"In addition to hardware features that encourage optimal data entry through the use of thumbs, there are several software features that are designed to minimize keystrokes and aid in entry of data.
"The features of this invention, both individually and collectively, have not, to the knowledge of the inventors, been applied to a small hand-held electronic device that requires user-generated data entry. To permit efficient operation of such devices while keeping the form factor of the device small enough to be worn on the body, there is a general need for a hand-held electronic device that can fit in the palm of the hand and that can be operated substantially with the thumbs.
"There is a further need for a keyboard for a palm-size data entry device with keys placed at an angle to optimize operation of the keyboard by the use of the thumbs.
"There remains another need for a keyboard with keys that are shaped and sized to maximize contact with the thumbs while minimizing the keyboard area required for such keys.
"There also remains a need fur an auxiliary input device that is to be operated by the thumb for data inputs forms and function control and that, in conjunction with the keyboard, encourages and permits data entry and management through input performed substantially by the thumbs.
"There remains still another need for a software-implemented user interface system that is designed, at least in part, to support and encourage data entry through use of the thumbs."
In addition to the background information obtained for this patent application, VerticalNews journalists also obtained the inventors' summary information for this patent application: "The present invention overcomes the problems noted above and satisfies the needs in this field for a hand-held electronic device with a keyboard optimized for use with the thumbs. In the preferred embodiment of the present invention, the hand-held electronic device is a two-way paging device that permits full-text, two-way messaging such as email messaging and that includes standard PDA or PIM features such as an address book, an electronic calendar, a task list and other text-based features. These features require user input of text strings that can be lengthy and that cannot be reduced to pre-determined or 'canned' strings. Thus, for such a device, the efficient entry of data in a device meant to fit into the palm of one's hand requires that two goals are achieved. First, the data entry must be relatively easy from a user perspective. This means that the user must be somewhat familiar with analogous forms of data entry and not have to be trained to use the data entry for the hand-held device. Second, the form factor does not permit a large number of keys or keys that are very large. Thus efficient use of the keyboard space is required and functions that might be able to be performed by a standard key board are off-loaded to an auxiliary input device or are performed, through a minimal number of keystrokes that encourage the use of thumb-based data entry.
"To accomplish these goals, the invention first optimizes the placement of the keys on the device keyboard. In order to work within the limited space available for the keyboard, it was determined that it was preferable to use keys that were oval or oblong and that were placed at angles designed to facilitate use by thumb typing. An angle for the keys on the right side of the keyboard and a complementary angle for the keys on the left side of the keyboard are chosen based upon observation of the angle at which a user will orient his or her thumbs while thumb-typing.
Most Popular Stories
- Clinton to Keynote Annual Simmons Leadership Conference
- Selena Gomez, Shakira Among Top Hispanic Searches
- How to Survive a Subzero Stranding
- GM to Stop Making Autos in Australia
- It's Primary Time in Texas
- PhD Project Grooms Business Profs
- Bipartisan Budget Deal Gets Key Support in House
- N.M. Dems Say Nonprofit Helping Martinez Campaign
- Deficit Shrinks, Hiring Grows as Economy Improves
- Budget Deal Raises Deficit $41 Billion: CBO