The Pre's Combined Messaging: Patent Pending | webOS Nation
 
 

The Pre's Combined Messaging: Patent Pending 15

by Dieter Bohn Tue, 24 Feb 2009 1:03 pm EST

Something missing from Palm's CES presentation of the Palm Pre: jaunty claims that they've patented their innovations up the wazoo.  Maybe it's because they have a massive cache of smartphone patents in their portfolio already and didn't want to toot their horn.  Maybe they were just being coy.  Maybe, though, they were just waiting for their various patent applications to get approved before they brought it up.

One such feature: the webOS's excellent combined messaging client, which gives you IM and SMS in a single, threaded view so you can focus on your conversation with a person instead of trying to remember which app is the best way to get in touch with somebody and which app you last used.  It's really a clever idea and as you might have guessed, Palm's applied for the patent.  You can read through the (mis-titled?) application yourself, but beware you're in store for language like

Various embodiments for providing enhanced mobile messaging services are described. In one or more embodiments, a mobile computing device may send and receive messages of different types. The wireless computing device may comprise a threading engine to determine a sender of a received message and/or a recipient of a sent message. The threading engine may be arranged to correlate received messages of different message types with a particular sender and sent messages of different types with a particular recipient. The wireless device may display a messaging thread comprising correlated messages of different message types in a messaging user interface supported by a messaging application. The different message types correlated within the message thread are not limited to a message type associated with the messaging application. Other embodiments are described and claimed.

Bottom line is that Palm appears to have developed a "Threading Engine" that sits behind the databases that drive the IM, SMS apps and might also include email and telephone as well.  We're fairly sure that at the 1.0 release, the webOS won't be threading missed calls and email into their combined messaging app, but this patent clearly shows they've been thinking about it and it may be a feature we can expect in the future.  

A couple more images from the patent (which goes to Palm but was filed on behalf of the inventors, one of whom was the just-mentioned software engineer Sachin Kansal) after the break.  If you look closely, the patent application also describes a single unified message listing screen that will show you all your messages, no matter what kind they are, in a single list.

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15 Comments

Take that Apple! I love it. Maybe investing in PALM is not such a bad idea after all. I also noticed that every product demo that talks about the hardware points out the ringer/vibrate switch on the phone and that it was Palms idea to add that feature. Sort of like on the apple iPhone. I just don

So they have patented Twitter ? A chronological short message/event engine just like I feed twitter with events from many different web apps i

Is Twitter an engine-driven application running natively on a mobile computing device? Pwnd.

Interesting, I wonder if Palm intends to allow other companies to purchase a license to use this technology or, if they want to keep it to themselves. It was a genius idea to create this type of combined messaging client, I am surprised Microsoft and Apple never thought of it.

Meh. I don't like these patents when Apple does it and I don't like it when Palm does it. Blackberries already let you add multiple e-mail accounts and then show a combined inbox that pulls from all of them. I'm sure the multi-service IM clients combine the messages from the various services into a single window too, so it's not a completely novel idea to extend this idea into SMS.

Hopefully this is just another defensive patent, a saber to rattle when another company threatens them, rather than something they'll use to go on offense and shut down competitors. That's most likely the case since it's pretty standard practice among large companies nowadays.

Our patent system is so broken.

Combining multiple email accounts in to a single inbox is not what this is about. This puts the focus on the "person" you are communicating with and takes the focus off of the "method" of communication.

A bunch of emails in one inbox just means you have a lot of entries in one location. They are still all emails however and may or may not be related to each other.

What Palm has done gives us the opportunity to carry on a conversation with someone (in a single window) while jumping between communication methods.

Mary sends me an IM at 2pm. I can't get back to her until 5pm but she's offline already. So I send her a text message. She texts me back and we continue for a while about a presentation we have to do. I end by asking her to email me a copy of the presentation when she's done with it. I get an email the next morning. This would ALL be in the SAME window. No hunting around for bits and pieces of the conversation.

I think it's a pretty cool feature because it solves a basic problem I've been having at work when we mix voice mail, IM and emails as part of the same conversation.

I'm not saying it's not a cool feature, I'm saying it's not novel enough to patent if we had a better patent system. It's the logical extension of existing ideas.

i dunno, i've used a variety of multi-service chat apps on my computer and my treos, and all of them would use seperate windows if i talked on different services to the same person.

a combined inbox is vastly different than a seperate inbox for each contact which combines all the conversations across multiple messaging mediums in one location.

could well be an innovative idea, or at least the first implementation of it.

Except for the fact that my brain exploded when I read the word "embodiments", I really enjoyed the article. Thanks. Anybody got a mop?

My guess is that this information will be used more for the patent "cold war" than anything else. Just building up their patent portfolio so they are just a nastier looking porcupine (referencing a comment by Ed Colligan). That should allow them some freedom in playing with ideas like multitouch without being hassled.

I really did laugh out loud at that one... Thanks

it's called gmail, where u mix email gtalk/aim and sms in one conversation, the patent is a non starter.

Patent applications are not a biggie, patent awards are. The large majority of applications are not awarded.

Palm has about a 25% success rate for patent applications awarded, most of those 25% were limited in scode from originate request.

Apparently, Palm knows how and what to Patent, Palm must have the golden touch. Mainly due to the fact Palm has over 1500 Patents in their portfolio. I do not see any reason why Palm would not be awarded this Patent.

their success rate of awards to requests is actually below average. That does not equate to golden touch. Most of the patents refer to garnet and were passed over in subsequent technology anyway and are obsolete.