“I am driving/busy” automatic response system for mobile phones
1. A method carried out on a cell phone comprising:
- A) receiving a text message on said cell phone or receiving an incoming cellular phone call on said cell phone;
B) receiving a command the user of said cell phone makes by making one or more pushes of a Busy key somewhere on said phone, said one or more pushes of said Busy key causing a function call to be made to an application programmatic interface of an operating system requesting that a Busy application program be launched and that the Busy application be informed whether an incoming text message was just received or an incoming cellular phone call is occurring;
C) making a function call to an application programmatic interface of said Busy application requesting that said Busy application be launched, said function call also passing context information from said operating system of said cell phone to said Busy application regarding whether a text message has just been received or whether a cellular phone call is currently occurring;
D) if a text message has just been received by said cell phone, automatically selecting the latest text message received and automatically sending a pre-typed text message to the sender of said latest text message without any further interaction with said user of said cell phone; and
E) if a cellular phone call is being received, automatically answering an incoming cell phone call and playing a pre-recorded audio message to said caller.
A cell phone which has been modified by the addition of software which responds to the press of one or more Busy keys by automatically sending a pre-typed text message to the sender of the latest text message just received or automatically answering an incoming call immediately upon pressing the Busy key and playing a pre-recorded audio message. The outgoing text or audio message can inform the sender of the incoming text or the caller that the user is driving or otherwise engaged and cannot respond immediately. In some embodiments, one or more Busy keys can be added keys or one or more existing keys on the cell phone or on the keypad of the cell phone or on a touchscreen or a visual depiction of a keypad on a touchscreen of the cell phone.
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|Devices and methods of providing response message in the devices|
Patent #US 9,456,079 B2
Current AssigneeSamsung Electronics Co. Ltd.
Sponsoring EntitySamsung Electronics Co. Ltd.
|Devices and methods of providing response message in the devices|
Patent #US 9,553,981 B2
Current AssigneeSamsung Electronics Co. Ltd.
Sponsoring EntitySamsung Electronics Co. Ltd.
|Devices and methods of providing response message in the devices|
Patent #US 10,110,734 B2
Current AssigneeSamsung Electronics Co. Ltd.
Sponsoring EntitySamsung Electronics Co. Ltd.
|Methods and systems for telephony call completion|
Patent #US 20050123114A1
Current AssigneeCallWave Communications LLC
Sponsoring EntityCallWave Communications LLC
|Response message transmitter and response message transmitting method in cellular mobile telephone apparatus and recording medium recording program for executing the method|
Patent #US 20030216138A1
Current AssigneeSamsung Electronics Co. Ltd.
Sponsoring EntitySamsung Electronics Co. Ltd.
|Method and system for operating a team configuration formed of a number of subscribers|
Patent #US 20020136386A1
Current AssigneeSiemens AG
Sponsoring EntitySiemens AG
- 1. A method carried out on a cell phone comprising:
A) receiving a text message on said cell phone or receiving an incoming cellular phone call on said cell phone; B) receiving a command the user of said cell phone makes by making one or more pushes of a Busy key somewhere on said phone, said one or more pushes of said Busy key causing a function call to be made to an application programmatic interface of an operating system requesting that a Busy application program be launched and that the Busy application be informed whether an incoming text message was just received or an incoming cellular phone call is occurring; C) making a function call to an application programmatic interface of said Busy application requesting that said Busy application be launched, said function call also passing context information from said operating system of said cell phone to said Busy application regarding whether a text message has just been received or whether a cellular phone call is currently occurring; D) if a text message has just been received by said cell phone, automatically selecting the latest text message received and automatically sending a pre-typed text message to the sender of said latest text message without any further interaction with said user of said cell phone; and E) if a cellular phone call is being received, automatically answering an incoming cell phone call and playing a pre-recorded audio message to said caller.
- View Dependent Claims (2)
This is a divisional of prior U.S. patent application Ser. No. 12/653,988, filed Dec. 21, 2009 now U.S. Pat. No. 8,249,627. This case is also related to the following co-pending U.S. patent application Ser. No. 12/658,449, filed Feb. 8, 2010; Ser. No. 12/803,282; Ser. No. 13/373,326, filed Nov. 10, 2011; Ser. No. 13/373,323, filed Nov. 10, 2011. Recent studies have shown that driving while texting on a cell phone is more dangerous than driving while intoxicated. Older studies have linked higher traffic accident rates to talking on cell phones while driving.
However, some people use their cell phones for business and do not want clients or customers to wonder why they did not call back right away. Other people just want to be able to respond promptly in some fashion without endangering themselves or others so the person calling them or texting them knows what is going on or does not start to worry since the person normally responds right away to a text or phone call.
An article in a Nov. 22, 2009 Dallas newspaper described a subscription system called ZoomSafer™ that renders driving when a cell phone is present safer. The system uses the GPS on the phone to detect when the user is driving and then disables the cell phone until the driver stops the car. This system is believed to shut off the user'"'"'s phone while the user is driving. The problem with such a system is that the user may wish to know who is calling or texting, and, if the call or text is important enough, pull over, stop the car and answer the text or call.
Other companies such as GM assume that drivers'"'"' judgment can be trusted and they have implemented handsfree Onstar™ systems to voice dial numbers that have been previously stored and given a nametag by pushing the Onstar phone button and asking the user to speak the nametag. The system then automatically dials the phone number stored in the car'"'"'s computer using a cell phone built into the car and minutes purchased from Onstar. GM has also implemented Bluetooth™ systems to dial the phone owned by the user by coupling the user'"'"'s cell phone to the car'"'"'s audio system and allowing the user to dial a number from a keypad displayed on the navigation system display of the vehicle or from the cell phone or cell phone address book. The audio of the call is played through the car'"'"'s audio system and a microphone in the car picks up the driver'"'"'s voice and couples it to the cell phone for transmission using the Bluetooth system. Ford and Microsoft are selling systems that rely on voice commands to dial phones. The systems that disable the cell phone using the GPS have caught the attention of the insurance companies because studies show that driving while talking on a cell phone is dangerous even if the driver is using a headset and has both hands on the wheel. One insurance company has said it will offer discounts to customers who use a call-blocking service to disable their phones. Other companies such as Aegis Mobility and obdEdge employ systems that place restrictions on phones based upon the phone'"'"'s GPS signal. data from the car itself or from nearby cell towers. Any incoming calls are routed to voice mail or a message explaining that the phone'"'"'s user is driving. Exceptions can be made for certain numbers. The exceptions are the only control the user of the cell phone has in these systems to allow a call to come through. This puts too much restriction on the driver to anticipate who might be calling and gives the driver no option to see the caller IDs of all incoming calls and decide whether or not to pull over and take the call or just take the call while driving and take the risk.
Another prior art feature found in some phones is called “Quick Text” and it features a menu from which the user can choose “canned” (already typed and stored in the phone) responses to send in response to a text message received. In a “Quick Text” capable phone, all the steps to reply to a text message must be done as they are normally done, but with a few extra keystrokes, the user can choose a message that has already been typed instead of having to type a reply message. That is, the user receives a notification that a text (SMS) message has arrived, does a keystroke or two to select the text application program and select the text message to view, does a keystroke to put the phone into reply mode but then the user may do another keystroke to open a menu of canned messages to send as a reply. Typically, this is a keystroke to select an “Options” icon (give a command to open a menu which includes a command “Add Quick Text”). Then another keystroke is required to select the “Add Quick Text” command. This keystroke brings up a list of canned messages that can be selected and sent such as “thanks”, “yes”, “no”, etc. One or more keystrokes or scrolling action or trackball action is then required to select the canned message to send and then another keystroke is required to put the canned message into the reply screen as the message to be sent. Then another keystroke is required to actually send the canned message just selected. That is quite a few keystrokes and requires too much attention to the phone, its display and its keypad. It would be too many keystrokes and diverted attention to do while driving and still drive safely.
There has therefore arisen a need for a simple, fast, safe way for the user of a cell phone who is driving to know who is calling or texting, and, with a single push of a button, send a pre-typed message to a text sender or a pre-recorded voice message to a caller who is calling in while the owner of a cell phone is driving or otherwise engaged if the driver chooses not to take the call or reply to the text while driving and chooses not to pull over and take the call or reply to the text.
A conventional cell phone, preferably one which displays the identity-of a caller or text sender who is in the address book of the owner of the cell phone, is modified to implement the teachings of the invention. The modification involves having either one or two new buttons on the phone or keypad (or one or two keystrokes of existing keys), hereafter sometimes referred to as Busy buttons, which can be pushed to automatically send a pre-typed text message and/or answer an incoming call and send a pre-recorded voice message to the caller if the Busy: Respond Later™ application has been launched and the user chooses not to immediately answer the text or phone call while driving or otherwise engaged. In some embodiments, the Busy: Respond Later™ application process might be launched manually by the user before he or she starts to drive, etc. In other embodiments, the Busy: Respond Later™ application process is automatically launched when the GPS of the phone senses the phone is moving at a speed faster than a user can walk. In other embodiments, the Busy: Respond Later™ application process is automatically launched when the phone is booted up. In the claims, the step of launching the Busy: Respond Later™ process is intended to cover at least all four of these embodiments for how the Busy: Respond Later™ process is launched.
The Busy: Respond Later™ button or buttons can either be a new button or buttons added to the phone or to the keypad of the phone, as is illustrated in the examples, or already existing buttons on the phone or keypad of the phone. In some embodiments, the outgoing message can be fixed such as “I am busy right now and will respond later”. In other embodiments, the outgoing automated message (text or voice message) can be selected by the user during configuration of the Busy: Respond Later application from a number of different “canned” messages supplied by the manufacturer of the phone. In other embodiments, the outgoing message or messages is a message that the user types in and/or records using a voice notes application, if the phone has one. In other embodiments, the outgoing Busy: Respond Later™ message may be established by the user by importing an MP3 file recorded on another device into the phone or by downloading a text message or voice message or both types of messages from a ringtone service or some other service like a ringtone service from which text and voice messages for the Busy: Respond Later™ application may be downloaded for free or for a fee. In configurable message embodiments, the user can pick the message to be sent or played before they get in the car and start driving or go on vacation or start a meeting.
A single button, context sensitive embodiment, can be implemented in “hot key” embodiments with two pre-existing keys on the cell phone keypad which must be pushed simultaneously for the Busy: Respond Later™ technology to be triggered. When the Busy: Respond Later™ technology is triggered, it sends an automated response to the sender of a text or the caller of an incoming call informing them of the busy status of the user of the cell phone.
Similar embodiments are implemented for two button embodiments where one button is used to automatically respond to an SMS message and another button is pushed to automatically answer an incoming call and respond with an appropriate message. Either or both of these buttons can be added to the phone or the existing keypad or they can be existing keys on the phone or keypad or they can be existing keys on the phone or keypad which will trigger the automated response only if another “hot key” on the phone or keypad is pushed simultaneously. The hot key embodiments are not favored since to push two buttons on a cell phone simultaneously in a moving car would probably require both hands which would be dangerous. However, the hot key and the other key could be located next to each other such that one finger can push both simultaneously.
In some embodiments, one button (or a hot key and another button) is pushed to respond automatically to a text message just received with a pre-typed message, and another button is pushed to answer an incoming call and play a pre-recorded message to the caller. These embodiments involve. in the case of an SMS message, automatically playing a macro (giving the appropriate series of commands) which makes the appropriate function calls to the operating system of the phone and/or application programmatic interface calls to the SMS application to do whatever is necessary to manipulate the SMS application. The series of functions performed by this “macro” are to: select the SMS message just received; put the SMS application in reply mode; put a pre-typed message in the keyboard buffer or wherever symbols typed from the keyboard are stored when an SMS message is composed; and give the operating system a send command to send the pre-typed message. In the case of an incoming phone call, the Busy: Respond Later™ macro makes the appropriate function calls to the operating system to: answer an incoming call; retrieve a digitized voice message and send that data to the processor buffer where digitized data from the cell phone'"'"'s microphone is stored; and send the data to the transceiver used to transmit voice data for a cell phone call; and automatically hang up the phone or route the call to voicemail.
In the preferred, context-sensitive embodiments, a single context-sensitive button is pushed (or a hot key and another button) which responds to a text message automatically if a text message has just been received, or answers and incoming call and responds by playing a pre-recorded message.
In one push, non-hot-key embodiments, a text message is automatically responded to after one push of a newly added SMS button or key or one push of a pre-existing button or key with a pre-typed reply message that the owner of the phone is busy driving or otherwise engaged and cannot respond to a text message which has just been received.
In one push non-hot-key embodiments, an incoming phone call is responded to automatically with a single button push of a newly added Busy: Respond Later™CALL button or key or a button or key which already exists on the phone or keyboard which causes the incoming call to be answered and a pre-recorded message played that informs the caller that the owner of the cell phone is busy and cannot speak with the caller at the moment.
The technology varies from phone to phone in terms of the type of software and the function calls made to manipulate the operating system, SMS application and phone call application which implements the Busy: Respond Later technology, referred to in the claims as an automated response application program. Basically, the Busy: Respond Later technology functions, when triggered, to do whatever is necessary on the host phone to give the appropriate commands to designate the text message to which an automated reply is being sent, select it and enter the reply mode, enter the pre-recorded text message and, finally, to automatically give the send command. In the case of an incoming phone call, the Busy: Respond Later technology, when triggered, makes whatever function calls are necessary to answer an incoming call automatically and play a pre-recorded message to the incoming caller and then hang up the phone or route it to voicemail. All processes which work for whatever phone the technology is implemented on are intended to be covered by the appended claims.
The message that is sent to respond to an incoming text just received or played to an incoming caller could be anything. “I am driving and cannot respond immediately” is one example.
The Busy: Respond Later technology 12 also comprises whatever circuitry and/or software which is necessary for the particular host cell phone to, in the case of an incoming text message: 1) receive the push of the Busy: Respond Later™ key; 2) select the text message which has just been received; 3) do whatever is necessary for the particular host cell phone in which the Busy: Respond Later™ technology is resident to put the cell phone in reply mode to reply to the text message just received; 4) do whatever is necessary for the particular host cell phone in which the Busy: Respond Later™ technology is resident to automatically enter characters of a reply text message that informs the sender of the text message that the recipient is busy and cannot respond immediately; and 5) do whatever is necessary for the particular host cell phone in which the Busy: Respond Later™ technology is resident to give the command to send the text message. Thus, a user of a cell phone can reply to an incoming text message automatically with a single push of a button, which can easily be accomplished while the user is driving or otherwise engaged and cannot respond to the text message just received safely or who simply does not wish to respond to the text message just received immediately. At least one example will be given below for specific cell phone technology.
In the case of an incoming phone call while the user of the cell phone is driving or otherwise does not wish to speak with the caller but wishes to tell the caller the user is busy and cannot speak with the caller at the moment, the Busy: Respond Later™ technology 12 comprises a button or “key” on the cell phone or on the “keypad” or “keyboard” of the cell phone which: 1) receives the push of the Busy: Respond Later™ key; 2) does whatever is necessary for the particular host cell phone in which the Busy: Respond Later™ technology is resident to answer the incoming phone call; 3) does whatever is necessary for the particular host cell phone in which the Busy: Respond Later™ technology is resident to play a pre-recorded message to the caller indicating that the user is driving or otherwise busy and cannot talk to the caller at the moment; and 4) does whatever is necessary for the particular host cell phone in which the Busy: Respond Later™ technology is resident to hang up the phone.
The terms “button,” “key,”“keypad” and “keyboard” in embodiments described herein include not only physical keys and keyboards such as are found on most cell phones such as the Blackberry™ smartphone but also on touch sensitive areas on the desktops or any display such as the display of the keyboard on touchscreen cell phones or smartphones such as the iPhone™.
There can be a single key for the Busy: Respond Later™ technology which is context sensitive and does whatever is necessary to respond to an incoming phone call or a text message which was just received, depending upon which was received, or there can be two keys, one to respond to text messages just received and one to respond to an incoming phone call.
A typical environment in which the teachings are employed is shown in
It is possible for text messages to be sent to a cell phone from a computer. For example, client computer 30 coupled to server 32 via LAN 33 can send a text message to cell phone 10 via an Internet Service Provider 38, the internet 34 and data router 18 in cell system 16. Link 38 represents both an ISP and some sort of physical layer modem to connect the server 32 to the internet such as a UVERSE™ modem, cable modem, satellite service modem, POTS dial up modem. etc. Text messages from cell phone 10 are packetized and sent back via the SMS channel of the cell system 16 (part of the control channel used for call setup), data router 18, internet 34 and ISP 38, server 32 to client computer 30. Some computers 36 are coupled to the internet 34 directly and not through a LAN such as by a wireless broadband USB card, cell phone acting as a modem or any other type modem supplied by an Internet Service Provider (ISP) such as UVERSE™, Comcast, etc.
Details of how cellular systems work can be found in Macario, Raymon, “Cellular Radio: Principles and Design” (McGraw Hill 1997).
Text messages of the Short Message Service or SMS are methods of communication that send text between cell phones or from a PC to a cell phone. SMS messages are limited to 160 characters total. Even if a person is not talking on their cell phone, the phone is constantly sending and receiving information. It is talking to its cell phone tower over a data pathway called a control channel modulated onto a radio carrier. The reason for this chatter is so that the cell phone knows which cell your phone is in so that it can be found for incoming calls or texts, and so that the cell phone can change cell towers as it moves around. Every so often, the phone and the tower exchange a packet of data that lets both of them know everything is in good working order and who is where in the cell system. This is called a handshake.
The cell phone also uses the control channel for call setup. When someone tries to call your phone, the cell tower sends your phone a message over the control channel telling your phone to play its ringtone. The tower in cell system 16 also gives your phone a pair of voice channel frequencies, one to transmit on and one to receive on, for full duplex communication. The control channel also provides the digital data pathway for SMS messages and router 18 which routes packets of digitized voice data and also routes packets of SMS data. Internet web browsing and e-mail are different digital data pathways that are separate from the data pathways used to send and receive digitized voice data and SMS messages. Data router 40 is actually in the web and e-mail data pathway of the cell system 16 and is used by the cell phone 10 to send and receive e-mail messages and to browse the worldwide web.
The cell system has a core network which includes a centralized SMSC (Short Message Switching Control—symbolized by router 18 in
In the embodiment of
Those skilled in the art appreciate how the hardware of the phone works so only brief explanation will be given here. Power is supplied by li-ion rechargeable battery 58 and a power management circuit 60 controls the charging of the battery and reporting its status. Circuit 62 is fusion flash nonvolatile memory and volatile dynamic random access RAM memory manufactured by Samsung. A quad band transceiver 64 implements GSM protocol RF transmission and reception so the phone can be used in GSM systems here and abroad for phone calls. A tri-band RF transceiver 66 does the transmitting and receiving of RF carriers modulated with digital data packets for web browsing, e-mail, etc. These transceivers receive transmit data from processor 54 and send received data to it.
Power amplifier 68 amplifies RF carriers modulated with GSM protocol voice data and is coupled to antenna 70. Power amplifiers 72 and 74 amplify transmitted and received RF carrier signals modulated by code division multiple access (CDMA) data for browsing, e-mail, etc.
LCD controller 76 allows processor 54 to control the phone'"'"'s display 78.
Still photograph camera and video camera 80 receives commands from processor 54 to snap pictures or take video and sends the captured photo or video data to processor 54.
Bluetooth transceiver 82 couples processor 54 to external devices such as car phone systems or Bluetooth headsets to allow phone calls to be heard through the car audio or a wireless external headset.
GPS receiver 84 receives GPS signals, determines the phone'"'"'s position and sends that data to processor 54.
802.11 a/b/g transceiver 86 allows the phone to couple wirelessly to the internet as a client computer through other than the cell system'"'"'s data path. PMIC wi-fi circuit 88 manages power for the wi-fi access process. Power amplifier 90 couples the wi-fi RF signals from wi-fi transceiver 86 to antenna 92 for 802.11a protocol signals in the 5 GHz band, and power amp 94 couples wi-fi 2.4 GHz RF signals from wi-fi transceiver 86 in the 801.11 b/g protocol.
The audio of phone calls and other audio from movies being played back is converted from digital to analog by Codec 96 and coupled to speaker 98, earpiece 100 and headphone jack 102.
SIM card 104 stores all the phones contacts and settings and identifies the user and the user'"'"'s account. It works only with GSM phones such as the iPhone and Blackberry and not with CDMA phones from Sprint or Verizon.
Controller chip 106 establishes a USB 2.0 interface for a micro-USB port 108 on the phone so that data and photos can be uploaded from the phone to a computer and for a Micro SD slot 110 so that an auxiliary memory card can be inserted in the phone.
Microphone 112 and analog-to-digital converter 114 convert voice sound waves to analog signals and analog signals to digital data for processor 54 to use in phone calls, recording voice notes, taking movies, etc.
General Packet Radio Services (GPRS) is an older wireless network data transfer protocol for smartphones that is a packet based communication service. It is a 2.5G protocol that was the standard till recently. It is a packet-switched, always-on connection that remains active as long as the phone is within range of a tower. It allows the smartphone to do things like run applications remotely over the network, interface with the internet, participate in instant messenger sessions. act as a wireless modem for a computer and transmit and receive e-mails. It is limited to 114 kilobytes per second, so it has been replaced by Enhanced Data GSM Environment (EDGE) protocols which can transmit at 384 kbps, but it is still a 2.5G protocol. 3G protocols transmit data in megabits per second (some as fast as 10 Mbps) and are taking over. Some US carriers such as Sprint™ offer 3G protocols (EVDO). NTT DoCoMo Inc. tested a 4G protocol Feb. 9, 2007 that is 500 times faster than 3G protocols, and those protocols will eventually take over. The teachings of the invention may be employed in all these protocols.
The Modified Software Stack Architecture
The typical software of a smartphone can be visualized as a stack. At each layer of the stack there are programs and application programmatic interfaces or APIs. APIs provide access to functions of a program invoked through its API without the programmer of the calling program needing to know the details of the structure and operation of the called program.
At the lowest level is the kernel 160. The kernel is the operating system which implements management systems for processes and some drivers for hardware. The kernel of a cell phone, among other things, manages the hardware circuitry and software resources for the keyboard, the display screen or touchscreen, the address book, the phone dialer, the battery and the network connection. The operating system provides a stable, consistent interface for application programs on the application layer 168 including the Busy: Respond Later™ application 169 to deal with the hardware of the smartphone without having to know the hardware circuitry of the particular smartphone upon which the application is resident.
To the extent power on self test code and BIOS code are used in cell phone operating systems as they are in desktop computers, the kernel implements these functions as code stored in nonvolatile memory such as ROM or FLASH memory. A bootstrap loader code section may also be stored in nonvolatile memory and functions to load the kernel or operating system into memory of the phone to take over further processing, set up divisions of memory that hold the operating system, user information and applications and it establishes data structures to hold the myriad of signals, flags and semaphores needed to communicate within and between the subsystems and applications of the computer. Finally, it turns control over to the operating system kernel 160 which, inter alia, performs processor management, memory management, device management, storage management, application programmatic interface and user interface functions. These functions of the kernel also allow the user of the phone to multitask and run more than one application at a time. When an application like the Busy: Respond Later™ application is running, it may cause several other processes to launch simultaneously such as launching the text messaging function (possibly on layer 162 or possibly one of the functions of the kernel 160—the layer is not important) and memory access or storage I/O process to retrieve the configuration file data. if a configuration file is used, and to retrieve the pre-typed text message designated to be sent when the Busy key (SMS) 50 or Busy key (Context Sensitive) 120 is pushed. The Busy: Respond Later™ application is a process in the operating system sense of the word meaning it is software that performs the designated action and it can be controlled by the user, other application or by the operating system. The kernel 160 schedules processor time for the Busy: Respond Later application and suspends it when necessary to run other processes or handle interrupts. Interrupts are signals sent to the processor by hardware or software to cause the kernel to handle some need of the sender of the interrupt. To allow multiple processes to appear to run on the phone simultaneously, the kernel switches between different processes thousands of times per second. Each process uses a certain amount of RAM, and uses registers, stacks and queues within the processor and operating system memory to do its process. The kernel allocates a certain number of processor cycles to the process. When those cycles are expended. the kernel switches processes by allocating a certain number of processor cycles to the new process, making a copy of all the registers, stacks, flags and queues used by the process being suspended (process #1) and noting the point in process #1 where execution was suspended (making a copy of the program counter). Process #2 is then started by loading the registers, stacks, queues, flags previously stored for process #2 and setting the program counter at the count at which it was suspended when process #2 was last suspended. After process #2 completes its allocated number of processor cycles, its registers, stacks, queues, flags and program count are copied and the process #1 is restored by bringing the copies of the registers, stacks, queues, flags and program count back into the appropriate registers and memory locations. Each process has a process control block with an ID for the process, pointers to the locations in the program and its data where processing last occurred, register contents, states of various flags and switches, pointers to the upper and lower bounds in memory required for the process, a list of files opened by the process, a priority of the process and the status of all input/output devices needed by the process.
Each process has a status associated with it. Many processes consume no processor time until they get some sort of input such as a keystroke from the user. The Busy: Respond Later™ application is an example of such a process. Until the Busy key is pushed, the Busy: Respond Later™ application 169 does not do anything. While it is waiting, it is “suspended” and all the information in the process control block for the Busy: Respond Later™ application'"'"'s process is maintained. The process control block may be created in some embodiments, when the Busy: Respond Later™ application is launched just before the driver starts driving or attending a meeting that is not to be interrupted. In other embodiments, the Busy: Respond Later™ application does not launch until the Busy key is pushed.
The kernel also does memory management by setting up memory boundaries for each process and using the various types of memory such as cache, RAM, virtual memory and nonvolatile memory such as flash or disk drives (if present).
Drivers on the various layers like layer 166 are programs that act as translators between the electrical signals of the circuitry in the phone such as the keyboard and display and the high level programming instructions of the operating system. Drivers take data that the kernel 160 has defined as a file and translates the data into streams of bits stored in specific locations on storage devices as a series of laser pulses in a printer. In the case of the Busy: Respond Later™ application, a driver program in layer 166 takes the pre-recorded text file 171 to be sent when the Busy key (SMS) 50 or Busy key (Context Sensitive) 120 is pushed and places it in the keyboard buffer 175 when the Busy: Respond Later™ application sends API function calls to the kernel asking it to activate the text messaging application and send a text message. The keyboard buffer 175 is used by the operating system to feed characters to the text messaging packetization process when that process is activated. The characters of the pre-recorded text message are then fed into the text message packetization process from the keyboard buffer 175 under command of the operating system as fast as the text message packetization process can handle the characters and when it needs them. The text message packetization process builds a control packet having the pre-recorded text message therein and sends it. More details of this will be explained below.
The operating system kernel 160 can be anything such as the operating systems provided by Research in Motion for the Blackberry™ smartphone, Windows Mobile™, the iPhone™ operating system, the Palm™ operating system for any of its smartphones or, preferably, the open source operating system Android™ for the Google smartphone. The operating system controls the hardware circuitry shown in block diagrams of
At the next level up in the software architecture of
The libraries of software layer 162 are sets of instructions that control the smartphone operating system, microprocessor and other hardware to handle different kinds of data. For example, the media framework library contains instructions controlling how the operating system controls the hardware of the phone to support playback and recording of various audio,. video and picture formats. Think of the libraries as specialists in specific tasks and the operating system as a generalist that knows how to control the hardware assets of the phone to carry out the instructions given by the specialist library. There is likely to be a library to handle text messaging and a library to handle phone functions such as answer a call, play a voicemail message, hang up the call, answer an incoming call or ignore an incoming call during an ongoing call, etc. These text and phone functions may be incorporated into the kernel 160 in some embodiments since they are so much an intrinsic part of what every cell phone does and not special add on functions such as video recording, audio recording, audio playback and web browsing. Web browsing is usually a library and not built into the operating system in most embodiments.
The middleware libraries use the hardware circuits of the-phone to accomplish their functions by making Application Programmatic Interface (API) function calls to the kernel 160. For example, a web browser application can request a web page by making an appropriate function call to the kernel commanding it to address the data communication interface circuitry and cause it to transmit out to the internet a Uniform Resource Locator (URL) passed to the kernel with the API function call. Each library of the middleware layer itself has an API which allows the kernel to call the middleware library and pass it commands or data received from other circuits in the cell phone.
The next level up in the stack or even at the same layer as the middleware libraries is the Application Execution Environment (AEE) 164 is a layer of tools which allows developers to create their own programs. In the Android operating system, AEE layer 164 is at the same layer as the middleware libraries 162 and comprises a set of core JAVA libraries that Android application program developers use to develop application programs for the phone. Application programs for the phone are like the software programs you use on your computer to do specific things like recording voice memos. browse the internet, send and receive e-mail. send and receive text messages. On some cell phones such as the Blackberry™ or iPhone™ smartphones, applications do things like GPS navigation, finding the closest parking structure or restaurant, remembering where you parked your car and pointing it out on a Google map, etc. Some of these functions like GPS navigation, etc. may also be on the application layer 168. Basically, functions of the phone may be put on various layers such as the application layer or middleware library layer, but some are more appropriate for certain layers rather than others. It does not matter for purposes of the invention which layer upon which specific functions needed for the various embodiments are implemented. The particular layer a function is on is not at this time thought to be critical to the invention. For example, texting may be on the application layer 168, in the kernel 160, in the middleware libraries 162 or the runtime Java libraries.
The AEE layer 164 may include the GSM radio frequency transmitter driver or CDMA radio frequency transmitter driver also in some embodiments although that function may also be incorporated into the kernel or other layers. Generally functions that may be improved or altered or which processes (2.5G to 3G for example) are implemented separately from the kernel so that when changes or improvements are made, the entire operating system does not have to be propagated again with the changes to all the machines which use it. These RF transmission and modulation functions are more likely to be on the AEE layer in the Android operating system since the Android kernel is designed to support hardware from different manufacturers and some of them use GSM protocol (AT&T) and some use CDMA protocol (Sprint).
In the Android operating system, the runtime layer 162 also includes a library that implements the Dalvik Virtual Machine. A virtual machine is a software application that behaves as if it were an independent device with its own operating system. A virtual machine can emulate a computer that runs on an entirely different OS than the OS of the host machine running the virtual machine application. That is how Macs can display a Windows XP machine desktop and run Windows applications when running the Parallels™ application. The Android kernel uses virtual machines to run each application program as its own separate process. This allows each application to run without dependence on any other, and prevents the crash of one application from crashing any other applications simultaneously running in their own virtual machines. Running a separate virtual machine for every application also simplifies memory management for the kernel. In some embodiments, the text messaging. phone functions and Busy: Respond Later™ processes are each run on their own separate virtual machine running on the underlying platform, especially if the kernel 160 is Android™ OS.
The next level in the stack is a user interface and application framework 166 which is a set of programs that cooperate with the operating system to implement the basic functions of the phone and its user interface (drive and read the display, keyboard, trackball or other pointing device, etc.). Layer 166 includes a display manager program in some embodiments that is tightly tied to the kernel 160 and manages the phone display for the kernel. Such basic functions as resource allocation, telephone applications, switching between processes or programs and keeping track of the phone'"'"'s physical location are done at this layer 166 in the embodiments using the Android kernel and in many other embodiments. The application framework 166 can be thought of as a set of basic tools which application developers can access to build higher level and more complex applications on the application layer 168 and for the Busy: Respond Later™ application 169. Although the Busy: Respond Later™ application 169 is shown as its own layer in
The programs on application framework layer 166 include software that renders the graphics and layouts seen on the display. Basically, this layer of software, in most embodiments, includes drivers and interfaces with the display, keyboard and pointing device and may provide I/O services to all the other memory and storage devices in the phone. Memory and storage device I/O services and drivers may be included in the kernel 160 in some embodiments.
Finally, there is the application suite 168. This software layer represents the software applications that implement various basic functions the user can invoke such as making phone calls or receiving them, accessing the web browser, accessing the contacts list or address book, etc. Some of the basic applications of the Sprint Blackberry™ phone, represented by icons on the desktop are: launching the web browser and sending it a URL to direct it to the Sprint™ software store, making entries on calendars, setting alarms, reading and sending e-mail, receiving and sending text messages via SMS (if this function is not in the kernel), making and receiving phone calls (if this function is not in the kernel), using GPS navigation, performing instant messaging, locking the phone keyboard, performing media playback, performing web browsing (if not on the library layer 162), viewing an automatically compiled log of incoming and outgoing calls, viewing live TV, displaying a map, etc.
A barebones system to practice the invention only needs the kernel and I/O services software for the memory or storage device in which pre-typed text messages or outgoing voice messages are stored, display, keyboard and pointing device drivers and the protocol layer or library or application that implements text message functions and phone functions such that a predefined text or voice message may be sent by a touch of a button to the sender of an incoming text or the caller of an incoming phone call.
The Busy: Respond Later™ Application Process
The Busy: Respond Later™ application (BRL process) and its Application Programmatic Interface (API) is shown at 169 in
As a specific example of how, in some embodiments, the BRL process 169 creates pre-recorded text files 171 or pre-recorded voice files 181 consider the following. Suppose a pre-recorded voice file 181 is to be created by the BRL app (hereafter Busy app) 169 using a voice notes application on layer 168. The BRL app 169 makes one or more function calls to the API of the kernel asking it to activate the voice notes application and create a file with a specific name into which the pre-recorded voice message is to be recorded. Suppose the kernel provides an API function named MakeFile for creating files. When writing the part of the BRL app 169 program that creates the pre-recorded voice message file 181, the programmer would insert a line that looks like this:
MakeFile [1, % Name, 2]
In this example, the instruction tells the operating system 160 to create a file that will allow random access to its data (signified by the 1—the other option might be 0 for a serial file). will have a name typed in by the user (% Name) and will be a size that varies depending on how much data is stored in the file (signified by the 2—other options might be zero for a fixed size, and 1 for a file that grows as data is added but does not shrink when data is removed). The following is what the operating system does to turn the instruction into action.
The operating system 160 sends a query to the memory management function of the kernel 160 to get the location of the first available free storage location.
With that information, the operating system creates an entry in the file system of the cell phone showing the beginning and ending locations of the file, the name of the file, the file type. whether the file has been archived, which users have permission to look at or modify the file, and the date and time of the file'"'"'s creation.
The operating system writes information at the beginning of the file that identifies the file, sets up the type of access possible and includes other information that ties the file to the application. In all of this information, the queries to the disk drive and addresses of the beginning and ending point of the file are in formats heavily dependent on the manufacturer and model of the phone.
Because the programmer has written the program to use the API for disk storage, the programmer doesn'"'"'t have to keep up with the instruction codes, data types and response codes for every possible phone and memory structure. The operating system, connected to drivers for the various hardware subsystems, deals with the changing details of the hardware. The programmer must simply write code for the API and trust the operating system to do the rest.
Although the text files 171 and voice files 181 and configuration file 179 and Busy keys 50, 52 and 120 are shown as connected to the Busy: Respond Later™ application, these are logical data paths only. In reality, the Busy: Respond Later™ application creates these files, accesses and reads the files, displays information on the display and reads the keyboard and Busy keys through the operating system kernel and its API 160 and the user interface driver framework and its API 166 and drivers on layer 166 that do storage input/output (I/O). Layer 166 includes drivers for the display and keyboard and pointer device and storage such as RAM or FLASH memory of the smartphone. Preferably, the pre-recorded text and voice messages in files 171 and 181 are stored in non-volatile memory. All the circuits shown in
Now suppose a text message is received while driving or in a meeting and the user of the phone presses the Busy key 50 (SMS) (
Step 204 in
Before functions recited in step 204 happen, there are other events that occur, and the details of one or more examples follow. Those skilled in the art appreciate that there is more than one way to cause the basic function of step 204 to occur and what follows is only one or more examples. The claims where the broad functions of step 208 are stated are to be interpreted to cover all the various ways of accomplishing the function of step 208 since they are all structurally and functionally equivalent.
First, the fact that the Busy key 50 (SMS) has been pushed is detected by the keypad controller 56 in
The detection of the push of the Busy key 50 (SMS) (
The BRL process 169 responds by retrieving the text message to be automatically sent and causing it to be sent. This step itself involves several substeps. First, the BRL process 169 makes a function call to the kernel requesting access to configuration file 179 (if present) so the particular text message to be sent can be determined. This results in the kernel making a function call to the API of the storage I/O driver on layer 166 requesting configuration file 179 be provided to the BRL process 169. This results in the contents of configuration file 179 being sent to the BRL process 169, which reads it and determines which of the pre-recorded text messages to send. The BRL process 169 then makes a function call to the kernel'"'"'s API requesting access to the particular one of pre-recorded text files 171 which is to be sent which results, by a similar process, in the contents of the text file being sent to the BRL process 169. If the embodiment in question is not configurable and only one pre-recorded text message is available to send, the steps of first accessing the configuration file and then accessing whatever file it points to can be omitted. In such one message only embodiments, the text to be sent can be stored in the BRL app 169 and no access to files stored elsewhere on the phone need be made. Step 204 should be interpreted to cover all of these possible embodiments.
In order for the BRL process 169 to send the pre-recorded text message, it must cause the text messaging application to be launched. select the most recent text message received, send the pre-recorded text message to the text messaging process and cause the send command to be given. To accomplish these functions, step 204 represents the steps of sending a function call to the kernel to request it to launch the text messaging process. Normally, the user launches the text messaging process by manipulating the track ball or the touchscreen to select the text messaging icon on the desktop or by pushing some other key or combination of keys on the keypad. Regardless of the type of phone or keypad controller or touchscreen controller, whatever is done on the particular phone involved to launch the text messaging function results in a function call to the API of the kernel. The BRL process 169 automatically makes that same function call to the kernel that the keypad controller and its driver would normally make to launch the text messaging process when the user does what they normally do on the phone to launch the text messaging process. Next the BRL process 169 makes whatever function call the keypad controller or touchscreen controller would make to select the most recent text message received. On a Blackberry™ smartphone where the messaging application records all incoming and outgoing text messages and phone calls, the user must roll the trackball to the text message to which a reply is to be sent. Since there will be many text messages on the message log usually, and they will be mixed in with message logs of phone calls received and made, some human intelligence is involved. The user must look at the message log, mentally select the text message to which a reply is to be sent, roll the trackball to it and press the trackball to select the message and press the trackball again to bring up a menu of things the user can do with the message, e.g., copy, reply, forward, delete. Then the user must roll the trackball down to the reply command and press the trackball again to put the text messaging process into reply mode. All this manual processing is replaced in the BRL process by making a function call to the kernel'"'"'s API and asking for the contents of the message log to be sent to the BRL process 169. This file will have entries in it for incoming phone calls, outgoing phone calls, incoming texts and outgoing texts. The BRL process 169 (
The text message application then packetizes the pre-recorded text message received from the BRL process into control packets which include header information about which text message the packetized text message is a reply. These packets containing the automated text message reply are then sent with a function call to the kernel 160 (
Now suppose while the user of the phone is driving, an incoming phone call occurs. The cell phone displays the caller ID and the user typically will look at it to determine who is calling. If the caller is sufficiently important to the user. the user may choose to pull over and answer the call normally and talk to the caller. However, if the user chooses to keep driving instead of taking the call. the user presses the Busy key 52 (Call) in
Before the functions of step 208 happen, other events occur and the details of one or more examples thereof follow. Those skilled in the art appreciate that there is more than one way to cause the basic function of step 208 to occur and what follows is only one or more examples thereof. The claims where the broad functions of step 208 are stated are to be interpreted to cover all the various ways of accomplishing the function of step 208 since they are all structurally and functionally equivalent.
First, the fact that the Busy key 52 (Call) has been pushed is detected by the keypad controller 56 in
The BRL process 169 responds by retrieving the digitized data of the automated reply voice message to be automatically sent and causing it to be played to the caller as an automated response to the incoming call. This step itself involves several substeps. First, in configurable embodiments, the BRL process 169 makes a function call to the kernel requesting access to configuration file 179 shown in
To actually play the automated voice response to the caller, the BRL app 169 makes the same function call or calls that would be made if the user were to push whatever button exists on the phone to answer an incoming call. Typically that would be a function call to the kernel from the keypad controller'"'"'s driver software 166 to indicate that the user has pushed the button that needs to be pushed to answer the call. This results in the kernel making whatever function calls it normally makes to control the phone'"'"'s phone call circuitry and transmitters to answer the call, and start transmitting and receiving on the channels designated by the control packet from the cell tower designating the channel frequencies for send and receive and telling the phone to play its ringtone. The BRL process then makes whatever function calls are necessary to copy the digitized voice data of the automated voice message reply into the outgoing voice message buffer 177 in
In step 216, the Busy app 169 (
The BRL app 169 then retrieves the digitized data of the automated voice in the manner previously described and causes it to be played to the caller in the manner previously described. In some embodiments, step 216 includes the step of making whatever function calls and doing whatever is necessary on the host cell phone to divert an incoming cellular call to voicemail after playing the pre-recorded audio message retrieved by the BRL app 169 so that the caller can leave a message regarding what he or she was calling about. One such embodiment is depicted in
It is useful to have the automated response system do everything that needs to be done with just a single push of a button to send an automated response including launching the Busy application. The embodiments of
Step 220 represents the process of the keyboard driver software 166 (
Step 224 symbolizes the process carried out by the Busy app of responding to the API function call by the kernel by launching the appropriate text messaging or cell call process, as appropriate based upon the status information sent by the kernel as to whether a text has just been received or a cell call is currently ringing the phone.
If a text message has just been received, step 226 is performed by the Busy app to retrieve the automated text message response and to cause this automated message to be sent in response to the text message just received. The details of this step and alternatives are the same as previously discussed in the discussion of step 214 in
If an incoming phone call is currently ringing the cell phone, the Busy application responds to the function call by the kernel by performing step 228. In this step, the Busy app makes a function call to the kernel to cause it to answer the call. This function call is the same one made by the keyboard driver 166 (
The Busy app then also (step 228 continued) retrieves the digital data of the automated voice message to be played and causes it to be played by the kernel to the caller as an automated response to the incoming phone call. Typically, this is done by sending the digitized voice data (already compressed) to the kernel which makes a function call to the cell phone call process and sends it the compressed voice data. The cell phone process has a packetization process which takes the compressed voice data of the automated voice message and puts it into packets in the format (GSM, TDMA, etc.) used by the cell phone networks cellular call data path in the same way the outgoing voicemail announcement message is transmitted. The packets containing the “I am busy and cannot take your call right now” type message are then transmitted on the cellular network'"'"'s cell phone data path and are routed via the other pathways discussed in
It may be frustrating for callers to hear only the automated voice message and not be able to leave a message saying what they are calling about. To alleviate that, the Busy app also performs the following function in step 228. After the automated “I am busy” voice message is transmitted, the Busy app then makes whatever function call to the API of the kernel as is necessary to divert the call directly into voicemail. The resulting processing will then be similar to the processing which results when the user receives an incoming phone call and presses the ignore button except that at this point, the call has already been answered and the transmitter and receiver have already been set up on the frequencies designated in the control packet that instructed the phone to sound its ringtone. The resulting function calls cause the kernel to take the digital data in the packets that contain the digitized voice of the incoming caller and store them in a voicemail file created by the kernel with metadata in the header of the file that indicates the caller'"'"'s name if the caller ID is not blocked and is in the phone'"'"'s address book, and which also indicates the date and the time of the call.
The process of
Step 232 represents the process of the keyboard driver 166 (
The Busy keys 50 (SMS) and 52 (Call) can be new buttons added anywhere on the phone or displayed anywhere on any touchscreen display, preferably the home display (the first one shown when the touchscreen is activated from sleep). They can also be existing keys on the keypad, preferably ones that can be found by feel without looking at the keypad such as the spacebar, or existing keys on the keypad which need to be pushed simultaneously with a hot key which can be another key on the keypad. Preferably, the Busy keys 50 (SMS) and 52 (Call) are buttons which have been added to the sides, top or bottom edges of the phone to make them easy to find by feel without having to look at the phone.
The term “push” should be interpreted to mean one or more pushes of the Busy key (SMS) 50 or one or more pushes of the Busy key (Call) 52. The reason for requiring multiple pushes of the Busy key within a given time or inquiring when the last text message was received or whether an incoming call is ringing the phone currently is to prevent accidental Busy key pushes while the phone is being carried from launching the Busy application and sending spurious text messages that the user is busy or driving when that is not the case. Some embodiments may require only a single push. In these embodiments, the steps 236 and 238 are performed to ensure that the push of the Busy key was not spurious. Step 236 is a process carried out by the Busy app 169 (
Other embodiments, symbolized by the flowchart of
Returning to the consideration of
Step 236 represents the process carried out by the Busy app 169 (
The embodiment of
Although the invention has been disclosed in terms of the preferred and alternative embodiments disclosed herein, those skilled in the art will appreciate that modifications and improvements may be made without departing from the scope of the invention. For example, the functions described herein can be performed by any piece of software on any layer of