A newly published BlackBerry Patent application entitled Advanced Voice and Data Operations in a Mobile Communications Device describes a technology that greatly eases these related processes.
The Patent Abstract provides at least some insight into what is being proposed here:
A system and method for integrating voice and data operations into a single mobile device capable of simultaneously performing data and voice actions. The mobile device working in a network capable of exchanging both cell phone calls and data items to the mobile device.
By wearing an earphone or an ear-bud device the user is capable of dealing with voice conversations while working with data centric information related to the current caller. By providing a data-centric device with voice capabilities there is a new range of features that allow incoming data events to trigger outgoing voice events.
There's much, much more. Let's look at this Patent's description of what RIM hopes this invention will enable:
It is an object of the present invention to obviate or mitigate at least one disadvantage of previous dual mode mobile devices, and the method of integrating voice and data functions on them.
The present invention provides advanced data and voice operations in a dual mode mobile device. The present invention permits the performance of address lookups and phone calls based on incoming e-mail messages, calendar appointments, to-do list tasks, and other data items.
The invention includes the ability to perform a lookup of the address book data based on incoming caller id and direct inward dialling information. The invention includes the ability to create a memo-pad entry of caller log of incoming phone calls.
The invention includes the ability to perform advanced multi-way conference calls by using a calendar entry or other data item that stores the telephone numbers to be joined in the conference. The invention includes the use of a single message center to keep track of all incoming data and voice events into a personal activity log on the device.
In a first aspect, the present invention provides a method for initiating a telephone call using a dual mode mobile device that has data and voice components. The data component of the dual mode mobile device stores, retrieves, receives and displays data. The voice component establishes telephone calls.
The method includes the steps of receiving a data item, identifying a phone number associated with the data item and then initiating a telephone call to the associated phone number.
In an embodiment of this aspect of the present invention the step of receiving the data item includes the step of receiving data items from a computer associated with the mobile device. In alternate embodiments the data item is one of an email message, a calendar appointment and an item on a todo list.
The step of identifying the phone number optionally includes reading a phone number embedded in the data item, or alternatively can include referencing a phone number, associated with identifying information embedded in the data item, in an address book, that can reside either in the mobile device, or in a computer associated with the mobile device.
The step of identifying the phone number can include the step of selecting a field in the email message, any field may include cross-referencing the selected field with an email address field or a name entry in an address book.
Alternatively the step of including may include parsing the selected field to identify a phone number, wherein the parsing may include mapping alphabetic characters to a phone number. In an embodiment of the present invention, the step of identifying further includes the step of selecting a phone number from a plurality of numbers associated with the data item.
In another embodiment a plurality of numbers are selected, and the initiation of the telephone call includes the initiation of a conference call. In the above embodiments the telephone call can be established using a communications channel on a cellular phone network, or it can be established using a communications channel with a data based network using a voice-over-packet data session.
In a further aspect of the present invention there is provided a method of presenting caller information on a dual mode mobile device having data and voice components. The mobile device has a set of call preferences and applications, and the data component is for storing, retrieving, receiving, and displaying data.
The voice component for receiving telephone calls. The method comprises receiving a voice call containing caller identification information, determining the data component application to launch based on the call preferences and launching the determined data component application.
In embodiments of the present aspect of the invention the set of call preferences maps different incoming numbers to different applications, or prompts the user for an application to launch. The applications include at least one of a calendar, call log, address book and email client.
In a subsequent embodiment of the invention the caller identification information includes an originating phone number, and may optionally include a caller name. This information is typically provided to the application launched, and may be supplemented by information in an address book entry that is associated with the caller identification information.
In some embodiments, the receipt of a call creates a calendar appointment, alternatively the call log records the caller identification information in an editable format . In alternate embodiments, the address book presents the address information associated with the caller identification information, or creates a new address book entry to store information associated with the caller identification information.
In a further embodiment the email client creates an email message addressed to and address associated with the caller identification information.
A third aspect of the present invention provides a dual mode mobile device connected to a data packet network.
This device comprises a data component for storing, retrieving, receiving and displaying data including e-mail messages, calendar appointments, address information, for launching applications associated with the data, and for connecting to the data packet network for sending and receiving data, and a voice component, connected to the data component for receiving call initiation information, the voice component for initiating and receiving telephone calls, and caller identification information, and for providing the received caller identification information to the data component for cross reference to the data.
In an embodiment of this aspect of the present invention the voice component is connected to a telephone network for initiating and receiving telephone calls, where the telephone network can be a cellular telephone network.
In other embodiments of the invention the data packet network is a wireless data packet network, and the voice component can be connected to the data packet network for receiving and initiating telephone calls using Voice over Packet data channels.
In a further embodiment the data component has a preferences table that determines an application to launch upon receiving caller identification information from the voice component, and the voice component initiates a telephone call upon receiving call initiation information from the data component.
In yet another embodiment of the present invention the data component is additionally for establishing data communication channels with a computer over the data network to transfer data.
In an alternate aspect of the present invention there is provided a method of synchronising data between a computer and mobile device. The computer and mobile device are connected by a wireless network, and are intermittently connected by a physical link.
The method comprises the steps of interrogating the physical link to determine if a connection is present, synchronising the data of the computer and the mobile device using the physical link when the physical link is available and synchronising the data of the computer and the mobile device using the wireless network connection when the physical link is unavailable.
In a further aspect of the invention there is provided a wireless connector, operatively connected to a computer having data and associated with a mobile device, for routing data between the computer and mobile device, to a wireless network for connecting to the mobile device associated with the computer, and to a cradle for intermittently connecting to the mobile device.
The wireless connector comprises cradle interrogation means for determining the status of the connection between the cradle and the mobile device, cradle mobile device transfer means, operatively connected to the cradle interrogation means and the cradle, for routing data from the computer to the mobile device through the cradle when the cradle interrogating means indicate that the mobile device is connected to the cradle and wireless mobile device transfer means, operatively connected to the cradle interrogation means and the wireless network, for routing data from the computer to the mobile device through the wireless network when the cradle interrogating means indicate that the mobile device is not connected to the cradle.
I know that while some of you will find that info useful, others will exclaim, "TMI!"
Oh, you don't know the half of it. But for those of you who are entranced, the Patent app which I linked you to at the top of this post Has more. Much more.