The Pre's Combined Messaging: Patent Pending
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.