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Multi-screen email client

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20120290946 patent thumbnailZoom

Multi-screen email client


An email client having multiple screens that may be displayed in different corresponding ones of a plurality of different display portions of a handheld electronic device. The screens of the email client may be related by way of a dependency relationship and/or may provide for control between the various screens. In one embodiment, the email client includes a folder management screen, a message listing screen, a message detail screen, and an attachment screen. Additionally, the email client may be responsive to received gesture inputs to navigate with respect to the screens and/or perform actions with respect to one or more elements (e.g., messages) of the various screens.

Browse recent Imerj LLC patents - Broomfield, CO, US
Inventors: Rodney Schrock, Sanjiv Sirpal, Alexander de Paz, Aaron VonderHaar, Martin Gimpl, Salvador Soto, Stanley Kurdziel, Paul Webber, Paul Reeves
USPTO Applicaton #: #20120290946 - Class: 715752 (USPTO) - 11/15/12 - Class 715 
Data Processing: Presentation Processing Of Document, Operator Interface Processing, And Screen Saver Display Processing > Operator Interface (e.g., Graphical User Interface) >Computer Supported Collaborative Work Between Plural Users >Interactive Email

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The Patent Description & Claims data below is from USPTO Patent Application 20120290946, Multi-screen email client.

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CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application claims priority to U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 61/458,150 filed Nov. 17, 2010 entitled “DUAL SCREEN EMAIL CLIENT”, the entirety of which is incorporated by reference herein.

BACKGROUND

As the computing and communication functions of handheld computing devices become more powerful, the user interface and display elements of such devices have evolved by attempting to adapt user interface regimes developed for personal computers for use with handheld computing devices. However, the attempt to adapt prior user interface regimes has been met with various hurdles.

For instance, many current handheld computing devices make use of a physical keypad for user interface. Many different implementations of physical keypads exist that vary in orientation and relationship to the device screen. However, in every case the physical keypads take up a certain percentage of the physical space of the device and increase the weight of the device. In addition to the disadvantages of size and weight, physical keypads are not configurable in the same manner as a touch screen based user interface. While certain limited forms of physical keypads currently have, on the keys themselves, configurable displays, such as eInk or OLED surfaces, to allow for reconfiguration of the keys, even in these cases, the physical layout of keys is not modifiable. Rather, only the values associated with the physical keys on the keypad may be changed.

Other methods may provide increased user configurability of physical keypads. These methods may include stickers and/or labels that can be added to keys to reference modified functions or plastic overlays on top of the keypad denoting different functional suites. For instance, the ZBoard keyboard, meant for laptop or desktop computer use, incorporates a dual layered physical keyboard which separates the keys and their layout from the connections which send signals to the machine. As such, different physical keyboard inserts for different applications can be inserted into a holder allowing full configurability such that the orientation and layout of the keys in addition to their denotation of function is configurable. This model could be extended to handheld computing devices; however, the rate at which such a modular keypad can change functions is much slower and more labor intensive than with a touch screen user interface. Furthermore, for each potential functional suite, an additional physical key layout must be carried by the user, greatly increasing the overall physical size and weight of such implementations. One advantage of a physical keypad for handheld computing devices is that the user input space is extended beyond the user display space such that none of the keys themselves, the housing of the keys, a user\'s fingers, or a pointing device obscure any screen space during user interface activities.

A substantial number of handheld computing devices make use of a small touch screen display to deliver display information to the user and to receive inputs from the user interface commands. In this case, while the configurability of the device may be greatly increased and a wide variety of user interface options may be available to the user, this flexibility comes at a price. Namely, such arrangements require shared screen space between the display and the user interface. While this issue is shared with other types of touch screen display/user interface technology, the relatively small form factor of handheld computing devices results in a tension between the displayed graphics and area provided for receiving inputs. For instance, the small display further constrains the display space, which may increase the difficulty of interpreting actions or results while a keypad or other user interface scheme is laid overtop or to the side of the applications in use such that the application is squeezed into an even smaller portion of the display. Thus a single display touch screen solution, which solves the problem of flexibility of the user interface may create an even more substantial set of problems of obfuscation of the display, visual clutter, and an overall conflict of action and attention between the user interface and the display.

Single display touch screen devices thus benefit from user interface flexibility, but are crippled by their limited screen space such that when users are entering information into the device through the display, the ability to interpret information in the display can be severely hampered. This problem is exacerbated in several key situations when complex interaction between display and interface is required, such as when manipulating layers on maps, playing a game, or modifying data received from a scientific application, etc. This conflict between user interface and screen space severely limits the degree to which the touch based user interface may be used in an intuitive manner.

SUMMARY

A first aspect includes a multi-screen email client executable on a handheld electronic device having at least a first display portion and a second display portion. The email client includes a first user interface screen portion displayable on the first display portion and a second user interface screen portion displayable on the second display portion. The first user interface screen portion and the second user interface screen portion are related by way of a dependency relationship therebetween and are operable to provide functionality related to the email client.

A number of feature refinements and additional features are applicable to the first aspect. These feature refinements and additional features may be used individually or in any combination. As such, each of the following features that will be discussed may be, but are not required to be, used with any other feature or combination of features of the first aspect.

For example, the first display portion and the second display portion may be distinct display devices of the handheld device.

In one embodiment, one of the first and second user interface screen portions may be operable to at least partially control the execution of another of the first and second user interface screen portions. For example, one of the first and second user interface screen portions may include an input screen that is operable to receive inputs from a user for control of another of the first and second user interface screen portions. The input screen may be a keyboard screen.

In one embodiment, the first and second user interface screen portions may include different respective ones of a folder management screen, a message listing screen, a message detail screen, and an attachment screen. The folder management screen, the message listing screen, the message detail screen, or the attachment screen may define a hierarchical application sequence. Accordingly, the hierarchical application sequence may be navigable by a user to display at least a different one of the screens of the hierarchical application sequence on at least one of the first or second display portions in response to a user input. Additionally, the first user interface screen portion may include an indicator regarding a portion of the first user interface screen portion to which the second user interface screen portion corresponds.

In one embodiment, at least one of the first and second user interface screen portions may be a message listing screen, and a plurality of messages appearing in the message listing screen may be sortable by at least one of a sender, a subject matter, or a time of receipt. In another embodiment, at least one of the first and second user interface screen portions may be a message listing screen, and a plurality of messages appearing in the message listing screen may be selectable in order to perform an action on the selected messages collectively. In still another embodiment, at least one of the first and second user interface screen portions may be a message detail screen, and an element of the message detail screen may be responsive to a user input to initiate an action with respect to the element. The action may be indicated by way of a change in appearance of the element of the message detail screen. For example, the element may be an attachment bar and the action may include downloading an attached file corresponding to the attachment bar such that the appearance of the attachment bar may correspond to a status of the downloading of the attached file. In yet another embodiment, at least one of the first and second user interface screen portions may be a message detail screen, and the message detail screen may be selectively modifiable to invert the color of text and a background of a message displayed in the message detail screen. Further still, at least one of the first and second user interface screen portions may be a message detail screen, and the message detail screen may be selectively viewable in a full screen mode such that at least one element of the message detail screen is removed when displayed in the full screen mode.

In another embodiment, an indication may be presentable to user upon loss of connectivity with an email server with which an email account is associated.

A second aspect includes a method of operation of a multi-screen email client. The method includes executing the multi-screen email client on a handheld electronic device having at least a first display portion and a second display portion and displaying a first user interface screen portion on the first display portion and a second user interface screen on the second display portion. The first user interface screen portion and the second user interface screen portion are related by way of a dependency relationship therebetween. The method further includes receiving inputs from a user with respect to the first user interface screen portion on the first display portion and with respect to the second user interface screen portion on the second display portion and controlling the execution of the email client in response to the receiving.

A number of feature refinements and additional features are applicable to the second aspect. These feature refinements and additional features may be used individually or in any combination. As such, each of the following features that will be discussed may be, but are not required to be, used with any other feature or combination of features of the second aspect.

For example, in one embodiment, the first display portion and the second display portion may be distinct display devices of the handheld device.

In one embodiment, the method may further include affecting the execution of one of the first and second user interface screen portions in response to receiving inputs from a user with respect to another of the first and second user interface portions. One of the first and second user interface screen portions may includes an input screen operable to receive inputs from a user for affecting at least a portion of another of the first and second user interface screen portions. For example, the input screen may be a keyboard screen.

In various embodiments, the first and second user interface screen portion may be different respective ones of a folder management screen, a message listing screen, a message detail screen, or an attachment screen. The folder management screen, the message listing screen, the message detail screen, and the attachment screen may define a hierarchical application sequence. The method may further include navigating the hierarchical application sequence to display at least a different one of the screens of the hierarchical screen progression on at least one of the first or second display portions in response to the receiving of a user input. The method may also include indicating to a user a portion of the first user interface screen portion to which the second user interface screen portion corresponds.

In one embodiment, at least one of the first and second user interface screen portions may be the message listing screen, and a plurality of messages appearing in the message listing screen may be sortable by at least one of a sender, a subject matter, or a time of receipt. In another embodiment, at least one of the first and second user interface screen portions may be the message detail screen, and the method may further include initiating an action with respect to an element of the message detail screen in response to the receiving a user input and changing the appearance of the element of the message detail screen in response to the initiating. For example, the element may be an attachment bar and the action includes downloading an attached file corresponding to the attachment bar, and the appearance of the attachment bar may correspond to a status of the downloading of the attached file.

The method may further include receiving a gesture input from the user and, in response to receiving the gesture input, performing an action with respect to a message. The gesture input may include a long press gesture received with respect to a message displayed in at least one of a message listing screen or a message details screen, and the action may includes displaying a contextual menu related to the message. The gesture input may include a swipe gesture received with respect to a message displayed in at least one of a message listing screen or a message detail screen, and the action may include moving the message to a location in the email client different than the current location of the message. For example, the moving may include movement of the message to a destination folder. The destination folder may be at least partially determined by the nature of the gesture input received.

A third aspect includes a handheld electronic device operable to execute a multi-screen email client. The device includes a plurality of user interface screen portions, wherein the plurality of user interface screen portion include at least one of a message listing screen or a message detail screen and a plurality of display portions operable to display different respective ones of the plurality of user interface screens of the multi-screen email client thereon. The device also includes at least one input device operable to receive a gesture input from a user, wherein the plurality of user interface screen portions are responsive to received gesture inputs at the at least one input device to control the operation of the email client. Accordingly, upon receipt of a gesture from the user at the input device, the email client is operable to perform an action with respect to a message displayed in the message listing screen or the message detail screen to modify the message.

A number of feature refinements and additional features are applicable to the third aspect. These feature refinements and additional features may be used individually or in any combination. As such, each of the following features that will be discussed may be, but are not required to be, used with any other feature or combination of features of the third aspect.

For example, the gesture may include a long press gesture received with respect to a message displayed in at least one of the message listing screen or the message detail screen, and the action may include display of a contextual menu related to the message. Additionally or alternatively, the gesture may include a swipe gesture received with respect to a message displayed in at least one of the message listing screen or the message detail screen, and the action may include moving the message in the message listing screen or the message details screen within the email client. The moving may include movement of the message to a destination folder. For example, the destination folder may be at least partially determined by the nature of the gesture input received. In another embodiment, the gesture input may comprise a drag-and-drop gesture to move a message from a source folder to a destination folder.

A fourth aspect includes a handheld electronic device that includes a memory operable to store a plurality of programs and a plurality of files. At least a portion of the files are executable by one or more of the plurality of programs. The device further includes a processor operable to run the plurality of programs to execute the at least a portion of the files. The device includes at least one file in a non-executable file format not executable or capable of being opened by any of the plurality of programs. Furthermore, the device includes a file transfer module operable to transmit and receive the at least one non-executable file.

A number of feature refinements and additional features are applicable to the fourth aspect. These feature refinements and additional features may be used individually or in any combination. As such, each of the following features that will be discussed may be, but are not required to be, used with any other feature or combination of features of the fourth aspect.

For example, in one embodiment, at least one of the plurality of programs may include an email client operable to transmit email messages from and receive email messages at the device. Accordingly, at least one of the email messages may include a file attachment, and the attached file may be the at least one non-executable file.

A fifth aspect includes a method of operation of a handheld electronic device. The method includes storing a plurality of programs in a memory of the handheld electronic device and executing one or more of the plurality of programs on a microprocessor in operative communication with the memory. The method further includes receiving a non-executable file at the handheld electronic device, wherein the non-executable file is in a file format that is not associated with any of the plurality of programs. Furthermore, the method includes storing the file in the memory of the handheld device.

A number of feature refinements and additional features are applicable to the fifth aspect. These feature refinements and additional features may be used individually or in any combination. As such, each of the following features that will be discussed may be, but are not required to be, used with any other feature or combination of features of the fifth aspect.

For example, in one embodiment, at least one of the plurality of programs may include an email client operable to transmit email messages from and receive email messages at the device. Accordingly, at least one of the email messages may includes a file attachment, and wherein the attached file is the non-executable file.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a schematic view of an embodiment of a handheld computing device.

FIGS. 2A-D are graphical representations of an embodiment of a handheld computing device in various instances of operation.

FIGS. 3A-K are graphical representations of an embodiment of a handheld computing device provided in different positions, orientations, and instances of operation.

FIG. 4 includes graphical representations of various gesture inputs for controlling a handheld computing device.

FIG. 5 is a graphical representation of the logical positions of screens executing on displays of an embodiment of a handheld computing device.

FIGS. 6A and 6B are schematic views of embodiments of a handheld computing device provided with touch sensitive devices.

FIG. 7 is a graphical representation of an embodiment of a gesture input.

FIG. 8 is a screen shot of an embodiment of a folder management screen.

FIGS. 9-11 are screen shots of embodiments of screens for editing a folder listing.

FIG. 12 is a screen shot of an embodiment of a message listing screen.

FIGS. 13 and 14 are screen shots of embodiments for sorting a message listing on the message listing screen shown in FIG. 11.

FIG. 15 is a screen shot of an embodiment of a message listing screen showing a position indicator.

FIG. 16 is a screen shot of an embodiment of a message listing screen for editing the messages in the message listing.

FIG. 17 is a screen shot of an embodiment of a message detail screen.

FIG. 18 is a screen shot of an embodiment of a message detail screen executing in full screen mode.

FIG. 19 is a screen shot of an embodiment of a message detail screen for a message including attachments.

FIG. 20 is a screen shot of an embodiment of a menu relating to a message displayable in response to a gesture input.

FIGS. 21 and 22 are screen shots including a representation of the response of an embodiment of an email client to a gesture input received for controlling the operation of an e-mail client.

FIGS. 23 and 24 depict an embodiment of a dual screen display executing an email client in dual screen mode on a handheld electronic device.

FIG. 25 is a representation of a change in the display of the screens of an email client in response to a user input.



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stats Patent Info
Application #
US 20120290946 A1
Publish Date
11/15/2012
Document #
13299203
File Date
11/17/2011
USPTO Class
715752
Other USPTO Classes
715761, 709217, 709206
International Class
/
Drawings
31



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