Qualcomm Patent Apps Focus on Mobile, Wireless Devices

By Steve Brachmann
May 22, 2013

Today at IPWatchdog, we’re going back to take a closer look at U.S. Patent & Trademark Office patents and patent applications assigned to Qualcomm Incorporated. This San Diego, CA, technology developer is a major manufacturer of mobile device products, including software and chipsets. Their technologies are involved in a wide range of industries. They’ve even recently been growing in the field of healthcare technology with their recent acquisition of HealthyCircles, a coordinated care digital platform.

One area in particular that receives a lot of focus from Qualcomm’s research and development functions is efficiency improvements to wireless network connections. Patent applications filed by Qualcomm and published recently by the USPTO seek to protect new systems of digital file sharing and power management during sleep mode, both of which conserve device battery resources. A patent awarded to Qualcomm this month protects a system of maintaining a data session for applications even if a network connection is lost momentarily.

Qualcomm’s other patent applications showcase a focus on improving device systems internally through better components or communication protocols. One such patent application describes a method of improving ultrasound reception for the use of a digital stylus. The last patent application covered by IPWatchdog in this column describes a system of controlling interference on wireless networks.


Adaptive Media Sharing
U.S. Patent Application No. 20130124691

Mobile device owners are capable of sharing media files, including audio and video, in a number of ways. One method of sharing files is through push-to-share communication, a function that’s sometimes available through push-to-talk communication networks. However, when media is shared with other mobile device owners through push-to-share communication, the file usually must be uploaded multiple times, placing strains on network bandwidth.

This system of media file sharing, filed in this patent application by Qualcomm, seeks to reduce the strain caused by multiple file uploads by allowing push-to-share communications to share a file with a computer server. The server creates a uniform resource locator (URL) address that connects a computing device directly to a file download from the server. This also improves file sharing among mobile devices with different capabilities.

As Claim 1 explains, Qualcomm is trying to protect:

“A method for sharing media payloads between devices, comprising: receiving an original media payload from a first user device; receiving a list of intended recipient devices from the first user device, wherein the list of intended recipient devices is a group of recipient devices; storing the original media payload; associating an overall unique Uniform Resource Locator (URL) with a version of the media payload intended for the group of recipient devices; associating an individual unique URL with a version of the media payload intended for each recipient device; and transmitting each recipient device its individual unique URL and the overall unique URL.”

Power Management in a Mobile Device
U.S. Patent Application No. 20130122973

In order to conserve energy without having to go through a full shutdown, a computing device can enter a sleep mode. In sleep mode, typically the display screen is locked and the backlight is turned off. However, most devices still draw a charge in sleep mode to process code in the case of a phone call or app notification. In most devices, an average sleep current charge of 2 milliamps is drawn from the batter and can reduce battery charge over time.

This Qualcomm sleep current reduction method utilizes non-volatile memory storage of program code. The program code provides a trigger for the phone to enter the wakeup phase, leaving sleep mode. This conserves system resources used to monitor for calls or notifications. If the device receives a transmission, it triggers the code which initiates the wakeup phase.

Claim 1 of this Qualcomm patent application describes:

“A power management apparatus comprising: a controller for controlling power to a mobile device during a standby phase which includes a sleep phase and a wakeup phase, said controller including a timer to initiate a power-up signal at an end of the sleep phase and a power-down signal during the sleep phase, wherein power to the timer is maintained during the sleep phase, and wherein the timer is further used to determine an interval for the wakeup phase; a nonvolatile memory device configured to store a paging algorithm to initiate an operation of the mobile device during the standby phase, wherein the nonvolatile memory device is further configured to store a program code to be executed during the wakeup phase; and a processor configured to execute the paging algorithm out of the nonvolatile memory in response to the power-up signal from said controller.”

Ultrasound Based Mobile Receivers in Idle Mode
U.S. Patent Application No. 20130114380

Electronic pointing devices for data input in other devices usually transmit an ultrasound or similar type of signal to communicate data. In one example, a digital stylus can be used to record a handwritten signature by transmitting the position of the pen when it contacts the screen. Recent advances in audio digitizers for ultrasound signals allow these devices to transmit stronger signals

Qualcomm’s designed improvements to this system of ultrasound transmissions helps to conserve system energy resources by putting the acoustic receiver into idle mode when the stylus is not within range. When the stylus has been moved into range, a wakeup signal is sent to the receiver, returning it to its normal operating mode. According to the detailed description, this invention could also be used with touch and gesture systems if the ultrasound transmitter and audio receiver are located on the same device.

As Claim 1 describes, this patent application is filed to seek protections for:

“A method comprising: operating an acoustic receiver device in an idle mode using an idle sampling rate that is less than a full sampling rate; receiving a wake-up signal from an acoustic transmitter device, the wake-up signal having a frequency that is detectable by the acoustic receiver device while in the idle mode; and operating the acoustic receiver device in the full sampling rate in response to the wake-up signal.”

Incremental Interference Cancelation Capability and Signaling>
U.S. Patent Application No. 20130114447

The 3G and 4G wireless communication networks used by mobile devices can transmit packet data, messages and digital media. To facilitate these different transmissions, devices communicate with base stations through both a downlink, which allows transmissions from the base station to the device, and an uplink, which allows transmissions in the other direction. As these networks become larger and more devices connect, additional interference is created that can hamper a user’s experience.

Qualcomm has filed this patent application to protect a system it has devised of creating interference cancelation (IC) capability in wireless networks. A device would transmit connection information with base stations, and IC components would trigger if signal interference was detected. This IC capability could alter communication schedules or other settings for user equipment in order to reduce this interference.

Claim 1 of this Qualcomm patent application would protect:

“A method of wireless communication, comprising: determining operating conditions of a mobile device; grouping one or more of a plurality of interference cancelation capabilities of the mobile device into a plurality of groups of interference cancelation capabilities; deactivating one or more groups from the plurality of groups of interference cancelation capabilities; and reporting a current interference cancelation capability to a base station, wherein the current interference cancelation capability comprises zero or more active groups from the plurality of groups of interference cancelation capabilities remaining active after the deactivating.”

Arbitration of Resources at a Wireless Device among Contending Applications
U.S. Patent No. 8443083

Signal degradation while a device is roaming is an operational problem that has long existed with mobile wireless technologies. When a device leaves one multiple-access network and enters another, the handoff between networks can cause the device’s current wireless communication sessions to fail. Establishing a new data session for an application that was forced out of a session can be cumbersome and the lost data from the previous session can also set a user back.

The USPTO recently granted Qualcomm this patent to protect a system of arbitrating resources between different applications on a mobile device to prevent against communication session failure. When an application attempts to use a shared resource on a mobile device to communicate on a network, the device now determines whether or not that resource is available. If unavailable due to connection loss, the operation is delayed until the device determines that the resource has been made available again.

Claim 1 of this legal Qualcomm patent gives the company the right to protect:

“A wireless device comprising: a resource shared by a plurality of applications and usable by only one of the plurality of applications at a time; and a controller configured to: receive a request by an application of the plurality of applications to perform an operation requiring use of the resource, to determine whether the resource is available and, if the resource is unavailable, to delay the operation until the resource becomes available; dynamically set a priority of each of the applications based on whether the operation to be performed by the application is a data operation, based on whether the operation to be performed by the application is a non-data operation, based on whether an active application currently using the resource is performing the data operation, and based on whether the active application currently using the resource is performing the non-data operation, such that a first application configured to perform the data operation including a Point-to-Point Protocol (PPP) related session is set as having a lower priority than a second application configured to perform the non-data operation including a Global Positioning System (GPS) related session when the active application currently using the resource is performing the non-data operation including the GPS related session, and such that the second application configured to perform the non-data operation including the GPS related session is set as having a lower priority than the first application configured to perform the data operation including the PPP related session when the active application currently using the resource is performing the data operation including the PPP related session; wherein the priority of each of the applications is set dynamically and on an external wireless request such that the first application configured to perform a first operation including one of a handoff of the data session from a first wireless network to a second wireless network, resynchronization of a PPP session, termination of a PPP session, mobile IP re-registration, mobile IP de-registration, or Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) session cleanup is set as having a lower priority than the second application configured to perform a second operation including one of a GPS session, a GPS operation to obtain a position estimate, or an inter-system Radio Frequency (RF) measurement when the active application currently using the resource is performing the second operation; and wherein the data operation is any first type of action that relates to a data session, and the non-data operation is any second type of action that does not relate to the data session.”

The Author

Steve Brachmann

Steve Brachmann is a freelance journalist located in Buffalo, New York. He has worked professionally as a freelancer for more than a decade. He writes about technology and innovation. His work has been published by The Buffalo News, The Hamburg Sun, USAToday.com, Chron.com, Motley Fool and OpenLettersMonthly.com. Steve also provides website copy and documents for various business clients and is available for research projects and freelance work.

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