"The invention also minimizes the number of keys available for data input. In the preferred embodiment, only keys for the 26 letters of the English alphabet are available as well as a backspace key, a line feed key, an 'alt' key, a 'cap' key and a space bar. The alt key enables the user in conjunction with the other keys to input numbers and symbols to perform certain functions. The placement of the keys is designed to enhance the user experience while typing with the thumbs by meeting two seemingly opposite goals minimizing the keyboard footprint while maximizing the likelihood that proper keys will be struck by the thumb-typing user.
"The invention also provides additional incentive for the user to use thumb input by providing an input device adjacent to the keyboard, but integral to the overall hand-held device. Although other devices can be used in an auxiliary fashion, the preferred device is a thumbwheel that registers movement of the wheel by measuring the number of indents traversed while rolling the wheel and that also registers as an input the depression or 'clicking' of the wheel, which is performed by pressing the wheel toward the back of the pager. This clicking of the wheel is similar to the clicking of a mouse associated with a PC or any other input device that registers the depression of a button. The thumbwheel the preferred embodiment is placed vertically on the two-way paging device so that the user can easily move his or her thumb from the thumbwheel to the keyboard and back for performing functions and retrieving data forms, such as an e-mail template or address book entry template, for data entry.
"Additionally, various software techniques can be implemented to enhance the thumb-typing user's experience in using the device of the instant invention. In the preferred embodiment, for example, the user can change the capitalization of a particular letter simply by keeping a key depressed for a particular length of time without an. intermittent release being detected by the keyboard controller.
"The primary advantage of the present invention is that it enables efficient and user-friendly data entry into a palm-sized electronic device by maximizing the potential for user data entry through thumb typing.
"These are just a few of the many advantages of the present invention, as described in more detail below. As will be appreciated, the invention is capable of other and different embodiments and its several details are capable of modifications in various respects, all without departing from the spirit of the invention. Accordingly, the drawings and description of the preferred embodiment set forth below are to be regarded as illustrative in nature and not restrictive.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
"The present invention satisfies the needs noted above as will become apparent from the following description when read in conjunction with the accompanying drawings wherein:
"FIG. 1 is a block diagram of a two-way, full-text, messaging device incorporating a keyboard and an auxiliary data entry device;
"FIG. 2 is a frontal view of the hand-held device showing the shape and placement of the keys on the keyboard and the auxiliary input device;
"FIG. 3 is a diagram showing the shape, size and placement of the keys on the keyboard; and
"FIG. 4 is a diagram of the control circuitry for the thumbwheel."
URL and more information on this patent application, see: GRIFFIN, Jason T.; HOLMES, John A.; LAZARIDIS, Mihal; LITTLE, Herb A.; MAJOR, Harry R. Hand-Held Electronic Device with a Keyboard Optimized for Use with the Thumbs. U.S. Patent Application Serial Number 791311, filed
Keywords for this news article include: Software,
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