updated 03:40 pm EDT, Fri October 12, 2007
iPhone-like MS patent
Microsoft has filed a continuation application for an existing patent describing a user-interface similar to the one used by Apple's iPhone. Microsoft's application, titled "Extensible, filtered lists for mobile device user interface," aims to provide an improved user interface for mobile devices by providing access to data as well as services from multiple software applications through a group or list of items. "Each group or list can include multiple items, which can be associated with data or tasks from multiple applications," the patent filing reads. "The set of groups of items can be both customizable and extensible to allow users to locate and utilize data and tasks relevant to the particular user. The set of item groups can provide users with a filtered view of content available through the mobile device, enhancing access to subset of data and tasks available on the mobile device."
Microsoft's invention is designed to serve as a system that facilitates navigation on a mobile device, blurring the view of an item to signal the transition from a parent list to a shortcut list in response to received input. The interface is designed to manage multiple lists in this way, offering shortcuts based on user input while displaying at least a portion of the parent list in the background to provide context for the shortcut list.
Shortcuts are displayed as a vertical list or grid, and display component color codes items in the list alongside arrows to support scrolling.
"Mobile or portable devices have become increasingly popular and prevalent in today's society. Many users utilize a mobile device, such as a cell phone, as their primary means of communication and carry such devices with them constantly. Mobile devices can include multiple functions such as cellular phone service, voice over Internet protocol ('VoIP') phone service, software applications, email access, Internet capabilities, calendar functions, music players and the like," the filing states.
"Functions, features and capabilities have increased both the utility and complexity of mobile devices. It is likely that functions will continue to be added to mobile devices further increasing both usefulness and intricacy."
The patent specifically lists smartphones and personal digital assistants (PDAs) as prime candidates for the improved menu system, and offers an example of storing frequently-accessed contacts in a list that provides access to information for those contacts while maintaining access through the contacts application itself.
[First noted by dialaphone]