Better input and bigger screens for cell phones? How about virtual screen from Samsung?
Have you been struggling with the text input on you phone, when writing SMS message or entering calendar appointment? With the need to press phone key 5 times just to get to the desired character? Cell phone manufacturers have known about this inconvenience for a long time and have come up with different solutions to the problem. Folding QWERTY keyboards, predictive text input, on screen character display, etc. Still, they all have some shortcomings and none of them have gained wide acceptance among consumers.
Now Samsung has designed another interesting input method – Virtual Display for inputting characters and symbols on a mobile phone. According to patent application filed yesterday, Samsung is working on a:
…device and method for inputting characters or drawings on a mobile terminal using a virtual screen. To input characters or drawings through a virtual screen, the mobile terminal includes an electronic pen, a virtual screen generator, a position detector for detecting the electronic pen position, and a character recognition algorithm for recognizing a trail as a character. When a signal is input from the electronic pen, the mobile terminal detects the originating position of the signal and its trail. The mobile terminal recognizes the detected trail as a character and generates a virtual screen with the recognized character.
According to the application the described device will project virtual screen in a form of notebook on a flat surface. Just like normal computer display, this virtual screen will have text and drawing input areas, menu/toolbar control zones and scrolling capability.
Another key part of the device is an electronic pen that communicates with mobile phone via infrared or ultrasonic signal. When the virtual screen is generated, the user can write characters on the user input window with an electronic pen emitting infrared rays or ultrasonic waves. These signals emitted from the electronic pen are monitored by a user input sensor of the mobile phone. Screen generator is always aware about the changing position of the pen and is able to project the user generated characters on the virtual screen at once. So the user is able to see what he or she writes or draws in real time. The device also includes Character Recognition software to convert user input into text and the possibility to manipulate, store and transmit user generated drawings.
Quite an interesting application which, given sufficient memory and processing power can transform your cell phone into full fledged PC, with the capabilities currently found only on Tablet PCs and new UMPC devices.