Technology described in a fascinating (IMHO) newly published BlackBerry Patent application would seek to preserve battery life by darkening the BlackBerry display screen for portions of a view outside the "area of interest."
The all-caps title of this Patent app is METHOD AND APPARATUS FOR REDUCING POWER CONSUMPTION IN A DISPLAY FOR AN ELECTRONIC DEVICE.
Unlike some other BlackBerry Patent applications where the Abstract pretty much defines what is being sought, this Abstract is kind of tautological. It defines:
A display module comprising a display screen; a controller, said controller having an input for receiving information, and an output coupled to said display screen for outputting display information to said display screen; said controller including a component for determining an area of interest on said display screen; and said controller having a component for dimming at least a portion of said display screen outside of said area of interest.
Well woohoo that tells us a lot. Maybe that tells us a little. But next we need to ask how this functionality actually works.
For that I should show you Figure 5, and provide the accompanying documentation from this Patent Application's text.
FIG. 5 ... illustrates operation of the mobile electronic device with the display module 300 (FIG. 3) according to one embodiment.
In FIG. 5, the mobile electronic device is indicated generally by reference 500 and the display module by reference 501. In addition to the display module 501, the mobile electronic device 500 includes a keypad or keyboard 510 and a navigator pad 520.
As described above, the display module 501 comprises a LCD display screen 502 and a LCD driver circuit.
According to this embodiment, the LCD display screen 502 displays or presents a display image and comprises three general display areas 530, indicated individually by references 530a, 530b, and 530c.
Each of the display areas 530 has a brightness or intensity level which is individually adjustable or variable, or adjustable relative to the brightness or intensity of any of the other display regions, as will be described in more detail below.
In one embodiment, each of the display regions 530 is defined in software (e.g. firmware or otherwise) by mapping or correlating the pixels belonging to the respective display area 530, i.e. the respective display area comprises a mask or overlay mapped in software to a group of pixels in the display screen 502.
By applying the mask or overlay map to control the display screen 502, the display image (i.e. the pixels representing the display image) is altered in appearance (i.e. brightness levels) when it is displayed on the LCD display screen 502.
In another embodiment, the display module 501 comprises three or more separate LCD display screens which are physically joined but have individual LCD driver circuits which function under the control of the microprocessor 240 (FIG. 2).
Referring to FIG. 5, the display area 530b comprises a region or an area where a user is currently entering text (e.g. "Hi Bob How are y . . . ), i.e. an area of focus or an area of interest, and in accordance with this embodiment the display area 530b is presented (i.e. displayed) at a normal or maximum brightness level.
The two other display areas 530a and 530c represent areas or regions of non-focus or non-interest, and according to this embodiment are presented at a decreased or dimmer brightness level, e.g. relative to the brightness level of the area of focus, i.e. the display area 530b.
Thus, the areas outside of the area of focus 530b are dimmed relative to how those areas would normally appear. As the user moves a cursor (for example, using the keypad 510 or the navigator pad 520) around on the display screen 502, the microprocessor 240 (FIG. 2, not shown here but viewable on this Patent app's page that I linked to near top of this post-Russ) includes and executes a function or routine under the control of firmware or other programming which tracks the focus point and controls the display screen 502 (i.e. the pixels) so that the image in the display area with the focus point (e.g. the display area 530b) is displayed at a normal brightness level while the display screen 502 with the other display areas (e.g. 530a and 530c) away from the area of the user's focus is dimmed or appears at brightness level which is less than the level for the area of focus.
Under the control of firmware or other programming, the non-focus display areas 530a and 530c are either dimmed at an equal or uniform brightness level, or have a continuously decreasing brightness such that the portions of the display areas 530a and 530c furthest away from the display area 530b are darkest.
The dimming of the non-focus display areas 530a and 530c is accomplished under the control of firmware (or other programming) by altering the appearance of the display image being displayed through the dimming of the pixels in the respective non-focus display areas 530a or 530c.
According to this embodiment, the firmware or other programming includes a function or code component for dimming all of the pixels in the non-focus display area 530c, a function or code component for dimming most of the pixels in the display area 530b and/or a function or code component for dimming some of the pixels in the display area 530a (for example, the pixels the farthest from the focus display area 530b).
As described above, the dimming functions may be implemented by mapping the pixels to an overlay or mask which is then applied to the LCD display screen 502. The dimming overlay or mask is varied or adjusted according to the location of the focus point. In other words, the LCD display screen 502 is controlled to alter the display image, i.e. the pixels corresponding to the area(s) of the display image outside of the focus display area or area of interest are dimmed (i.e. controlled to provide a lower brightness level or intensity level).
In another embodiment, the display areas 530a, 530b, and 530c do not have defined boundaries, and the LCD display screen 502 is controlled to provide a continuously variable brightness and produce a display image that fades the further one progresses away from the selected area or area of focus (e.g. the display area 530b). In another embodiment, the display areas 530a, 530b, and 530c are configured vertically, or in any other orientation. In another embodiment, the pixels for the display areas 530a, 530b or 530c are mapped or configured in any shape or size, for example, a square, a rectangle, etc.
Useful, I'd say. What say you?