size, HTTP headers and UAProfile, which is a machine-readable code description of a mobile handset's specification. It is a standard which has been adopted by the mobile telecommunications industry because of a recognised increase in the capabilities of mobile phones 10, and the need for content providers and websites to be able to have knowledge of the mobile phone 10 being served.

If the handset detection module 270 cannot recognise the handset model of the mobile phone 10 sending the request, the details of the handset model are logged and stored in a database associated with the PSS 180. This allows the handset model to be identified manually later, and the phone data database 272 to be updated accordingly. A standard response stating that no games are available is transmitted back to the mobile phone 10 and displayed on the mobile phone screen 105. However, if the handset detection module 270 does recognise the handset model of the mobile phone 10 sending the request, the determined handset model is passed to the selection module 290 for use as described later.

The registration module 280 permits users to register for the service. In a game context, this allows registered users to be kept up-to-date with the latest game reviews and news. Users of the service can register using their mobile phone 10 or via the Internet 22. The registration process is simple and allows a user to input their preferences regarding the types of games they are interested in and whether they wish to receive news updates/reviews periodically. This allows a user to be notified directly when a new game is launched and is available through their network operator. A user can control the notifications they receive to be relevant to the type of games they are interested in. The information gathered during the registration process is stored in the user database 282. Registration is not essential. However, further advantages associated with registration are described in detail later.

The selection module 290 determines and transmits, to the mobile phone 10, a list of selectable game icons, as shown in steps 210 and 212 in Figure 5. The selection module 290 takes as inputs the handset model and network operator data from the handset detection module 270 and the network detection module 260, respectively. As shown in Figure 7, the selection module 290 comprises a selection logic module 310 containing an algorithm which is used to determine the list of selectable game icons, a trailer asset selection module 320, a 'game look-up table 325' database 330, a 'marketing data' database 340, and a 'games already owned' database 350. As described above, the selection module 290 is connected to the trailers database 292 and the user database 282.

An example of the games look-up table 325 is shown in Figure 8. As shown, the games look-up table 325 is made up of a number of pages 360, one for each game: the PSS 180 being capable of servicing multiple network operators. Each page is a table, showing the availability of that particular game for each handset model and network operator. For example, Figure 8 shows that Game 1 is available on a Nokia 1 mobile handset operating on the telecommunication networks provided by the network operators 02® and 3®, but Game 1 is not available on a Nokia 2 mobile handset operating on the same networks. The games look-up table 325 is dynamically updated as new games become available for different handset models or network operators. Therefore, a user has access to the latest games as soon as they are available through their operator deck. As stated above, a registered user can select to receive notifications when new games are released.

The marketing data database 340 stores information relating to current marketing strategies. In one embodiment, the information is simply a list of all of the available games with an associated priority score. The priority score may be determined on the basis of a number of parameters including how new or popular games are. For example, a new game just released may be assigned a higher priority score than a game which has been available for a while. The priority scores can be updated easily via the updating module 300. This allows for the promotion of games depending on a number of additional factors to those described below. For example, tennis games may be promoted in the run up to Wimbledon.

A global user ID is assigned to a user the first time they interact with the PSS 180. The global user ID is a unique numerical ID which is stored in the memory of the mobile phone and is accessible by any game installed on the mobile phone 10. The global user ID permits the PSS 180 to record details of the interaction between the user and the PSS 180. For example, each time a user buys a new game, a look-up table within a 'games already owned' database 350 is updated to show the games which the user already owns i.e. stored on the mobile phone 10. Querying the 'games already owned' database 350 with a particular global user ID returns a stored games list (SGL) of the games already stored on the mobile phone 10. The SGL includes the games which were already available on the handset model when it was purchased/provided to the user (stored in a table consisting of a list of initial games for each mobile handset on each network depending upon when the mobile handset was purchased/provided) and a list of the games subsequently purchased by the user. In addition, the list of stored games may be updated/verified when a new user registers with the service.

The games already owned can also be determined directly on BREW® handsets. The BREW API allows the application to query whether a game is installed using the games "class id". The information returned by the server can include the "class id" for each game being promoted. The handset can then check each "class id" using the API and if it is already installed the corresponding trailer can be removed from the list of games that is displayed as available on the handset. If the number of games available to show to the user drops below an application defined number (for example two), the application reconnects to the PSS, passing a list of the games installed on the handset, and requests a new list of games to be displayed to the user.

The selection logic module 310 in the selection module 290 determines the list of most relevant games which are to be transmitted to the mobile phone 10 in an appropriate format, including an icon, game name and brief description. Figure 9 shows a flowchart 380 of the operation steps of the selection logic module 310.

As shown in step 390, the handset model and network operator data is used to query the games look-up table 325 for all of the games that are compatible and accessible for that handset model operating on that network. A list of accessible games (known as an accessible games list (AGL)) is returned in step 392. The AGL is then compared, in step 394, with the SGL. In step 396, and any games already owned are removed from the AGL to return a refined accessible games list (RAGL) in step 398.

The RAGL is, in step 400, condensed to a list of a few of the most relevant accessible games, which are not currently stored on the mobile phone 10 and which have been prioritised in accordance with a promotion strategy, and in step 402, this list, known as a most relevant games list (MRGL), is returned. In step 404, the MRGL is formatted (becoming a formatted most relevant games list (FMRGL)) to include one or more of the following: an icon or thumbnail for the game, a game title, a short game description, and a long game description. In addition, the FMRGL is formatted to include a link to a trailer or additional information about the game, and a link to the operator deck's 'virtual shop' where the user can purchase a selected game. The link to a trailer comprises URLs containing trailer assets 370 stored in the trailers database 292. As discussed below, the trailer assets 370 are selected to be the most suitable for the mobile phone 10 making the request. The link to the operator deck 'virtual shop' comprises either a URL or shop id to the web page where it is possible to select to download and buy the selected game. Where the "shop id" is a feature of the BREW® system; it is a unique identifier for a game that is available for purchase through the BREW® distribution system.

In step 406, the FMRGL is transmitted to the mobile phone 10 to be displayed for selection. Further details regarding formatting the MRGL are described below.

Typically, there may be between three and five games returned in the MRGL. However, the number of games returned is not particularly important and does not represent a limitation of the present invention.

The promotion strategy employed in step 400 takes the RAGL (games suitable for the user's mobile phone 10 handset model and network operator not already owned), which is not in any particular order, and ranks the games in order of marketing priority score and relevance to the user. The RAGL ranked on the basis of marketing priority score and relevance by rearranging the RAGL so that the most relevant games with the highest priority score are at the top of the list.

Identifying the most relevant games is achieved by examining one or more of the following: handset demographic, operator demographic, preferred game genre, links from current game, buddy list, user-ratings, and registered users' preferences, in any combination.

The handset demographic examines the demography for the user's handset. For example, if the demographic for a particular mobile handset is predominately female, the user is more likely to prefer card games. Likewise, the network operator demographic examines the demographic for a particular network operator. For example, if the demographic for a particular network operator is young males, the user is more likely to prefer racing games.

Similarly, the selection logic can examine the genre of games the user already owns in the SGL and an identified predominant genre, i.e. combat games is indicative that the user would prefer to review and possibly buy more combat games.

It is also possible to identify links between the current game (the game from where the user selected to view 'more games') and other games which the user may prefer. For this purpose, a table containing the cross-correlation between games is stored in the marketing database. This information may be in the form of a) purchasing statistics showing the percentage of users who bought Game A also bought Games X, Y and Z, or b) survey data gathered via surveys or during user registration showing that a user who likes Game A also like Games X, Y, and Z.

A user may also subscribe to a buddy list, which is a list of people (users/players) the user electronically connects to for the purpose of Instant messaging or playing multi- player games. The selection logic module's promotion strategy can infer the type of games the user may prefer by looking at the games owned by the other users/players in his buddy list. The buddy list for a registered user is stored in the user database.

In addition, a user may from time to time be asked to rate, i.e. assign a score rating to, other games he has previously purchased. How the user rates the games he has purchased is indicative of the types of games he prefers.

Furthermore, at registration a user can indicate his preferences with regards to the genre of games of interest to him. This information is stored in the user database, which the selection logic module is connected to. Therefore, if a user is registered, the algorithm within the selection logic module can look-up the users preferences in the user database to identify the games which the user prefers. It is to be appreciated that this is not an exhaustive list of the type of information the selection logic module examines in order to determine the most relevant games list for the user, and of course, other data can be used.

The MRGL is formatted into mark-up language before being transmitted to the mobile phone 10. An example mark-up language file which lists two games is shown below.

*p|lO5459~2~

*tΛ

*txt

ΛScuba Solitaire-Dive in and play scuba solitaire-Scuba solitaire couples the most popular game of all time with dives in rich 3D undersea environments, teeming with marine life.Λ

*tmbΛ

176_203/PromoteThumb_Scuba.png~176_203/PromoteScreen_Scuba01. png~176_203/PromoteScreen_Scuba02.png~176_203/PromoteScreen_S cubaO3.pngΛ

*avdΛ

176_203/scubascene.m3g~30000~3~sound/Dive_05_v02.mid~0~40000~ sound/iceCrack01.pmd~10000~1000~sound/sealBark03.pmd~20000~20

00Λ

*shpΛ

6935810ΛΛ

*tΛ

*txtΛ

GlobeTrotters-Shoot for GlobeTrotters 3D~GlobeTrotters breaks new ground in basketball mobile gameplay.A

*tmb

Λ176_203/Promote_Icon_GlobeTrotters .png~176_203/Promote_Scree n_GlobeTrotters01.png~176_203/Promote_Screen_GlobeTrotters02. png~176_203/Promote_Screen_GlobeTrotters03.pngΛ

*avd

Where:

*t signifies the start a new game listing

*txt signifies a textual description of the game. In the format: Game Title~Short Game Description~Long Game Description

*tmb signifies a list of URLs to thumbnails in the format: Thumbnail 1 Link~Thumbnail 2 Link ^Thumbnail 3 Link *avd signifies the audio and three-dimensional (3D) trailer assets for the trailer in the format:

3D Trailer Liήk-lV.-m-Audio 1 Link...

These trailer assets 370 are selected, as described below to be the most suitable trailer assets 370 for the mobile phone 10 making the request. The most suitable trailer assets 370 are determined in relation to screen size, audio capabilities, whether the handset model supports 3D images/animation, and a parameter relating to handset performance.

*shp signifies the URL, also known as a shopid, on the operator deck which links to an Internet 22 page where the user can complete his purchase if necessary.

The trailers/additional information is intended to be a preview of the selected game icon and may take the form of any combination of the following: a three-dimensional (3D) animation, a scripted animation, a slideshow of two-dimensional (2D) images, a textual description of the game, audio tracks synchronized to the visuals, an interactive animation or mini-game.

The trailers provide high-quality information regarding the game they are related to. It is to be appreciated that 3D images are more complex and memory intensive than 2D images. However, the ability to preview a game of interest in 3D provides the user with much more information about the game. In addition, it is to be appreciated that the trailers themselves could be made up of, or built using, assets from the games themselves, thereby providing very realistic information about the game of interest and permitting the user to make a more informed decision regarding whether to go ahead and buy the game.

The trailers database 292 contains multiple assets 370 for each game stored in the game look-up table 325. The assets 370 include display assets 420, 422, and audio assets 424 426, or any other assets which are determined by the differing parameters of handset models, for example the processing capabilities/speeds and memory availability. Display assets 420, 422 are in the form of the number of pixels across the width of the image, A, by the number of pixels in the height of the image, B, i.e. AxB 240x320, 176x220, and 128x160 pixels.

Mobile phones 10 have fixed screen sizes of the number of pixels across the width of the image, C, by the number of pixels in the height of the image, D, i.e. CxD pixels, as shown in Figure 1. Mobile phone screens 105 can generally display any image of AxB pixels provided that C > A and D > B, since the number of pixels in the image is less than the number of pixels that can be displayed by the screen. The mobile phone screen 105 may also be able to render an image where A > C and B > D. However, there are limitations and large size images may not render correctly on screens which are too small. As a result, it is important to select display assets 420, 422 suitable for the mobile phone 10 in question, which will render correctly but which also allows the best possible image quality to be displayed to the user.

There is a benefit of using 3D display assets 420, 422 since 3D assets scale across different screen sizes far better than 2D assets such as bitmaps. As a result it is possible to produce and use assets 420, 422 for a class of screen sizes (i.e. ±20 pixels).

Audio assets 424, 426 include audio tracks containing multiple simultaneous sounds, known as layered audio 424, and audio tracks containing a single sound, known as non-layered audio 426. There are also multiple sound formats, and each handset only supports a subset of these formats. The sound formats are therefore also selected based on the formats supported by the device.

After the selection logic module 290 determines the MRGL in step 402 of Figure 9, the trailer assets selection module 320 determines the most appropriate trailer assets 294. For example, the selection logic module 310 identifies Game 1 as being a game relevant to the user of the mobile phone 10 making the request; the mobile phone 10 has a screen size of 176 by 208 pixels and is capable of playing layered audio. The trailer asset selection module 320 queries the trailers database 292, which may contain assets 294 for Game 1 for screen sizes of 240x320 420, 176x220 422, and 128x160 pixels and for both layered and non-layered audio 424, 426. The asset selection module 420 selects suitable assets stored in the trailers database, which are the closest match for the mobile phone 10 making the request. In this example, the 240x320 display asset 420 is too large (rich) for the mobile phone 10 in question and may not render correctly on the mobile phone 10. Similarly, although the 128x160 display asset may render correctly on the mobile phone 10, the 176x220 display asset 422 is the closest match to the mobile phone's display capabilities and provides the best quality image for the mobile phone 10 in question. Likewise, the non-layered audio asset 426 may work on the mobile phone 10 capable of layered audio. However, as a layered audio asset 424 is available for Game 1, this audio asset provides the best quality audio for the mobile phone 10 in question.

Referring back to Figure 9, in step 406, URLs for the identified most appropriate assets 422, 424 are included in the FMRGL mark-up language file, along with the link to the user's network operator's 'virtual shop'. The FMRGL mark-up language file is transmitted to the mobile phone 10, in step 406 of Figure 9. This results in a number of game icons, with associated game titles and short game descriptions, being displayed on the mobile phone screen 105.

Selection of an icon in the list, in one embodiment, results in a further request, a trailer assets request, being made to the PSS for the most suitable trailer assets 294 associated with the selected game icon to be sourced from the trailers database 292 and be returned to the mobile phone 10 for display.

In another embodiment, selection of an icon results in an overview of the selected game being displayed on the screen together with a first selectable icon (text or image), representing a first option of viewing a trailer in which case the trailer assets request detailed above is sent, and a second selectable icon (text or image), representing a second option of being directed straight to the purchase page where the game can be purchased. Such selectable icons representing selectable options are also termed simply as 'selectable options' hereinafter.

Determination of the suitable trailer assets may occur during selection of the MRGL, such that the FMRGL transmitted to the mobile phone 10 includes the appropriate URLs (as in the example mark-up language file above). Alternatively, the suitable assets 294 may be determined when the user selects a game icon of interest and the trailer assets request is received at the PSS 180. In that case, the PSS 180 subsequently determines the best trailer assets 294 for the selected game.

In any event, when the trailer assets request is received at the PSS 180, the suitable trailer assets 294 are located within the trailers database 292 and are transmitted to the mobile phone 10 for display.

The user is subsequently given the option of selecting to purchase the game for which the trailer has just played or selecting to go back to the list of game icons (i.e. the most relevant games list MRGL) where the user can select to view another trailer. Unlike the first prior art method, there is no delay when waiting for the list of game icons to reload. The required information is all cached in the memory of the mobile phone 10 and so is very quick to display.

As described above, formatting the MRGL includes appending a link to the operator deck 'virtual shop' where the user can purchase a selected game in a buying transaction. When the user selects the link to buy the game selected, the user connects directly, via the telecommunications network 18, and gateway 16 to the game's purchase page on the operator deck 20. The operator deck 20 governs the buying transaction. Upon completion of the buying transaction, the selected game is transmitted to the mobile phone 10, stored in memory and installed on the mobile phone 10 for repeated use.

The updating module 300 permits the data in each of the databases 262, 272, 282, 292, 330, 340, 350 to be updated, and also permits updating of the algorithm that the selection module 310 uses to prioritise the games list, which is transmitted back to the mobile phone 10.

Figures 10a to 10c shows a detailed flowchart 500 showing the steps of operation of the present embodiment. Figures 10a to 10c will be explained further with reference to Figures 1 Ia to 1 Id, which show sample screen shots of the present embodiment.

In step 510, the user navigates through the menu hierarchy on the mobile phone 10 to a current game menu where "More Games" is a selectable option. In step 512, the user selects the "More Games" option, which in turn initiates connection to the PSS 180. A screenshot 514 similar to Figure 11a is displayed on the mobile phone screen 105. Connection to the PSS 180 includes sending a request to the PSS 180. When a connection has been made, the image displayed on the mobile phone screen 105 looks similar to Figure 1 Ib.

In step 516, the mobile phone 10 transmits a request to the PSS 180, establishes a connection to the PSS 180, and is assigned an IP address. In step 518, the network detection module 260 determines the assigned IP address, and in step 520 queries the IP address database 262 on the basis of the assigned IP address. In step 522, the network detection module 260 determines whether the assigned IP address can be found in the IP address database 262. If the answer is no, the source IP address is logged in step 524, to be added to the database during an updating sequence at a later time, and a message informing the user that no games are available is transmitted to the mobile phone 10 in step 526. In step 528, the connection between the PSS 180 and the mobile phone 10 is severed and in step 530 the no games available message is displayed on the screen 105. Else, if the answer is yes, the network operator is identified and stored in step 532.

In step 534, the handset detection module 270 determines the identification data of the handset model of the mobile phone 10 initiating the request and, in a step 536, queries the phone data database 272 on the basis of the identification data, which may be explicit recital of the handset model (PID) or data within the request from which the handset model can be inferred. In step 540, the handset detection module 270 determines whether the handset module is stored in the phone data database 272. If the answer is no, meaning that the handset model is not currently supported, identification data relating to the handset model is logged in step 542, to be added to the database during an updating sequence at a later time. Control then passes back to step 526 as described above. Else, if the answer is yes the handset model is identified and stored in step 544.

In step 546, the selection module 290 determines the games that are available for the handset model operating with the network operator by querying the games look-up table 325 on the basis of the network operator identified in step 532 and the handset model identified in step 544. If no games are available for that handset model operating on that operator's network, both the handset model and the network operator are logged in step 548, to allow games to be added to the database during an updating sequence at a later time. Else, in step 560 the selection module 290 determines and transmits the FMRGL to the mobile phone 10. Step 560 in Figure 10 comprises the steps 392 to 406 in Figure 9 described in full above.

In step 562, after transmission of the FMRGL is complete, the connection between the PSS 180 and the mobile phone 10 is severed, and in step 564, the FMRGL is displayed on the mobile phone screen 105. Figure l ie shows an example of how the games list may be presented to the user, including icons Al, A2, A3, game titles B, and short game descriptions C. As shown, a scroll bar D and soft keys E permit the user to select an icon Al from the presented list F.

In step 566, the user selects an icon Al associated with a game of interest Scuba Solitaire. As a result, in step 568, the mobile phone 10 transmits a trailer assets request to the PSS 180, establishes a connection to the PSS 180. If necessary, the mobile phone 10 is assigned a further IP address. However, usually the IP address, of the user when they requested the MRGL from the PSS 180, is simply remembered, namely it persists from the original request. In step 570, the PSS 180 refers to the trailers database 292 to locate the suitable (best available) trailer assets 294 for Scuba Solitaire. The located suitable trailer assets 294 are transmitted to the mobile phone 10 in step 572, and in step 574, the connection between the PSS 180 and the mobile phone 10 is severed.

In step 576, the trailer is played on the mobile phone 10. A screen shot 577 of the trailer may look like the one in Figure Hd, although the trailer may comprise a 3D animation, including sound, of the game. In step 578 the user is presented with a YES/NO option of buying the game associated with the trailer played in step 576. If the user selects NO, control is passed back to step 564 and the FMRGL is displayed again on the mobile phone screen 105. Else, if the user selects YES, in step 580, the user's selection is tracked and recorded at the PSS 180 to form part of the statistics relating to the promotion service. Substantially, at the same time, the mobile phone 10 transmits a request to the operator deck server (ODS) and establishes a connection to the ODS in step 582. In step 584, the user is subjected to the operator defined purchase process, which may involve agreeing to the operator's terms and conditions, reviewing further information, including pricing information, about the selected game. In step 586, the user is presented with the YES/NO option of buying the selected game. If the user selects NO, control is passed back to step 564 described above. Else, if the user selects YES, in step 590 the game code is transmitted, by the operator deck, to the mobile phone 10. Upon completion of the transmission in step 590, the connection between the ODS and the mobile phone 10 is severed in step 592. Finally, in step 594 the selected game, Scuba Solitaire, is installed on the mobile phone 10. The game can then be played whenever the user wishes.

It is to be appreciated that the user at any stage or step can utilise a soft key to exit the application and return to a previous menu. Although, preferably the user will be asked to confirm that the application is to be exited.

This embodiment of the present invention advantageously permits a user to access trailers and additional information regarding games that are suitable for the user's mobile phone 10 operating via the user's network operator, which are relevant/appropriate for the user and which are not already owned. The user has access to information, which is the best quality for their specific mobile phone 10 and which is up-to-date. The user, upon viewing a game trailer can select to buy the game directly without needing to navigate through the operator deck pages. More significantly, in this embodiment, a user is only ever presented with a list of games which are available for his mobile phone 10 operating with his network operator and the frustrating prior art scenario, detailed in Figure 2, of a user selecting to find out more information about a game only to find that that they do not have the option to buy and download the game, because it is not available for the handset model of their mobile phone is avoided. A further advantage of the present embodiment is that a user is not shown games that they already own, which could disadvantageously happen with both prior art systems, described above.

It is to be appreciated that the user need not be restricted to the games that are available from the operator deck of their network operator. As mentioned above, a user browsing the Internet 22 using his mobile phone 10 can connect to third party websites, such as Yahoo R or mobile phone 10 handset manufacturers i.e. Nokia , in order to download games of interest. Therefore, in a second embodiment, which is identical to the first embodiment save for the following, the games look up table 325 is modified to include games provided by network operators and third party websites. The games look up table 325 is easily expanded to include the additional game providers.

In the second embodiment, step 582 connects the mobile phone 10 directly or indirectly to the third party website where the game can be purchased. The network detection module 260 and the associated steps 518 to 532 may or may not be required in this embodiment. Details of the network operator may or may not be required for the third party website to secure payment for the purchased game from the network operator.

In the first and second embodiments, when the user selects "buy" after seeing the game trailer, there is no way to ascertain whether a purchase actually happens. The purchase takes place through a 3rd party site (either the network operator or third party website) and there is no facility to distinguish between a purchase made by a user browsing the operator deck and buying the game (without the present invention) and a purchase made via a direct link facilitated by the present invention.

There are a few options which are provided in further embodiments of the present invention, in which tracking the games the user buys and therefore owns can be achieved (described below).

In a further embodiment, the link to the webpage where the purchasing transaction takes place is formatted, i.e. a formatted link, to be different to that where the user navigates to that page through the Internet browser naturally, i.e. without the help of the present embodiments. Statistics regarding whether the formatted link resulted in a purchase can be tracked in order to provide information about the number of games purchased through this route.

In another embodiment, two editions of the game could be made available at the operator or third party provider. A first edition is displayed and linked through the standard game deck, and a second edition, which is only available through the direct link facilitated by the PSS 180. hi this case, standard game download reports would provide information regarding how many games were purchased through each route.

In yet another embodiment, the PSS 180 provides a unique transaction ID as part of the link to the 'virtual shop'. Upon completion of the transaction, the operator calls an API on the PSS 180 to indicate that the purchase was completed, and this can be logged.

In another embodiment, on Brew handsets an event is triggered by the handset when a new game is installed. The application can respond to this event and store details of the application that has been installed. When the application that triggered the sale next connects to the PSS 180, it can send details of the purchased application.

In a further embodiment, the PSS 180 returns a purchase ID together with the trailer assets. When the user selects "buy" after viewing the trailer, this purchase ID is stored on the mobile phone 10 (like an Internet cookie). Upon start up of a new game, the purchase ID is read, and the next time the mobile phone 10 connects to the PSS 180, an API is called on the PSS 180 and the purchase is registered. If the ID corresponds to the game that is currently being played, the purchase is tracked as having been made and the cookie is deleted. If the purchase ID of the new game does not match the purchase ID stored on the mobile phone 10 the cookie is not deleted and remains on the mobile phone 10 for the next time a new game is initiated.

The above offers the advantage that the effectiveness of PSS 180 is tracked. According to another embodiment, including the tracking process, a click through charging model is available. Permitting advertising of third party items through the PSS 180; for example, ring tones, wallpaper, games, music etc. A percentage or fixed fee per referred purchase is derivable from this embodiment.

Furthermore, tracking purchases generates very reliable information which enables the effectiveness of advertisements and the service in general to be tracked, enabling tracking of who buys what content, so that a user who selects to view more games again may be sent a list of ever relevant games. Further optional functionality of the present embodiments includes providing a system within the game for broadcasting or transmitting news or notification announcements to registered users, wherein from a mobile phone 10 receiving announcements and from within the announcement, a user can select to connect to the PSS 180 in order to preview and/or purchase the new game. For example, a user registered to receive updates about future game launches enters their phone number, this is submitted to the PSS 180 and stored in the user database along with details of the handset, operator, and game from which the request originated. Subsequently, when a new game is launched a message is sent to the handset which enables a trailer for the game to be downloaded if the user confirms that it is to be downloaded. As above, the trailer plays and the user is presented with the option of purchasing the game.

The final link need not be to the 'virtual shop'. Instead, it could be replaced with a link to a WAP site for more information, registering for a competition, or signing up for membership.

Furthermore, instead of the final link being to purchase the game, it could link to a free demonstration version of the game.

In addition, the link within the current game need not be to review more games but could equally be to products i.e. wallpaper, ringtones etc that are related to the current game.

Having described particular preferred embodiments of the present invention, it is to be appreciated that the embodiments in question are exemplary only, and that variations and modifications, such as those that will occur to those possessed of the appropriate knowledge and skills, may be made without departure from the spirit and scope of the invention as set forth in the appended claims. For example, it will be readily apparent to those skilled in the art that the above the present embodiments need not be limited to mobile phones as any mobile telecommunications devices, such as personal digital assistants PDA's or computers with mobile, telecommunication capability could be used. Furthermore, the present embodiments need not be limited to the context of games. The invention would also be suitable for improving access to other content or applications. For example, within a music player application, a user may select to preview (i.e. listen to a sample) and optionally purchase new music files, i.e. MP3 tracks or music videos.

Furthermore, it is to be appreciated that the option to view 'More Games' need not be solely selectable from within a games menu as described above. The option to view additional information about any downloadable data files could be provided in a stand alone application which is stored on the mobile phone. This offers an advantage that access to further information from the PSS would require less 'clicks', and options within the application need not be limited solely to games.

Claims

Claims
1. An information system for providing, via a mobile communications network, a stored information asset to a remotely located mobile telecommunications device, the information asset providing information about a downloadable data file, the system comprising: determining means for determining the characteristics of the mobile telecommunication device; identifying means for identifying a downloadable data file which is compatible with the determined characteristics of the mobile telecommunications device, the identifying means being arranged to establish a representation of the stored information asset relating to the compatible downloadable data file, the representation being transmittable to the mobile communications device; and retrieving means responsive to a user-selection of the transmitted representation, for retrieving the stored information asset for communication to the mobile telecommunications device.
2. A system as claimed in Claim 1, wherein the identifying means is arranged to identify a set of downloadable data files compatible with the determined characteristics of the mobile communications device, and to generate a group of representations corresponding to the set.
3. A system as claimed in Claim 1 or Claim 2, further comprising receiving means arranged to receive an information request from the mobile telecommunications device for information relating to compatible downloadable data files.
4. A system as claimed in Claim 3, wherein the receiving means is arranged to receive technical information relating to the characteristics of the mobile telecommunications device.
5. A system as claimed in Claim 3 or Claim 4, wherein the mobile telecommunications device comprises a screen and the technical information relates to the screen characteristics.
6. A system as claimed in any one of Claims 3 to 5, wherein the mobile telecommunications device comprises an audio output device and the technical information relates to the audio output device characteristics.
7. A system as claimed in any one of Claims 3 to 6, wherein the receiving means is arranged to receive network identifier information about the mobile communications network.
8. A system as claimed in any one of Claims 3 to 7, wherein the information request comprises a unique identifier relating to the mobile communications device, the unique identifier being previously assigned by the system to mobile telecommunications device.
9. A system as claimed in any one of Claims 3 to 8, wherein the information request comprises a maximum size limitation parameter for determining the maximum number of representations to be sent to the mobile device.
10. A system as claimed in Claim 3, wherein the receiving means is arranged to receive a make and model number of the mobile telecommunications device.
11. A system as claimed in any one of Claims 1 to 9, wherein the determining means is arranged to determine a make and model of the mobile telecommunications device.
12. A system as claimed in Claim 11 as dependent on Claim 3, wherein the determining means is arranged to determine the make and model number of the mobile telecommunications device from the type of received information request.
13. A system as claimed in Claim 11 as dependent on any one of Claims 4 to 9, wherein the determining means is arranged to determine the make and model number of the mobile telecommunications device from the received technical information.
14. A system as claimed in any one of Claims 11 to 13, further comprising identifying means arranged to identify one or more downloadable data files compatible with the mobile telecommunications device from the determined make and model number.
15. A system as claimed in any preceding claim, wherein the mobile telecommunications device is associated with one of a plurality of networks, the system further comprising network determining means arranged to identify the network to which the mobile telecommunications device is associated.
16. A system as claimed in Claim 15 as dependent on any one of Claims 3 to 10, wherein the network determining means is arranged to identify the network from the network identifier information in the information request.
17. A system as claimed in Claim 15, wherein the mobile telecommunications device is associated with an IP address and the network determining means is arranged to identify the mobile communications network from the IP address.
18. A system as claimed in Claim 16, further comprising an IP address database containing IP address to network mappings, and wherein the network determining means is arranged to identify the mobile communications network from the IP address database.
19. A system as claimed in Claim 16, wherein the network determining means is arranged to identify the mobile communications network by means of a reverse DNS operation.
20. A system as claimed in any one of Claims 15 to 19, wherein the identifying means is arranged to identify one or more downloadable data files available for the mobile telecommunications device from the determined mobile communications network.
21. A system as claimed in Claim 14 or Claim 20 as dependent on Claim 2, wherein the identifying means is arranged to identify whether any downloadable data files, in the group of identified compatible downloadable data files, are already stored on the mobile telecommunications device.
22. A system as claimed in Claim 21, wherein the identifying means is arranged to identify whether any data files are stored on the mobile telecommunications device from a look-up table or database on the basis of the unique identifier, and the identifying means is arranged to remove the representations corresponding to the identified stored downloadable data files from the group of representations in order to identify a refined group of representations.
23. A system as claimed in any preceding claim, further comprising prioritising means arranged to rank the group of representations into a ranked order, wherein the representations, transmittable to the mobile telecommunications device, are displayable in accordance with the ranked order.
24. A system as claimed in Claim 23, wherein the prioritising means further comprises scoring means arranged to assign each representation with a score, and wherein the prioritising means is arranged to rank the group of representations into the ranked order in accordance with the assigned scores.
25. A system as claimed in Claim 24 as dependent on any one of Claims 3 to 10, wherein the information request comprises an application ID and the scoring means is arranged to score each representation on the basis of the application ID.
26. A system as claimed in Claim 24 or Claim 25, wherein the scoring means is arranged to score each representation on the basis of the user preferences.
27. A system as claimed in any one of Claims 24 to 26, wherein the scoring means is arranged to receive user-rating information relating to user-rating scores, wherein the scoring means is further arranged to score each representation on the basis of the user-rating information.
28. A system as claimed in any one of Claims 24 to 27, wherein the scoring means is arranged to receive buddy-list information relating to downloadable data files already downloaded to mobile telecommunications devices of users in a buddy-list of the user, wherein the scoring means is further arranged to score each representation on the basis of the buddy-list information.
29. A system as claimed in any one of Claims 24 to 28, further comprising demographic identifying means arranged to identify a telecommunications device demographic from the make and model number, wherein the scoring means is arranged to score each representation on the basis of the telecommunications device demographic.
30. A system as claimed in any one of Claims 24 to 29, wherein the demographic identifying means arranged to identify a network demographic from the communications network, and the scoring means is arranged to score each representation on the basis of the network demographic.
31. A system as claimed in any one of Claim 23 to 30, further comprising condensing means arranged to condense a list of the ranked order such that the number of representations in the list does not exceed the maximum size limitation parameter.
32. A system as claimed in any preceding claim, further comprising limitation determining means arranged to determine a maximum size limitation parameter regarding the maximum number of representations to be transmitted to the mobile telecommunications device.
33. A system as claimed in Claim 32 as dependent on any one of Claims 3 to 10, wherein the information request comprises limitation information regarding the maximum size limitation parameter and wherein the limitation determining means is arranged to determine the maximum size limitation parameter from the limitation information.
34. A system as claimed in Claim 33, wherein the limitation determining means is arranged to determine the limitation information from time-varying characteristics of the mobile telecommunications device, the time varying characteristics being processor availability and memory availability.
35. A system as claimed in any one of Claims 32 to 34 as dependent on Claim 31), wherein the limitation determining means is arranged to determine the maximum size limitation parameter from a parameter set by the condensing means.
36. A system as claimed in Claim 2 or any one of Claims 3 to 35 as dependent on
Claim 2, wherein the identifying means is arranged to select a representation for each downloadable data file in the identified set from a plurality of composite representations.
37. A system as claimed in Claim 2 or any one of Claims 3 to 35 as dependent on
Claim 2, wherein the identifying means is arranged to generate a representation for each downloadable data file in the identified set as a collection of representation information.
38. A system as claimed in any preceding claim, further comprising transmission means arranged to transmit the representation to the mobile telecommunications device.
39. A system as claimed in Claim 38, wherein the transmission means is further arranged to transmit, upon user-selection of the representation, the stored information asset associated with the selected representation.
40. A system as claimed in any preceding claim, wherein the representation includes information about the associated downloadable data file.
41. A system as claimed in any preceding claim, wherein the representation includes an access link to the associated information asset.
42. A system as claimed in any preceding claim, wherein the representation includes an access link to the downloadable data file.
43. A system as claimed in any preceding claim, wherein the representation includes an access link to a webpage containing further information relating to the downloadable data file.
44. A system as claimed in any preceding claim, wherein the list of representation information includes an access link to a webpage containing a further link to the downloadable data file.
45. A system as claimed in any preceding claim, wherein the identifying means is arranged to format the representation as a mark-up language file.
46. A system as claimed in any preceding claim, further comprising asset matching means arranged to select from a plurality of different versions of information assets relating to the compatible downloadable data file, a version of the information asset which is optimally matched to the mobile telecommunications device.
47. A system as claimed in any preceding claim, wherein the downloadable data file is one of: a downloadable game file; a music file; a ring tone music file; and a wall paper image file.
48. A system as claimed in any preceding claim, wherein the information asset comprises one or more of: three-dimensional (3D) animation; a scripted animation; a slideshow of two-dimensional (2D) images; a textual description of the game; audio tracks synchronized to the visuals; an interactive animation or mini-game; a demonstration version of a music file.
49. A system as claimed in any preceding claim, further comprising registration means arranged to receive details and preferences of the user of the mobile telecommunications device wherein the details are stored in an associated user database.
50. A system as claimed in Claim 49, wherein the preferences of the user of the mobile telecommunications device includes one or more preferred genre of downloadable data files.
51. A system as claimed in Claim 49 or Claim 50, further comprising notification means for notifying a registered mobile telecommunications device regarding available information assets in accordance with the preferences of the user.
52. A system as claimed in Claim 51, wherein the notification means notifies registered mobile telecommunications devices in accordance with the one or more preferred genre.
53. A system as claimed in any preceding claim, further comprising updating means arranged to enable any of the data stores associated with the information system to be updated.
54. A system as claimed in Claim 53, wherein the updating means is arranged to update an information asset database with newly available information assets relating to newly available downloadable data files.
55. A system as claimed in Claim 54, wherein the updating means is arranged to update the associated user database each time a user downloads the downloadable data file.
56. A system as claimed in any preceding claim, further comprising tracking means arranged to track and record user selection of a representation for statistical analysis purposes.
57. A system as claimed in Claim 56, wherein the tracking means is further arranged to track and record user selection of an access link to or additional information about the downloadable data file for statistical analysis purposes.
58. A combination comprising the information system claimed in any preceding claim, and at least one mobile telecommunications device.
59. A combination as claimed in Claim 58, wherein the at least one mobile telecommunications device is arranged to store, in a cache memory, the transmittable list of representations .
60. A combination as claimed in Claim 58 or Claim 59, wherein the information system is arranged to determine a time-varying characteristic of the mobile telecommunications device, the time varying characteristic being at least one of a processor availability, memory availability, and file system availability.
61. A combination as claimed in any of Claims 58 to 60, wherein the information system is arranged to identify the 3D capabilities of the mobile telecommunications device based on performance, memory availability and 3D hardware acceleration.
62. A combination as claimed in any one of Claims 58 to 61, further comprising bandwidth determining means for determining the bandwidth availability in order to determine the appropriate information asset to be communicated to the mobile telecommunications device.
63. A method for providing, via a mobile communications network, a stored information asset to a remotely located mobile telecommunications device, the information asset providing information about a downloadable data file, the method comprising: determining the characteristics of the mobile telecommunication device; identifying a downloadable data file which is compatible with the determined characteristics of the mobile telecommunications device, the identifying step comprising establishing a representation of the stored information asset relating to the compatible downloadable data file, the representation being transmittable to the mobile communications device; and retrieving the stored information asset, for communication to the mobile telecommunications, device upon user-selection of the transmitted representation.
64. A computer-readable data carrier arranged in use to configure a computer to implement a method according to Claim 63.
65. A system, combination or method substantially as described hereinbefore with reference to the accompanying drawings.
PCT/GB2007/004363 2006-11-16 2007-11-15 An information system for mobile telecommunications WO2008059254A1 (en)

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