NAVIGATION KEY FOR USE IN MOBILE COMMUNICATION TERMINAL AND A MOBILE COMMUNICATION TERMINAL
COMPRISING THE SAME
The present invention relates to a navigation key for use in a mobile communication terminal such as a mobile phone, and more particularly, to a hemispherical navigation key and a mobile communication terminal comprising the navigation key; when a user's finger slides on a hemispherical surface of the navigation key, a touch panel disposed on the hemispherical surface acquires a movement track of the finger and produces a displacement signal.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
A mobile communication terminal such as a mobile phone is usually provided with a navigation key, for moving a cursor on a screen of the mobile communication terminal, and selecting a specific object, such as a menu.
When designing the navigation key in the mobile communication terminal, two methods are usually adopted. One method is to design four direction keys (leftward, rightward, upward and downward) and a center control key; the direction keys are used to move the cursor and the control key is used to "confirm" an operation; such navigation key is usually designed as planar. The other method is to use a joy stick, which is commonly cylindrical, slim and small; but the user often feels that the hand feel is poor, and the operation is not convenient.
In addition, the navigation key designed in any of the above two methods still has the following problem. As the screen of the mobile communication terminal tends to be designed larger and larger, when the overall dimension is fixed, a large screen surely reduces the area of the navigation key and the number keys. Thus the actual operation is not convenient for the user; especially during sending a short message, the navigation key is frequently used to select characters, and a small navigation key will affect the input speed. As time passes, the user will have a bad impression on the brand of the currently used terminal.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
The present invention is provided in view of the above problem in the prior art. An aspect of the invention is to convenience the user's operation by improving the design of the navigation key, so as to provide a mobile communication terminal more conveniently to be
In details, the present invention adopts a hemispherical navigation key, by integrating the leftward, rightward, upward and downward keys and the intermediate control key together. The user only needs to press his thumb or other fingers on the surface of the hemispherical navigation key, and slides in a desired direction to position at any direction.
In one aspect of the present invention, a navigation key for use in a mobile communication terminal is provided, wherein the navigation key is configured in a hemispherical shape, and a touch panel is disposed on a hemispherical surface of the navigation key, when a user's finger slides on the hemispherical surface of the navigation key, the touch panel acquires a movement track of the finger and produces a corresponding displacement signal.
Several other aspects of the invention are sumarized just below.
The above navigation key is further configured to control a cursor on a display screen of the mobile communication terminal to move in various directions on the display screen.
The above navigation key is further configured to perform a selection or confirmation operation on a specific object on the display screen, or perform a photographing operation with a digital camera, when the navigation key is fully pressed.
The above navigation key is further configured to focus on an object when the navigation key is half-pressed and in a photographing state, or scroll the display screen in response to the produced displacement signal, when the navigation key is half-pressed and in a non-photographing state and the user's finger slides on the hemispherical surface of the navigation key at the same time.
The above navigation key is further configured to control an orientation of the camera comprised in the mobile communication terminal.
The above navigation key is further configured to be used as a control key for controlling a game when small games in the mobile communication terminal are run.
In another aspect of the invention, a mobile communication terminal comprising the above navigation key is further provided.
These and further aspects and features of the present invention will be apparent with reference to the following description and attached drawings. In the description and drawings, particular embodiments of the invention have been disclosed in detail as being indicative of some of the ways in which the principles of the invention may be employed, but it is understood that the invention is not limited correspondingly in scope. Rather, the invention includes all changes, modifications and equivalents coming within the spirit and terms of the appended claims.
Features that are described and/or illustrated with respect to one embodiment may be used in the same way or in a similar way in one or more other embodiments and/or in combination with or instead of the features of the other embodiments.
It should be emphasized that the term "comprises/comprising" when used in this specification is taken to specify the presence of stated features, integers, steps or components but does not preclude the presence or addition of one or more other features, integers, steps, components or groups thereof.
Many aspects of the invention can be better understood with reference to the following drawings. The components in the drawings are not necessarily to scale, emphasis instead being placed upon clearly illustrating the principles of the present invention. To facilitate illustrating and describing some parts of the invention, corresponding portions of the drawings may be exaggerated in size, e.g., made larger in relation to other parts than in an exemplary device actually made according to the invention. Elements and features depicted in one drawing or embodiment of the invention may be combined with elements and features depicted in one or more additional drawings or embodiments. Moreover, in the drawings, like reference numerals designate corresponding parts throughout the several views and may be used to designate like or similar parts in more than one embodiment.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
The drawings constitute a part of the Description, for illustrating the embodiment of the present invention, and elaborating the principle of the present invention together with the written description.
Fig. 1 is a perspective view of the appearance of a mobile communication terminal comprising the navigation key of the present invention;
Fig. 2 is a side view of the above mobile communication terminal;
Fig.3 is a fragmentary schematic enlarged view of the navigation key; and
Fig. 4 is a schematic system diagram of circuitry and associated parts of the mobile phone for carrying out operation thereof in a manner described below.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION
The interchangeable terms "electronic equipment" and "electronic device" include portable radio communication equipment. The term "portable radio communication equipment", which hereinafter is referred to as a "mobile radio terminal", as "portable electronic equipment", or as a "portable communication device", includes all equipment such as
mobile telephones, pagers, communicators, electronic organizers, personal digital assistants (PDAs), smartphones, portable communication apparatus or the like.
In the present application, embodiments of the invention are described primarily in the context of a portable electronic device in the form of a mobile telephone (also referred to as "mobile phone"). However, it will be appreciated that the invention is not intended to be limited to the context of a mobile telephone and may relate to any type of appropriate electronic equipment, examples of which include a media player, a gaming device, PDA and a computer, digital cameras, etc.
As is shown in Figs. 1 and 2, the present invention includes a hemispherical spatial navigation key 10, so that the area of the navigation key in the mobile communication terminal 11 is expanded, and the keys 12 are positioned more compactly and beautifully.
In details, as shown in Figs. 1 and 2, a hemispherical navigation key 10 is configured to replace the common navigation key, in a mobile communication terminal 11 , and a touch panel 13 is disposed on a hemispherical surface 14 of the navigation key 10. The concrete construction and circuit of the touch panel 13 may be similar to a touch panel used in a conventional notebook computer.
In a portable device such as a notebook computer, a touch panel is commonly used to replace an input device of a mouse type. The touch panel includes a press-sensing board or touch-sensitive surface that senses a movement track of a user's finger. When the user's finger moves on the touch panel, a cursor will move correspondingly on the display screen, so as to complete a positioning operation.
The size of the mobile communication terminal is much smaller than a notebook computer. If a planar type touch panel is used in a mobile communication terminal such as a mobile phone, a high positioning accuracy cannot be achieved due to limited area of the touch panel, or the area of the screen or other press keys will be reduced, or the size of the entire terminal will have to be increased unacceptably.
However, in the present invention using a hemispherical navigation key 10 with a touch-sensitive touch panel 13, when the user's finger slides on the hemispherical surface 14 of the navigation key 10 while touching the touch panel 13, the touch panel acquires a movement track of the finger and produces a corresponding displacement signal.
In an embodiment, the navigation key 10 is configured to control a cursor 15 on a display screen 16 of the mobile communication terminal 11 to move in a corresponding direction on the display screen, according to the produced displacement signal.
In an embodiment, the navigation key 10 of the present invention has a full-pressed state and a half-pressed state, similar to a focusing and photographing button in a digital camera. When the navigation key 10 is full-pressed, it is possible to perform a selection or
confirmation operation on a specific object on the display screen 16, or perform a photographing operation with the digital camera 17a or 17b. While when the navigation key 10 is half-pressed and the user is in the photographing state, it is possible to focus on a subject; or if the user is in a non-photographing state and the user's finger slides on the touch panel 13 of the hemispherical surface 14 of the navigation key 10 at the same time, it is possible to scroll the display screen 14 in response to the produced displacement signal. This is very convenient when the contents are displayed on more than one page of screen. For example, when the mobile communication terminal 11 is used to read emails or other documents, or surf on the Internet, such function will bring great convenience.
In an embodiment, when the mobile communication terminal 11 is provided with a camera 17a or 17b, and particularly, a camera for video conversation during which the camera 17b is facing the user, the navigation key 10 of the present invention is configured to control the orientation of the camera 17b, so that the camera faces the user in a more appropriate angle and the partner in the video conversation can better watch the user. For China where the 3 G communication network is going to be applied, and the countries having been covered under the 3 G network, this is a very convenient operation when carrying out a video conversation.
Furthermore, many games can be presently installed in the mobile communication terminal 11 , and these games commonly need an operation button that can conveniently move the cursor or switch the direction. The navigation key 10 of the present invention is suitable to be used as the operation key for these games, so that the user can operate more accurately, and hence promote the operation agility degree and responding speed.
The hemispherical navigation key 10 of the present invention is described as above in conjunction of concrete application examples. However, persons skilled in the art should be clear that, the applications of the hemispherical navigation key 10 of the present invention are not limited to the above examples. The purpose of the hemispherical navigation key 10 of the present invention can be further extended by combining the existing applications of the mobile communication terminal 11 and the new applications to be developed in the future.
Briefly turning to Fig. 4, a schematic block diagram of the operating circuitry or system of the mobile phone 11 is illustrated. The illustration is exemplary; other types of circuitry may be employed in addition to or instead of the operating circuitry to carry out telecommunication functions and other functions. The operating circuitry includes a controller 30 (sometimes referred to as a processor or as an operational control and may include a microprocessor or other processor device and/or logic device) that receives inputs and controls the various parts and operation of the operating circuitry. An input module 31 provides inputs to the controller 30. The input module includes the camera 7 (7a, 7b), a display controller 32, and a keys input module 33. The camera may include a lens, shutter, image sensor 7s, e.g., a digital image sensor, such as, for example, a CCD (charge coupled device), a CMOS device, or another image sensor. Images that are sensed by the image
sensor may be provided the controller 30 for use in conventional ways, e.g., for storage, for transmitting, etc.
The display controller 32 responds to inputs from a touch sensitive display 16 or from another type of display that is capable of providing inputs to the controller. Thus, for example, touching of a stylus or a finger to a part of a touch sensitive display, e.g., to select a song in a displayed list of songs, to select a contact in a displayed list of contacts, to select an icon or function in a GUI shown on the display may provide an input to the controller in conventional manner. The display controller 32 also may receive inputs from the controller 30 to cause images, icons, information, etc., to be shown on the display 16. The keys input module 33, for example, may be the keys 12 themselves and/or may be signal conditioning, decoding or other appropriate circuitry to provide to the controller 30 information indicating the operating of one or more keys 12 in conventional manner.
A memory 34 is coupled to the controller 30. The memory may be a solid state memory, e.g., read only memory (ROM), random access memory (RAM), SIM card, etc. Memory that maintains information even when power is off and that can be selectively erased and provided with more data, an example of which sometimes is referred to as an EPROM or the like. The memory may be some other type device. The memory 34 includes a buffer memory 35 (sometimes referred to herein as buffer). The memory 34 may include an applications or functions storing section or function 36 to store applications programs and functions programs or routines for carrying out operation of the mobile phone 11 via the controller 30. The memory 34 also may include a data storage section or function 37 to store data, e.g., contacts, numerical data, pictures, and/or virtually any other data for use by the mobile phone 11. A drivers section 38 of the memory 34 may include various drivers for the mobile phone 11, for communication functions and/or for carrying out other functions of the mobile phone.
The mobile phone 11 includes a telecommunications portion 40. The telecommunications portion 40 includes, for example, a communications module - transmitter/receiver 41 that receives incoming signals and transmits outgoing signals via antenna 41a. The communications module — transmitter/receiver 41 is coupled to the controller 30 to provide inputs to and to receive output signals, as may be the case in conventional mobile phones. The communications module - transmitter/receiver 41 also is coupled to the speaker 42 and microphone 43 via an audio processor 44 to provide audio output via the speaker and to receive audio input from the microphone for usual telecommunications functions. The speaker and microphone enable a user to listen and to speak via the mobile phone 11. The audio processor 44 may include any appropriate buffers, decoders, amplifiers and the like.
The mobile phone 11 also includes a power supply 45 that may be coupled to provide electrical power to the operational circuitry 3 upon closing of the on/off switch 46.
For telecommunication functions and/or for various other applications and/or functions as
may be selected from a GUI, the mobile phone 11 may operate in a conventional way. For example, the mobile phone may be used to make and to receive telephone calls, to play back songs, pictures, videos, movies, etc., to take and to store photographs or video, to prepare, to save, to maintain, and to display documents and databases such as a contacts or other database, to browse the Internet, to maintain a calendar, etc.
In operation of the mobile communication terminal 11 using the hemispherical navigation switch 10, a user may turn on the power switch 46 to provide power from the power supply 45; and the user may press the navigation switch 10 part way or fully or not at all; and the user also may move his or her finger over the touch sensitive surface 14 along the hemispherical surface 13 to provide input to the controller, as is illustrated in the drawings. As the navigation switch 10 is pressed or is not pressed and a the finger is moved on the surface thereof, respective signals are provided to the controller 13 to cause appropriate response from the mobile communication terminal 11, e.g., in a communication mode, in a mode to select a respective icon or item in a list shown on the display 16, to play a game, etc.
It will be appreciated that portions of the present invention can be implemented in hardware, software, firmware, or a combination thereof. In the described embodiment(s), a number of the steps or methods may be implemented in software or firmware that is stored in a memory and that is executed by a suitable instruction execution system. If implemented in hardware, for example, as in an alternative embodiment, implementation may be with any or a combination of the following technologies, which are all well known in the art: discrete logic circuit(s) having logic gates for implementing logic functions upon data signals, application specific integrated circuit(s) (ASIC) having appropriate combinational logic gates, programmable gate array(s) (PGA), field programmable gate array(s) (FPGA), etc.
Any process or method descriptions or blocks in flow charts or otherwise described herein may be understood as representing modules, segments, or portions of code which include one or more executable instructions for implementing specific logical functions or steps in the process, and alternate implementations are included within the scope of the preferred embodiment of the present invention in which functions may be executed out of order from that shown or discussed, including substantially concurrently or in reverse order, depending on the functionality involved, as would be understood by those reasonably skilled in the art of the present invention.
The logic and/or steps represented in the flow diagrams or otherwise described herein, for example, may be considered an ordered listing of executable instructions for implementing logical functions, can be embodied in any computer-readable medium for use by or in connection with an instruction execution system, apparatus, or device, such as a computer-based system, processor-containing system, or other system that can fetch the instructions from the instruction execution system, apparatus, or device and execute the instructions. In the context of this document, a "computer-readable medium" can be any
means that can contain, store, communicate, propagate, or transport the program for use by or in connection with the instruction execution system, apparatus, or device. The computer readable medium can be, for example but not limited to, an electronic, magnetic, optical, electromagnetic, infrared, or semiconductor system, apparatus, device, or propagation medium. More specific examples (a nonexhaustive list) of the computer-readable medium would include the following: an electrical connection (electronic) having one or more wires, a portable computer diskette (magnetic), a random access memory (RAM) (electronic), a read-only memory (ROM) (electronic), an erasable programmable read-only memory (EPROM or Flash memory) (electronic), an optical fiber (optical), and a portable compact disc read-only memory (CDROM) (optical). Note that the computer-readable medium could even be paper or another suitable medium upon which the program is printed, as the program can be electronically captured, via for instance optical scanning of the paper or other medium, then compiled, interpreted or otherwise processed in a suitable manner if necessary, and then stored in a computer memory.
The above description and accompanying drawings depict the various features of the invention. It will be appreciated that the appropriate computer code could be prepared by a person who has ordinary skill in the art to carry out the various steps and procedures described above and illustrated in the drawings. It also will be appreciated that the various terminals, computers, servers, networks and the like described above may be virtually any type and that the computer code may be prepared to carry out the invention using such apparatus in accordance with the disclosure hereof.
Specific embodiments of an invention are disclosed herein. One of ordinary skill in the art will readily recognize that the invention may have other applications in other environments. In fact, many embodiments and implementations are possible. The following claims are in no way intended to limit the scope of the present invention to the specific embodiments described above. In addition, any recitation of "means for" is intended to evoke a means-plus-function reading of an element and a claim, whereas, any elements that do not specifically use the recitation "means for", are not intended to be read as means-plus-function elements, even if the claim otherwise includes the word "means".
Although the invention has been shown and described with respect to a certain preferred embodiment or embodiments, it is obvious that equivalent alterations and modifications will occur to others skilled in the art upon the reading and understanding of this specification and the annexed drawings. In particular regard to the various functions performed by the above described elements (components, assemblies, devices, compositions, etc.), the terms (including a reference to a "means") used to describe such elements are intended to correspond, unless otherwise indicated, to any element which performs the specified function of the described element (i.e., that is functionally equivalent), even though not structurally equivalent to the disclosed structure which performs the function in the herein illustrated exemplary embodiment or embodiments of the invention. In addition, while a particular feature of the invention may have been
described above with respect to only one or more of several illustrated embodiments, such feature may be combined with one or more other features of the other embodiments, as may be desired and advantageous for any given or particular application.
With the navigation key of the present invention, the time for the user to move his finger leftward, rightward, upward and downward is saved, and the operation speed is greatly promoted. Meanwhile, the hemispherical shape is distinguished from the conventional cylindrical joy stick, and the user will not feel hand rubbing even in a long time operation. Besides, the appearance of the hemispherical navigation key is more beautiful, and the manufacturer of the mobile communication terminal can display or hide the brand logo therein.