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DESCRIPTION JP2013152741

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DESCRIPTION JP2013152741
Abstract: An improved portable media device and method of operating the media device are
provided. A portable media deplayer includes a memory in a housing, the memory configured to
store a plurality of digital media assets and data files, and a media control input located on the
front of the housing. Equipped with The media control input allows a user of the portable media
player to select at least one digital media asset to be provided from the digital media asset. It also
includes an integral attachment mechanism disposed on the back of the housing to allow the
portable media player to wear. [Selected figure] Figure 1
Highly portable media device
[0001]
The present invention relates to media devices, and more particularly to portable media players
that store and utilize digital media assets.
[0002]
Today, USB drives (also called flash drives or key chain drives) are becoming popular as portable
data storage devices.
USB drives can be used in place of other storage media such as flexible disks, CDs, DVDs, zip
drive disks and the like. In most cases, the USB drive is a plug and play device with flash memory
for storing data and a USB connector for connecting to a host device. While these devices work
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well, they have limitations in what they can do. These devices (as well as other portable storage
media) are only configured to store data and carry stored data, and thus power to processing
components, processing components It does not have a battery to supply or a user interface that
allows the user to interact with the processing components.
[0003]
Portable media players (also called MP3 players) are also commonly used today. Portable media
players can be grouped into three different categories. That is, one with removable media storage
media, such as a CD or DVD player; one with internal hard drive; one for storing media in nonvolatile memory. Each category of portable media players has advantages and disadvantages in
terms of size, features, battery life, and media storage capabilities.
[0004]
Portable media players that store media in non-volatile memory are commonly referred to as
flash MP3 players or flash media players. Flash media players are often smaller than other types
of portable media players. One of the problems common to many conventional flash media
players is that the small size often makes it difficult to use the controls of the media player.
Conventional flash media players typically incorporate a display so that the user can navigate
through the media files stored on the device, but the display increases size, weight, and power
consumption . Even with a display, the media player's controls are often not easy to use.
[0005]
Another problem common to conventional flash media players is a large battery, which typically
provides a reasonable amount of battery run time before it becomes necessary to charge the
player or replace the player's battery. Needed. Traditionally, media player designs have been
scaled up to accommodate improved user controls, batteries, and / or displays.
[0006]
As the popularity of portable media players has increased, there has been a demand for improved
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design of media players. Thus, there is a need for a media player with improved user controls,
small size, and longer battery life.
[0013] FIG. 1 illustrates a portable media device, in accordance with one embodiment of the
present invention. FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a portable media device, in accordance with one
embodiment of the present invention. FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a portable media device, in
accordance with one embodiment of the present invention. FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a
portable media device, in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention. FIG. 1 is a
perspective view of a portable media device, in accordance with one embodiment of the present
invention. FIG. 6 is a front view of the portable media device shown in FIGS. 4 and 5; FIG. 6 is a
rear view of the portable media device shown in FIGS. 4 and 5; FIG. 6 is a first side view of the
portable media device shown in FIGS. 4 and 5; FIG. 6 is a second side view of the portable media
device shown in FIGS. 4 and 5; FIG. 10 is a third side view of the portable media device shown in
FIGS. 4 and 5; FIG. 6 is a fourth side view of the portable media device shown in FIGS. 4 and 5;
FIG. 6 shows a media device in the hands of a user. FIG. 6 shows a media device in the hands of a
user. FIG. 4 shows a control input device, according to one embodiment. FIG. 6 shows a single
integrated connector, according to one embodiment. FIG. 7 shows a hinge mechanism, according
to one embodiment. FIG. 7 is a perspective view of a docking station, according to one
embodiment. FIG. 2 illustrates a media device plugged into a docking station connected to a
laptop computer, according to one embodiment. FIG. 4 illustrates an example of a media output
device that can be plugged into a media device, according to one embodiment. FIG. 4 illustrates
an example of a media output device that can be plugged into a media device, according to one
embodiment. FIG. 6 is a perspective view of a portable media device according to another
embodiment of the present invention. FIG. 6 is a perspective view of a portable media device
according to another embodiment of the present invention. FIG. 2 is a block diagram illustrating
a media device, in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention. FIG. 1 is a block
diagram illustrating a media management system, in accordance with one embodiment of the
present invention.
[0014] In general, the present invention relates to media devices and methods for operating
media devices. The invention is particularly suitable for use in portable media players.
[0015] One aspect of the invention relates to a small portable media device with non-volatile
memory, such as flash. The media device may have, for example, a basis volume of less than
15,000 mm <3>, a basis dimension of less than 50 mm × 30 mm × 10 mm, and a basis weight
of less than 20 grams. In particular, the media device may have, for example, a basis volume of
less than about 8,230 mm <3>, a basis dimension of less than 41.2 mm × 27.3 mm × 6 mm,
and a basis weight of less than 16 grams. The overall size may vary with add-ons or additional
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features (such as attachment mechanisms). Because of their small size and weight, portable
media devices are highly portable and easy to carry. Thus, they may be carried by humans when
performing activities such as walking, running, cycling, climbing stairs. In some instances, the
devices are in the hand of the user, and in other instances, they are carried or worn by the user,
leaving the user's hands free. They can be attachable to clothing or the like (such as backpacks)
without the need for extremely strong retention features.
[0016] Another aspect of the invention relates to a portable media device that has all the
necessary inputs and some feedback while having limited I / O devices. In one embodiment, the
media device does not include a display. It should be understood that eliminating the display can
minimize the size of the media device, as the display typically occupies a large area of the media
device for its operation.
[0017] In another embodiment, the portable media player comprises a single integrated
navigation control. The integrated navigation controls may include typical media controls, such
as, for example, volume +/-, next (fast forward), forward (rewind), play / pause, etc. In one
embodiment, a single navigation control is implemented as a circular input device. In another
embodiment, the integrated navigation console is located on the front of the portable media
device. In fact, the integrated navigation operator may occupy substantially the entire front. This
maximizes the ratio of the size of the control to the size of the media device, which is useful to
keep the device small but easy to use. For example, the ratio of the area of the front of the
housing to the area of the manipulation control may be less than about 3: 1, in particular less
than about 2: 1, and even about 1: 1. Furthermore, in some embodiments, the ratio may be
between about 3: 1 and about 1: 1, and in particular between about 2.85: 1 and about 2.3: 1.
[0018] Furthermore, the media device may comprise two or less switches. The switches may
include, for example, on / off, hold, and mode switches. In this particular embodiment, the
switches may be located on the side of the portable media device (on the back side so that a
single thumb can access both the navigation controls and the switch when held with one hand) ,
User interface not placed).
[0019] Furthermore, the portable media device may comprise a single integrated connector,
which reduces the space required for connection to other devices. A single integrated connector
may include, for example, functions for uploading / downloading of data, transmission of power,
and output of media such as audio. In one embodiment, the single integrated connector is further
implemented as an internal axis jack to minimize the impact on the surface of the media device.
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[0020] Most of the connectors for interfacing with media devices are laterally spaced apart,
requiring an elongated connector area, thereby locating the connectors while minimizing small
portable media devices Please understand that it is difficult. Conversely, the jacks of the present
invention do not extend around the surface of the media device, but comprise point-like openings
that extend into the media device. The opening comprises a plurality of contacts axially spaced
along its axis, which contacts the corresponding contacts when the plug is inserted into the
opening along the axis. Furthermore, the connection does not require a specific orientation. By
being 360 ° symmetrical, it is possible to insert the plug in any orientation. Thus, the user does
not have to think when coupling the plug to the jack. In one embodiment, therefore, the media
device does not have an elongated port with laterally aligned contacts (eg, conventional USB and
FIREWIRE ports, etc.).
[0021] Another aspect of the invention relates to a portable media device comprising an
attachment mechanism for securing the portable media device to a garment or the like (such as a
backpack). In one embodiment, the attachment mechanism is a clip integrated with the housing
of the portable media device, between the closed position sandwiching the garment between the
clip and the housing of the media device and the open position releasing the garment. It is
supposed to move with When the clip is in the closed position, the portable media device can be
worn by the user. For example, the clip may be used to secure the media device to pants, belts,
pockets, hats, wristbands, shoes and the like. In most instances, the clip is provided with a spring
to assist in securing the media device to an object by urging the clip into the closed position. In
addition, the clip is typically attached to the back of the media device, which makes the
accessible side of the media device available for input controls.
[0022] Hereinafter, embodiments of the present invention will be described with reference to
FIGS. 1 to 21. However, since the scope of the present invention is not limited to these
embodiments, it will be understood by those skilled in the art that the detailed description
described in the present specification with reference to these drawings is for illustrative
purposes. Can be easily understood.
[0023] FIG. 1 is a diagram illustrating a portable media device 100, in accordance with one
embodiment of the present invention. Media device 100 is a portable device that includes
hardware to provide media and data related functionality. The portable media device 100 can be
connected to a host device, such as a computer, to exchange data between the media device 100
and the host device. This connection may be implemented directly (connector to connector) or
indirectly (via a cable or docking station). In one embodiment, media device 100 is a plug and
play device. The term plug-and-play (PnP) generally allows a user to connect a device to a host
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device and allow the host device to recognize the device with little or no user input. Point to
[0024] As shown in FIG. 1, the media device 100 includes a housing 102 that houses the
components of the media device 100 therein. The shape and size of the housing 102 may vary
widely. In one embodiment, the housing 102 generally comprises substantially rectangular front
and back surfaces and substantially rectangular side surfaces. In some instances, the sides may
be partially or totally rounded. For example, the cross-section along one axis extending
transverse to the front and back may have a drug-like shape, ie a rectangle that is rounded on
both sides. Furthermore, the housing may comprise various raised portions. In another
embodiment, the housing 102 is cylindrical such that the front and back surfaces are circular.
[0025] Media device 100 further comprises a connection module 104 configured to control
interaction with one or more devices or systems connectable to media device 10. The connection
module 104 may, for example, exchange power, data and media between the appropriate
components of the media device 100 and various external devices or systems that want to
communicate with the appropriate components of the media device. You may control. An
external device may be connected to the connection module 104 through a wired or wireless
connection.
[0026] In one embodiment, the connection module 104 is connected to a connector arrangement
105 that allows interaction via a physical wired connection (through the housing 102).
Connector arrangement 105 may include one or more connectors for the purpose of distributing
power, data, and media. For example, the connector may comprise a media jack, a data port, a
power terminal, etc. The media may correspond to, for example, audio, images, video and the like.
The data may correspond to serial, parallel, USB, FIREWIRE, etc.
[0027] In one particular embodiment, media device 100 comprises only a single integrated
connector to allow for miniaturization of media device 100 by conserving space. A single
integrated connector integrates the functions of multiple connectors into one connector. For
example, a single integrated connector may be equipped with power, data and media functions,
such that power delivery, data communication and media transfer (e.g. audio, video) can be a
single place Allow to be run on.
[0028] The single connector may be widely varied. In one embodiment, the connector is an
internal jack that extends into the housing to receive the axial plug along the coupling axis. The
jack comprises a plurality of axially spaced terminals or contacts to enable each of its functions
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(e.g., power, data, media). The terminals contact the corresponding contacts when the axial plug
is inserted into the jack. As such, the jack can be a headphone or speaker plug associated with
the headphone / speaker to enable audio media to be supplied to the headphone / speaker and /
or a video associated with the display to allow video media to be supplied to the display I can
accept the plug. The jack may further accept a data plug configured to send and receive data to
and from the host device. For example, a jack may be utilized to upload or download audio, video,
and other media to or from media device 100. The jack may further receive a power plug
configured to provide power to the media player 100. The jack may be further configured to
receive an integrated plug with multiple functions similar to the integrated jack, such as, for
example, data / power, power / media, data / media, or media / data / power.
[0029] Media device 100 further comprises a memory module 106 for storing data. Data is
exchanged between the media device 100 and the host device when the media device 100 is
attached to the host device. Data may include media files (eg, audio tracks), data files, and / or
the like. Memory module 106 may be widely varied. In one particular embodiment, memory
module 106 is non-volatile memory, such as solid state memory (eg, flash memory). Solid state
memory has many advantages over other types of memory devices. One of the advantages of
solid state memory is that it has a tendency to be very robust as it does not have broken or
skipped moving parts that occur (eg, an embodiment as an integrated circuit chip). Another
advantage of solid state memory is that it lends itself to the portability of media device 100, as
memory devices tend to be smaller and lighter. Any number of non-volatile memory chips may be
used to achieve the desired storage capacity. In one example, the storage capacity is configured
to be about 1 GB. In another example, the storage capacity is configured to be about 2 GB. In
another example, the storage capacity is configured to be approximately 512 MB.
[0030] Media device 100 further comprises media module 108 for controlling media operations
on media device 100. Media may be, for example, audio, video, images, and / or the like. Media
module 108 may be used, for example, to provide (eg, play) media on media device 100. Thus,
the media device 100 can be considered as a media player. Media module 108 cooperates with
memory module 106 to store and retrieve media data. For example, media module 108 may
access memory module 106 to obtain or provide media data, such as an audio track (e.g., a song).
The media module also cooperates with the connection module when media is provided from the
connector array 105.
[0031] Media device 100 further comprises a power module 110 for controlling the power
operation of media device 100. The power module 110 may, for example, communicate with an
onboard battery 111 that provides power to the media device 100. The on-board battery 111
can provide power to the media device 100, for example, such that the media device 100 is fully
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portable when disconnected from any host device. The on-board battery 111 may be a fixed
charge battery that needs to be replaced from time to time or may be a rechargeable battery. For
example, the onboard battery 111 may be an alkaline battery, a Ni-Cd battery, a lithium ion
battery, or any other type of battery. Rechargeable batteries are preferred (easier to use) than
fixed charge batteries because they rarely need to be replaced. In some instances, the
rechargeable battery may be charged by the power capability of connector 105 when connector
105 is operably connected to the host device. In another example, the rechargeable battery can
be charged by the power function of connector 105 when connector 105 is connected to an
external power source (such as a standard power plug connected to a transformer / rectifier) .
[0032] Media device 100 further comprises one or more input devices 112 for making selections
or issuing instructions to media device 100. For example, input device 112 may be selected from
buttons, switches, keypads, wheels, joysticks, joypads, touch screens, touch pads, trackballs, and /
or the like.
[0033] In one embodiment, media device 100 includes one or more slide switches that slide
between various positions to change the state or mode of media device 100. For example, if the
media device 100 implements playback of an audio track (eg, music or song), the slide switch
may comprise an off position, a shuffle playback mode position, and / or a continuous playback
mode position. When the slide switch is in the off position, the audio capability of the media
device 100 is off. When in the continuous play mode position, the media device 100 plays the
audio track in a predetermined order (eg, composer or alphabetically by song title). When in
shuffle play mode position, the media device 100 randomly selects a group of audio tracks to
play those audio tracks in the selected order.
[0034] In another embodiment, the media device comprises one or more clickable buttons that
may be clicked to control certain aspects of the media device 100. For example, in the case of a
media device 100 with audio capabilities, the clickable buttons may correspond to commands
such as, previous, next, volume up, volume down, and play / pause. In one particular
embodiment, the clickable button may be implemented as a circular input configuration. For
example, the inner button and the outer navigation pad. In another example, the clickable button
may be integrated into one unit. Alternatively, the clickable button may be replaced by a touch
sensitive device (e.g. a touch pad).
[0035] Media device 100 further comprises one or more output devices 114. The output device
114 is configured to transfer data from the media device 100 to the outside. The output device
114 may be utilized, for example, to output auditory, visual or tactile information to the user.
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Output device 114 may be selected from a speaker, an audio jack, a video jack, an indicator, a
haptic mechanism, and / or the like.
[0036] Conventional media devices require the use of a display (display screen) such as a liquid
crystal display (LCD) for interaction with the user, but the media device 100 has the advantage of
not requiring such a display. is there. In one particular embodiment, media device 100 does not
include a display, but (i) a jack for providing audio output to a headset or external speaker; (ii)
feedback to the user and / or media device. And one or more indicators that indicate the status.
For example, the indicator may inform the user when a particular input device 112 is activated,
or may inform the user of the state of the battery operating time. By eliminating the display, the
media device 100 can not only be portable with a small form factor but also extend the operating
time of the battery 111 by reducing the power consumption of the media device. . As a result, the
media device 100 can be used for a longer period of time without charging or replacing the onboard battery 111. Furthermore, complexity, cost and susceptibility to damage are reduced.
[0037] The position of I / O devices 112 and 114 relative to housing 102 may be widely varied.
For example, I / O devices 112 and 114 may be located on any exterior surface of housing 102
(eg, top, side, front or back) as long as the user has access to it during operation of media device
100. .
[0038] In one embodiment, the input device 112 is generally located at a position that allows
one-handed operation of the input device 112, and in particular allows one-finger operation
while holding the media device 100 with one hand. Placed in the In a particular embodiment,
input device 112 is disposed on the front and / or the side of housing 102. Thus, the input device
112 can be actuated by the thumb of the user's hand when the media device 100 is held by the
finger of the user's hand. The output device 114 is generally placed at a position where it can be
accessed when the media device 100 is held by the user's hand. The output device 114 may, for
example, be located adjacent to the input device 112 so that it can be accessed when the user is
operating the input device 112. By arranging I / O devices 112 and 114 in this manner, media
device 100 does not have to constantly reposition to efficiently utilize I / O devices 112 and 114.
For example, if the buttons are arranged in a row from the top to the bottom of the device, an
undesirable change in position may be necessary.
[0039] Media device 100 may integrate all of the components described above into a single
integrated unit, ie, all of the elements are contained within or disposed on housing 102 of media
device 100. Ru. As a result, no auxiliary device (such as a removable battery pack, attachment
mechanism, or I / O device) is required to disconnect and operate the media device 100 from the
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host device. That is, the media device 100 can perform both storage of data and control,
playback, and output of media, even when being carried.
[0040] Media device 100 may further include an attachment mechanism 116 integrated with
housing 102 to allow the user to easily carry and wear the media device. As a result, the media
device is easy to transport and operate as well. The attachment mechanism may be widely varied.
For example, the attachment mechanism may include straps, straps, clips and the like.
[0041] In one embodiment, the attachment mechanism 116 comprises a clip. The clip 118
typically comprises a platform hinged to the housing 102 of the media device 100. The hinges
may be spring biased to create a pinching action to clip the media device 100 to a garment or
similar. For example, the platform may be moved between an open position providing a space
between the housing and the platform for placing an object, and a closed position where the
media device is attached to the object by biasing the clip into engagement with the housing. You
may In some cases, the platform and the housing may be provided with teeth that interlock with
one another to help secure the objects disposed therebetween. In one embodiment, the platform
substantially follows the contour of the housing, ie generally has the same contour as the surface
to be attached.
[0042] The position of the attachment mechanism 116 (more specifically, the clip) relative to the
housing 102 may be widely varied. For example, the clip may be disposed on any outer surface
of the housing 102. In most instances, the clips are located away from I / O devices 112 and 114
to allow access to the I / O devices. In one embodiment, the clips are located on the back of the
housing remote from the front and side located I / O devices.
[0043] Although not shown, alternatively or additionally, the media device 100 may comprise
components for image capture and display. In these examples, media device 100 may function
like a camera. For example, the media device may comprise a CCD or CMOS sensor in
communication with the memory and media module. Additionally, the media device may
comprise an integrated microphone, an FM transmitter, etc.
[0044] FIG. 2 is a perspective view of a portable media device 200, in accordance with one
embodiment of the present invention. Media device 200 may be one example of media device
100 shown in FIG. Media device 200 has the form of an integrated compact unit that can be
easily held with one hand. The portable media device 200 combines the functionality of a media
player and a memory device so that it can both provide media (eg, music) (eg, play) and store
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various data files when being carried. . A memory device is available to store data files and media
data (such as songs and playlists), and a media player is available to play media data stored in the
memory according to the playlist.
[0045] Typically, media device 200 acts like a storage device when connected to a host device
(providing the ability to exchange data with media device 200) and when removed from the host
device a media player (music player) Functions as) (the song can be played back). Alternatively or
additionally, the media device 200 may act like a media player (music player) when connected to
the host device (ie, utilized to drive the playing of music on the host device it can). It should be
noted that all the components necessary to support these devices when removed from the host
device are contained within or located on media device 200. No other auxiliary devices are
needed to activate the components of the media device 200 (eg, batteries and I / O devices, etc.).
[0046] As shown in FIGS. 2 and 3, the portable media device 200 comprises a housing 202 that
defines the shape or configuration of the device 200. That is, the outer shape of the housing 202
may embody the appearance of the media device 200. The housing 202 also houses and
supports various electrical components of the media device 200 (such as integrated circuit chips
and other circuitry). For example, the electrical components may include processors, memories,
batteries, I / O control circuits, and the like. In some cases, the electrical components are
disposed on a substrate or carrier, such as a printed circuit board (PCB). The substrate or carrier
carries the electrical components during assembly and provides a structure to support them
when incorporated into the housing 202.
[0047] In one embodiment, the housing 202 comprises a tubular body 203A and an end cap
203B that closes the ends of the tubular body 203A. Body 203A and end cap 203B may be
formed of the same or different materials, depending on the needs of the device. For example, the
body 203A and the end cap 203B may be formed of metal, plastic, ceramic or the like.
Furthermore, they may be formed in the same process or different processes. For example, they
may be formed by injection molding, pressing, extrusion and the like. In one particular
embodiment, the tubular body 203A is formed of aluminum by an extrusion process and the end
cap 203B is formed of plastic by an injection molding process.
[0048] Media device 200 further comprises a connector 204 extending into a first end cap 203B
of housing 202. The connector 204 is configured to receive a corresponding connector so that
input power, I / O data, and / or output media can be exchanged between the media device 200
and devices connected thereto. Connector 204 may be used to upload or download media or
other data to media device 200. For example, connector 204 may be used to download songs,
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playlists, audiobooks, electronic books, etc. to a memory device within media device 200.
Connector 204 may also function as an interface for powering and charging media device 200.
For example, when portable media device 900 is connected to a power source or host device via
connector 204, it can charge the rechargeable battery. The connector 204 may further function
as an interface for outputting media such as audio to a media output device (e.g., a speaker or
headphones). The connector 204 may, for example, correspond to an axial jack extending into
the housing through the first end cap 203B. The axial jack comprises a plurality of axially
arranged and spatially separated contacts or terminals (e.g. power, audio, video, data terminals).
The terminals may be dedicated to each function, and in some instances they may be shared.
[0049] Media device 200 further includes clickable button-type actuator 208 disposed on the
front of housing 202 and a pair of sliding mode switches 214 A and 214 B disposed on the
second end cap of housing 202. In such an embodiment, there is no input device on the back of
the media device 200. It is advantageous in that the input can be easily performed using the
thumb while holding the media device with the hand excluding the thumb. Each of these input
devices 208 and 214 allow the user to interact with media device 200, ie, provide user input. The
clickable button-type actuator 208 provides playback control for the media player aspect of the
media device 200, and the sliding mode switches 214A and 214B provide a means for switching
between the various modes of the media player. More generally, clickable button-type actuator
208 is a control input device.
[0050] In particular, the clickable button actuator 208 comprises a plurality of perimeter buttons
210 surrounding the central button 212. In one particular embodiment, the clickable button
actuator 208 has a circular configuration. The perimeter button 210 may be a separate device
that provides its own click action, or may be integrated into a single device that provides multiple
click actions. In the latter case, a single device can be divided into independently spatially
separated button compartments. The button compartment is an area of a single device that may
be tilted or depressed relative to the housing 202 to perform an individual click action.
[0051] Although not shown, in one embodiment, the clicking action is configured to activate one
or more motion indicators contained within the housing 202. That is, when a particular button or
button area 210 or 212 is moved from a first position (e.g., upright position) to a second position
(e.g., depressed position), the movement indicator is activated. The motion indicator is configured
to detect a motion (eg, a click motion) and send a signal corresponding to the motion to a
controller of the media device 200. For example, the motion indicator may be a switch, a sensor,
and / or the like. In most instances, one motion indicator is provided for each button or button
area 210 or 212.
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[0052] In the example of the media player, the surround button 210 may correspond to forward
(rewind), next (fast forward), volume up and volume down, and the center button 212 may
correspond to play / pause. In some embodiments, one or more of the controls of the media
device are configured to have more than one function. For example, the pause / play operation
unit may function as a hold button to disable the operation unit of the media device (eg, when the
media device is in the pocket) to prevent accidental control input. In this embodiment, the pause
/ play operation unit is pressed and held held for a predetermined period (for example, 3
seconds) to start holding the media device. In order to release the hold, the pause / play
operation unit is pressed and held in the same manner as when the hold of the operation unit of
the media device is started.
[0053] As shown in FIG. 3, each sliding mode switch 214 includes a sliding member 216 that can
translate between two or more positions to change the state or mode of the media device 200. In
all of these instances, the slide member 216 is configured to be part of one or more motion
indicators, or configured to activate the motion indicators. The movement indicator is configured
to detect movement of the slide member 216 during the sliding movement and to transmit a
signal corresponding to the movement to the controller of the media device 200. In some
instances, detents may be provided at each position to indicate to the user that the slide members
216 have been placed at each of the above-described positions. A detent or other means may
provide the user with haptic feedback and / or an auditory signal (such as a click sound). A
detent may be used to help hold the slide member in the desired position.
[0054] In the illustrated embodiment, the slide member 216A moves between a first position to
turn off the media player and a second position to turn on the media player. Further, the slide
member 216B moves between a first position where the media player is set to shuffle mode and
a second position where the media player is set to continuous play mode. Generally, in shuffle
play mode, the media device plays a group of media assets in random order. On the other hand,
in the continuous play mode, the media device plays the media assets in the list of media assets
in the default order. Further, the off position allows the user to turn off the portable media
device, and the on position allows the user to turn on the portable media device.
[0055] Media device 200 does not include a display, but includes one or more indicators 220
that indicate events associated with media device 200. For example, an event may be associated
with a signal, condition or state of media device 200. In one embodiment, the indicator 220 may
comprise a light source such as a light emitting diode (LED), and typically does not emit light
under normal conditions, but emits light for a limited period of time when an event occurs. In
addition, the indicator 220 may be configured to turn on and off (eg, blink) or to periodically
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raise and lower the light intensity, and in some instances, more detailed about the event being
monitored. Colors may be changed to provide information. In general, indicator 220 may also be
referred to as a status indicator or media device status indicator.
[0056] The indicator 220 may be a conventional indicator, typically comprising a small
transparent plastic insert, which is placed in front of the LED and placed on the surface of the
housing by being inserted into the opening of the housing. The LED itself may be disposed within
the opening of the housing without the use of an insert. Alternatively, the indicator 220 may be
configured to not open the surface of the housing. In this configuration, the light source is
completely disposed within the housing 202. The indicator 202 may be configured to change the
appearance of the housing 202, ie, change its color, by illuminating a portion of the housing 202.
For example, a change in color may indicate a change in the state of the media device 200. In
operation, when the indicator 220 is turned on, the light of the indicator appears on the surface
of the housing 202 and disappears from the surface of the housing 202 when the indicator 220
is turned off. One of the advantages of this type of indicator is that when the indicator is turned
off, there are no signs of the indicator. In other words, the indicator can only be recognized when
the indicator (for example the light of the indicator) is turned on. Further, such an indicator does
not have substantial fissures, lines, indentations, or protrusions on the surface of the housing
202, ie, a visually unpleasant structure that impairs the appearance of the media device 200.
[0057] In any of the above examples, the indicator 220 can be realized by one or more LEDs. If
more than one LED is used, one or more of the LEDs may have different colors to indicate
different media device states. The one or more LEDs may be placed in close proximity to one
another so that the user will see one indicator changing color when the state of the media device
changes.
[0058] In the illustrated embodiment, the media device 200 comprises a condition or control
indicator 220A and a status indicator 220B. The control indicator 220A is disposed on one side
(first end cap) of the housing 202. Control indicator 220 A is configured to alert or notify the
user when a selection is made via input device 208. That is, the control indicator 220A provides
feedback to the user so that the user knows that the selection has been successfully performed.
[0059] On the other hand, the status indicator 220B is disposed on one side (second end cap) of
the housing 202 opposite to the control indicator 220A. The status indicator 220B is configured
to alert the user to a particular status, particularly the battery drive time of the media device 200.
The status indicator 220B may be illuminated, for example, green when the battery is fully
charged, yellow when the battery is depleted, and red when there is a risk of battery exhaustion.
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The status indicator 220B can also be turned on and off (flashing) when the battery is critically
low. The status indicator 220B may be a always-on indicator that always presents status
information, or may be a call-type indicator that presents status information only when
instructed by the user. In the latter case, a button may be provided to activate the status
indicator. When the user presses a button, the status indicator presents status information for a
predetermined period of time (e.g., a few seconds).
[0060] In one embodiment, two LEDs having different colors are utilized as the indicator 220A.
In this embodiment, the first colored LED is used to provide visual feedback to the user in
response to the user operating one or more user controls. The second color is used to provide
visual feedback to the user indicating that the media device is charging. The LED of the first color
may blink once each time the user operates a first user operation unit (for example, a volume
operation unit) on the user control panel 905. When the second user operation unit (for example,
the playback / pause operation unit) on the user control panel 905 is operated, the LED of the
first color blinks continuously while the selected operation continues. . According to this
embodiment, the second color LED emits a different color than the first color LED, for example,
when the media device is connected to a connector capable of supplying power to the media
device, the media device charges. Blinks continuously while in the middle.
[0061] In one embodiment, three LEDs having different colors are utilized to implement the
indicator 220B. In this embodiment, each of the three color LEDs is used to provide visual
feedback to the user in response to different battery conditions. In order to save battery
operating time, in some embodiments, the media indicator 220B is actuated by a user control
(not shown), such that a short period after the user operates the user control (eg, Operate for 5
seconds).
[0062] For example, in one embodiment, the first color LED lights to indicate that the battery
powering the media device is substantially charged. As the media device is activated and over
time, the battery discharges to a first predetermined voltage which indicates that the battery is
not fully charged. Accordingly, the first color LED is switched off and the second color LED is lit
to inform the user that the battery has been partially discharged. As the battery continues to
discharge to the second predetermined voltage, the second color LED is switched off and the
third color LED is illuminated, informing the user that the battery is almost discharged. Finally,
when the battery is almost completely discharged, one LED (of any color) blinks continuously,
and the media device is insufficient because the battery level is not sufficient to continue the
operation of the media device Inform users that they are preparing to shut down. The media
device's status indicator then shuts off all indications (ie, no LEDs light up), the battery needs to
be recharged to almost completely discharge and make the media device available again.
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Indicates that.
[0063] The size and weight of the media device may vary widely. In general, media devices have
a size and weight that can be held by hand and easily manipulated with one hand. In fact, in most
instances, the media device is sized so that it can be held and operated with only two fingers
(such as the index finger and the thumb). In one embodiment, the media device length is less
than 50 mm, the media device width is less than 30 mm, and the media device thickness is less
than 10 mm. Thus, the volume of the media device is less than 15,000 mm <3>. In one
embodiment, the media device has a length of about 41.20 mm or less, the media device has a
width of about 27.3 mm or less, and the media device has a thickness of about 6 mm or less.
Thus, the volume of the media device is less than or equal to about 7,735 mm <3>. In another
embodiment, the media device has a length of about 27.3 mm or less, the media device has a
width of about 27.3 mm or less, and the media device has a thickness of about 6 mm or less.
Thus, the volume of the media device is less than or equal to about 4500 mm <3>.
[0064] Further, the outer diameter of the circular input configuration is less than 30 mm, more
specifically between about 20 mm and about 27.3 mm, and more particularly about 23 mm. Also,
the weight of the media device is less than 20 grams, and more specifically less than or equal to
16 grams.
[0065] Although some examples have been described, it should be understood that this is not a
limitation and media devices may be changed to other sizes and weights. In one example, the
media device may be scaled up or down according to given dimensions. In addition, adding
features such as integrated attachment mechanisms may increase the size and weight of the
entire media device.
[0066] According to one embodiment of the present invention, media device 200 may further
comprise an integral clip for attaching the media device to an object such as a garment. The clip
typically comprises a moving member, the moving member being held between the moving
member and the housing in a closed position where the object is clamped between the moving
member and the housing to secure the media device to the object. The release from state moves
between an open position (e.g., the open position allows placing an object between the housing
and the moving member) that frees the media device from the object. The platform may, for
example, translate, pivot, rotate relative to the housing between a closed position and an open
position. In most instances, the transfer member is further biased in the closed position to help
secure the media device to an object. Thus, the user needs to overcome the biasing force to bring
the moving member into the open position. For example, any suitable spring element may be
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used to provide a biasing force. Alternatively or additionally, a detent or clasp may be used to
help secure the transfer member in the desired position. The detent may, for example, create a
clamping action that allows the moving member and the housing to grip the object with a strong
force.
[0067] 4-11 illustrate the media device of FIGS. 2 and 3 with an integral clip 222, in accordance
with one embodiment of the present invention. The integral clip 222 is attached to the back of
the housing 202 away from the user input area of the media device. As shown, the integral clip
222 includes a platform 224, which is in a closed position to position the platform 224
proximate the housing 202 and an open position to position the platform 224 away from the
housing 202. And pivot with respect to the housing 202. This may be realized, for example, by a
hinge mechanism.
[0068] Any suitable hinge mechanism is available. In the illustrated embodiment, an internal
hinge mechanism is used. In this configuration, platform 224 includes a shoulder 225 extending
from the underside of platform 224, and media device 200 includes a corresponding fixed
shoulder (not shown) disposed within housing 202. The shoulders 225 of the platform 224
engage the corresponding shoulders of the media device 200 through the small openings 226 in
the housing 202. The shoulders, when engaged, can pivot relative to one another. For example,
each shoulder may be provided with an opening in which a pivot pin is arranged to produce a
pivoting movement. Alternatively, one of the shoulders may have a pivot pin and the other
shoulder may have an opening for receiving the pivot pin. In most cases, the small openings
engaged by the shoulders are located away from the edge of the media device (under the
platform) so that the media device is protected from dirt and the device looks better to the user
Be done.
[0069] The platform 224 is preferably biased in the closed position to help secure the media
device to the object of interest. Any suitable spring means may be utilized. In one embodiment, a
torsion spring located between the shoulders is used. The torsion spring places the platform in
the closed position by having an end acting on the first shoulder and a second end acting on the
second shoulder. In order to move the platform to the open position, it is necessary to pivot the
platform about the pivot axis against the force of the torsion spring.
[0070] Platform 224 may be spaced apart from the back of housing 202 to provide space for
objects. For example, the housing 202 may comprise a raised portion 227 to which the platform
224 is attached. The raised portion 227 may be rounded as shown in the figure to facilitate the
pivoting movement. Further, to help secure the media device 200 to an object, the platform 224
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and the housing 202 may include teeth that substantially interlock with one another in the
closed position. The teeth 228 secure the media device 200 to the (sandwiched) object by
helping to bite and grip the object. As shown, the teeth 228 are located near the opposite end of
the pivot axis.
[0071] The shape of the clip and the size of the shape may be widely varied. In one embodiment,
the radius of the raised portion of the housing is less than or equal to about 3 mm and the
thickness of the platform is less than or equal to 1 mm. Taking these into consideration, the
volume of the media device is, for example, about 41.2 × 27.3 × 6, assuming that the basic
dimension (the overall size is about 41.2 × 27.3 × 10) It is 8,230 mm <3>.
[0072] Referring to FIGS. 12A and 12B, the media device 200 is reasonably contained within the
user's hand 270 (and removed from any host device). As shown in FIG. 12A, the control input
device 208 can be easily manipulated by the thumb 272 of the hand 270, with the finger 274
and palm 276 of the hand 270 holding the media device 200. For example, the user can move
the thumb 272 over any of the various buttons of the control input device 208 without moving
the hand 270, and in particular the finger 274. As shown in FIG. 12B, the mode switch 214 can
be easily manipulated by the thumb 272 of the hand 270, with the remainder of the hand
holding the media device 200. For example, the user may use the thumb 272 to move the sliding
mode switch 214 to any of these different positions.
[0073] The control input device 208 according to one embodiment will now be described in
detail with reference to FIG. As shown, control input device 208 includes a moveable platform
230 that is inclined relative to housing 202. In some instances, the platform 230 is movably
coupled to the housing 202, and in other instances, the housing 202 movably squeezes the
floating platform 230 (as shown). The platform 230 generally comprises a cosmetic or contact
layer 232 attached to the top surface of the rigid plate 234. The cosmetic layer 232 projects
from the opening 236 of the housing 202 and provides a contact surface for activating the
various peripheral buttons of the control input device 208. In the illustrated embodiment, the
cosmetic layer 232 comprises a rounded top surface.
[0074] The control input device 208 further comprises one or more mechanical switches 238
disposed between the platform 230 and the housing 202 to generate an input signal based on
movement of the platform 230. Machine switches 238 are typically located at locations
corresponding to the various button areas. Each button area is provided with a separate
mechanical switch 238 located below the button area. Machine switch 238 includes an actuator
240 that causes the generation of an input signal when depressed. Tilting the platform 230 in
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the area of the mechanical switch 238 pushes the actuator 240 thereby generating an input
signal. In most instances, the actuator 240 is spring biased to extend away from the mechanical
switch 238 to bias the platform 230 into an upright position. The mechanical switch 238 may be
attached to the housing 202 or may be attached to the platform 230. In the illustrated
embodiment, mechanical switch 238 is attached to the back of platform 230. Thus, the
mechanical switch 238, in particular the actuator 240, serves as a leg for supporting the
platform 230 in the upright position within the housing 202 (ie the actuator is supported by the
housing or some component attached to the housing) ). For example, mechanical switch 238 may
correspond to a tact switch, such as a dome switch packaged in an SMT.
[0075] As mentioned above, the platform 230 is movably squeezed into a cavity 242 provided in
the housing 202. In essence, the platform 230 is suspended by the housing 202 while floating in
the air relative to the housing 202 (the platform is not attached to the housing). As shown,
platform 230 is surrounded by the side walls, upper wall, and lower wall of housing 202. The
sidewalls are configured to substantially prevent movement in the x and y directions and rotation
about the z-axis (eg, small enough that the platform 230 does not interfere with the housing
during tilting operations) Except the small gap which gives play). However, the top and bottom
walls are configured to allow movement in the z direction (but limited to the z direction) and
rotation about the x and y axes to achieve tilting motion. It is done. That is, the upper and lower
walls provide sufficient space for the platform 230 to tilt to depress the actuator 240 of the
mechanical switch 238 while constraining the platform 230 in the cavity 242. In addition, the
spring force provided by the mechanical switch 238 places the top surface of the platform 230
into engagement with the bottom surface of the top wall of the housing 202 (e.g., an upright
position).
[0076] In operation, the user simply depresses the top surface of platform 230 at the desired
button area location to activate mechanical switch 238 located below platform 230 at the button
area location. When activated, mechanical switch 238 generates an input signal that can be used
by media device 200. To actuate the mechanical switch 238, the force provided by the finger acts
against the spring force of the actuator 240 until the mechanical switch 238 is actuated. The
platform 230 basically floats within the cavity of the housing 202, but when the user presses the
desired button area on one side of the platform 230, the opposite side is the top wall (opposite
the pressed point) The platform 230 pivots about the contact point. In essence, the platform
pivots around four different axes.
[0077] Furthermore, a button cap 244 is disposed between the cosmetic layer 232 and the upper
surface of the rigid plate 234. The top portion of the button cap 244 is configured to protrude
from the opening of the cosmetic layer 232, and the flange portion is held in the space formed
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between the cosmetic layer 232 and the rigid plate 234. The top portion of the button cap 244
may be pressed to activate the fifth switch 246 located below the button cap 244. The fifth
switch 246 may be attached to the housing 202 and penetrate the openings of the rigid plate
234 and the decorative layer 232. When assembled, the actuator 248 of the fifth switch 246
biases the button cap 244 to the upright position by a spring element similar to the other
switches 238.
[0078] It should be noted that the particular embodiment described in FIG. 13 is not intended to
be limiting, and that various other configurations may exist for control input device 208.
[0079] In the following, referring to FIG. 14, a single integrated connector assembly 300
according to one embodiment will be described in detail. The assembly 300 may, for example, be
mounted within the housing of any of the media devices described herein. The assembly 300
comprises a connector body 302 having an axial opening 304 therein. Located within the axial
opening 304 are various terminals 306 for transmitting power, data, and media. As shown, the
terminals 306 are progressively spaced along the axis of the axial opening 304 so as to be
electrically isolated. When the plug is inserted into the shaft opening 304, the plug pushes up the
terminal 306. In some instances, the terminals 306 function as flexures biased inwardly toward
the axis. The terminals thereby provide the force to hold the plug. Further, those terminals may
act as detents when engaged with corresponding terminals (eg, grooves) on the plug. The
terminal 306 also comprises a connection pin, post or wire 308 which passes through the
connector body 302 from the axial opening 304 to the edge of the connector body 302. The
connection pin 308 functions as a position where the assembly 300 can be connected to the
internal circuit of the media device.
[0080] Terminals 306 may be widely varied. The terminals are, for example, data terminals for
transferring data between the media device and the host device; power terminals for supplying
power to the media device and / or charging of the internal battery; for example, audio for
speakers or headphones An audio channel terminal for transmitting; a plug detection terminal
that detects when the plug is inserted into the shaft opening, etc. may be included.
[0081] According to one embodiment, the connector assembly is configured to perform more
than one function with the same terminal or terminals. For example, the same terminals or
groups of terminals may be used both for transferring data and for transmitting media (e.g.
audio) for output. By sharing the terminals, the number of terminals required for the desired
function is reduced, and as a result, the axial length of the connector can be shortened (a
plurality of terminals are axially separated) . Shortening the axial length is advantageous for
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compact media devices with limited space (as in the designs described herein) because the
connector assembly can be miniaturized. Also, by reducing the number of terminals, the number
of connection lines is also reduced, resulting in a smaller controller size (eg, smaller chips can be
used because fewer contacts are required).
[0082] In most instances, the shared terminals communicate with the controller via the same
common line or channel. The lines may be realized as wiring or other known routing techniques
(printed circuit boards, flex circuits, integrated chip etc.). Furthermore, the controller may be
implemented as an application specific integrated circuit chip or may be part of a host controller.
[0083] The controller may comprise a control module for each function. For example, the control
module may include a data transfer module for controlling data transfer operations, a media
output module for controlling the output of media, and a power module for controlling power
operations. The controller may further comprise a control module operatively connected to all
the various components. During operation, the control module selectively switches operation
between different modules. The method of operation may comprise, for example, a first block in
which the first operation is performed at one or more shared terminals. The method of operation
may further comprise a second block in which the second operation is performed at one or more
shared terminals. The method of operation further comprises: a third operation in which the first
and second operations are selectively switched such that both operations can be performed on
the same node (but at another time) via the same communication channel A block may be
provided.
[0084] In the illustrated embodiment, the assembly 300 comprises two data terminals (D + and
D−), ground (GND), voltage (VBUS) (eg +5 V) and plug detection. In this embodiment, the data
terminals (D +, D-) provide multiple functions, including transfer of data between the host device
and the media device, and operation as left and right channels to output audio. It is used. The
media device comprises a controller to determine which operation is desired and to switch
operations (open one operation and close another operation) based on the desired operation
mode.
[0085] The position may vary according to the needs of each device, but in the illustrated
embodiment the left side of the opening includes the VBUS terminal and the D- terminal, the right
side of the opening GND, D +, and Includes plug detection terminal.
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[0086] In one example, when the media device is in upload / download media mode, the power
(+5 V) acts as Vbus for charging the device, ground acts as GND for charging the device, D + and
D -Data lines are used as media transfers (e.g. songs) and plug detection is not used. In addition,
when the media device is in charge mode, the power (+5 V) acts as Vbus to charge the device and
ground acts as GND to charge the device. Still further, when the media device is in audio output
or playback mode, power (+5 V) acts as GND, ground acts as GND, D + data line acts as audio
right channel, D- line is Act as the left channel of audio.
[0087] The plug detect terminal is usually used in the audio output mode. The music is paused
when the plug is removed and then the media device sleeps after a minute of rest.
[0088] The controller may comprise a set of configurable I / O pins for each multifunction
terminal. The number of configurable pins typically corresponds to the number of shared
communication lines (e.g., one pin for each line). Being configurable, I / O pins can be
reconfigured for operations associated with different functions. For example, the function of the I
/ O pin may be switched between ground, a voltage source, various digital inputs, etc. In data
transfer mode, the I / O contacts are configured to transfer data. In media output mode, the I / O
contacts are configured to output media.
[0089] In the following, the hinge mechanism 320 according to one embodiment is described in
detail with reference to FIG. Hinge mechanism 320 may be utilized, for example, in any of the
media devices described herein. In this embodiment, the hinge mechanism 320 is disposed
within the raised portion 322 of the media device housing 324 adjacent to one integrated jack
326 attached to the media device housing 324. As shown, the housing 324 includes an opening
328 for receiving a shoulder 330 projecting from the bottom of the pivoting platform 332. The
opening 328 includes a side wall 334 adjacent the shoulder 330 that prevents the platform 332
from sliding horizontally along the pivot (eg, abutment stops). The wall 334 and the shoulder
330 comprise through holes for receiving the pivot pin 336. The pivot pin 336 may, for example,
be press-fit into the through hole in the wall 334 or may be loosely held by the through hole in
the shoulder 330 to allow for pivoting motion. That is, platform 332 rotates about pivot pin 336.
[0090] The hinge mechanism 300 further comprises a torsion spring 340 adjacent the housing
324 and the shoulder 330 of the platform 332. Torsion spring 340 creates a biasing force that
pushes platform 332 towards the back of housing 324. The hinge mechanism 330 further
comprises one or more teflon strips 342 disposed between the bottom of the platform 332 and
the top of the raised portion 322 of the housing 324 to create a smooth but strong pivoting
motion. Good. In some instances, the teflon piece 342 is free to move therebetween, and in other
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instances is attached to either the raised portion 322 or the platform 332. The platform 332 may
include a recess 346 for placement of the Teflon piece 342 in order to conceal the Teflon piece
342 and hold it in the desired position. Thus, on the side, the platform 332 appears to pivot
about the surface of the raised portion 322 rather than the teflon piece 342.
[0091] According to one embodiment of the present invention, there is provided a platform for
connecting portable media devices quickly and easily to other systems such as, for example,
computers, power supplies or peripherals (monitors, keyboards, speakers etc) Docking station
400 may be utilized with the media player shown in FIGS.
[0092] The docking station may be a stand-alone device that communicates with other devices or
systems via a wired (eg, cable) or wireless (eg, Bluetooth) connection, or directly within the other
device or system It may be integrated. In any case, the docking station comprises an opening or
slot for receiving a portable media device. The opening is typically configured to secure access to
the user interface portion of the portable media device while supporting the portable media
device in an upright position (e.g., generally vertical).
[0093] The dock further comprises means for interfacing the portable media device with other
devices or systems. For example, the opening may comprise one or more connectors that mate
with one or more ports of the portable media device when the portable media device is disposed
in the opening. In the case of a stand-alone device, the connector may be connected to another
connector, port or transceiver that provides an external connection to another device or system.
In the case of a one-piece docking station, the connector may be directly wired to a component of
the host device.
[0094] To illustrate in detail, FIG. 16A shows an example of a docking station 400 that can be
used with the portable media device of FIGS. 4-11, according to one embodiment of the present
invention. As shown, docking station 400 includes a base 414 and an opening or slot 416 that is
a partial recess formed in the top surface of base 414. Base 414 is configured to internally house
various electrical and structural components. The base 414 is further configured to define the
shape or configuration of the docking station 400. The shape may be, for example, substantially
rectangular (as shown), or may be circular, cubic, etc. Furthermore, the base 414 may be formed
by one or more housing components. For example, the base 414 may include upper and lower
housings coupled using any suitable technique such as screws, bolts, snaps, adhesives, clasps and
the like.
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[0095] Although the opening 416 may be configured to receive either side of the portable media
device 200, in this particular embodiment, the opening 416 is within the opening 416 into which
the portable media device 200 is recessed. It is configured to receive one end of the portable
media device 200 so as to support the portable media device 200 in the upright position when
inserted. Clearly, the wall of the opening acts as a guide for placing the media device in the
correct coupling position. The shape and size of the opening 416 is generally configured to
match the overall shape and size of the end of the portable media device 200. That is, the inner
circumferential surface of the opening 416 is sized and dimensioned to receive the outer
circumferential surface of the portable media device 200. Clearly, the wall of the opening acts as
a guide for placing the media device in the correct coupling position. In light of the media device
shown in FIGS. 4-11, the openings are designed to wrap around the front, top, bottom of the
housing and the outer surface of the platform of the clip.
[0096] Located within the opening 416 is an interface 422 that operatively connects the
portable media device 200 to the docking station 400. The interface may be widely varied. In the
illustrated embodiment, interface 422 comprises a single electrical connector 424 coupled to a
single electrical port on the bottom of portable media device 200. For example, docking station
400 may include a male plug that is inserted into female jack 402 of media device 200. The male
plug is generally sized to fit within the port to ensure coupling (eg, frictional coupling) between
the portable media device 200 and the docking station 400. In addition, plugs and ports typically
include pins or contacts that allow for the transmission of electricity upon contact. The electrical
connection may be configured to transmit media, data, and / or power between the portable
media device 200 and the docking station 400. In one embodiment, a single connector capable of
transmitting media, data, and / or power is used.
[0097] Also, in order to guide and secure the portable media device in the proper position, the
docking station 400 may further be configured of the opening 416 when the portable media
device 200 is inserted into the opening 416 of the docking station 400. From the bottom surface,
one or more guide posts 430 may be provided that extend into the space between the platform
224 and the bottom surface of the housing 202. Guide post 430 includes reference or
positioning surfaces corresponding to the four sides of the space. In the illustrated embodiment,
a single guiding post is used. The single guiding post 430 has substantially the same shape as the
space. In some instances, guide post 430 may be provided with rounded sides to facilitate
placement relative thereto. When the portable media device 200 is inserted into the opening
416, the wall of the opening 416 and the guide post 430 surround the surface of the portable
media device 200 and lock it in place.
[0098] FIG. 16B shows media device 200 plugged into docking station 400 connected to laptop
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computer 250. Once connected, the laptop computer 250 can provide power to the media device
200 via the docking station 400 to power the media device 200 and possibly charge its battery.
Because media device 200 is typically a plug and play device, laptop computer 250 recognizes
media device 200 as a media device, and in some instances, a media device icon on display 254
of laptop computer 250 Generate 252. Selecting the media device icon 252 typically opens a
window displaying data and media files stored in the memory of the media device 200. Data and
media files stored on media device 200 can be transferred to laptop computer 250 using drag
and drop functionality.
[0099] Additionally, new data and media files stored on laptop computer 250 may be added to
the memory of media device 200 using drag and drop functionality. In some cases, some or part
of the media files stored on laptop computer 250 are automatically synchronized with media
device 200. That is, when laptop computer 250 recognizes media device 200 and determines
that media device 200 has media capabilities, all or selected media files (eg, audio tracks) stored
in laptop computer 250 are selected. A portion may be configured to be transferred to the
memory of media device 200. The laptop computer 250 can also launch a media management
application when the media device 200 is recognized. One example of a music management
program is iTunes® manufactured by Apple Inc. of Cupertino, California.
[0100] 17A and 17B illustrate examples of audio output devices 450 and 460 available to listen
to audio output through a single integrated connector of portable media device 200. FIG. FIG.
17A shows a conventional output device comprising an earphone and connecting to the media
device through several wires and a male jack. On the other hand, FIG. 17B is a diagram showing a
neck-type output device provided with an earphone, a neck through which a wire to the
earphone is passed, and a connector configuration including a male audio jack. The necked
device may further comprise an adjustable fastener for adjusting the size of the neckline. Clearly,
the neck-down device allows the media device to be worn around the user's neck.
[0101] Figures 18 and 19 illustrate another embodiment of the portable media device shown in
the above-described embodiments. In these embodiments, the front housings of the media
devices 500A and 500B have the same shape as the circular input configuration, thereby forming
a circular media device. The circular housing is much easier to hold and could be treated the
same as the old one. Furthermore, this shape is made possible by eliminating the display (the
display is usually rectangular).
[0102] In one embodiment, the circular input configuration 208 substantially occupies the entire
front of the media devices 500A and 500B. That is, the circular input configuration 208
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substantially extends from end to end of the cylindrical housing 502 of the media device 500A
and 500B. In FIG. 18, the circular input configuration 208 is at least partially housed (eg,
recessed) in the cylindrical housing 502 so that the edge of the circular input configuration 208
is the sidewall of the housing 502. In the middle of In FIG. 19, the circular input configuration
208 is at least partially located on the front of the housing 502 and has an outer peripheral
shape that matches the outer peripheral shape of the cylindrical housing 502. Alternatively, in
some instances, it may be desirable to provide a circular input configuration 208 that is smaller
than the front surface of the cylindrical housing 502. In such an example, the circular input
configuration 208 may be placed inside the front side or on a portion of the front side, thereby
exposing a portion of the front side (at the periphery of the front side) Be done.
[0103] Although any circular input configuration may be utilized in any of the above-described
embodiments, in FIG. 18, media device 500A includes a circular input configuration 208 similar
to that described in FIG. That is, the circular input configuration comprises a tiltable outer ring
and a depressible central button. However, in FIG. 19, a slightly different circular input
configuration 208 is used. In FIG. 19, circular input configuration 208 is implemented as a touch
pad. The touch pad may be fixed or a depressible touch pad configured similar to the circular
input configuration of FIG. In any case, the touch pad may be divided into multiple button areas.
Additionally, the touch pad may be utilized to provide additional input. For example, the volume
may be adjusted by tracing the touch pad in a circle, or it may be used to transition between
songs in a group of songs. Alternatively or additionally, the circular input configuration may be
rotatable.
[0104] Furthermore, as in the previous embodiments, as shown, the media device may comprise
a switch 214, a single integrated connector 204, and various indicators 220. In most cases, these
features are mounted on the side of cylindrical housing 502 as shown. Alternatively, instead of
the switch, a button may be used.
[0105] FIG. 20 is a block diagram illustrating a media device 700, in accordance with one
embodiment of the present invention. Media device 700 comprises a processor 702 associated
with a microprocessor or controller for controlling the overall operation of the media device 700.
Media device 700 stores media data associated with the media item in file system 704 and cache
706. The file system 704 is typically a solid state storage medium. As an example, the solid state
storage medium may be flash memory. File system 704 typically provides mass storage capacity
to media device 700. The file system 704 can store not only media data but also non-media data.
[0106] When the media device 700 operates in a media playback mode, the file system 704 can
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store and retrieve media files. In media playback mode, media device 700 can be considered as a
media player. Alternatively, when the media device 700 operates in data mode, the file system
704 can perform storage and retrieval of data files. In data mode, media device 700 can be
considered as a flash drive. However, because access time to the file system 704 is relatively
slow, the media device 700 may further include a cache 706. The cache 706 is, for example, a
random access memory (RAM) implemented by a semiconductor memory. The relative access
time to the cache 706 is much shorter than the file system 704. However, the cache 706 does
not have a large storage capacity like the file system 704. In addition, file system 704 consumes
more power than cache 706 during operation. Power consumption is often particularly important
when the media device 700 is a portable media player powered by a battery (not shown). Media
device 700 further includes a RAM 720 and a read only memory (ROM) 722. The ROM 722 can
store programs, utilities, or processes to be executed in a non-volatile manner. RAM 720 provides
volatile data storage (eg, for cache 706).
[0107] Media device 700 further comprises one or more user input devices 708 that allow a user
of media device 700 to interact with media device 700. For example, user input device 708 may
take various forms, such as buttons, keypads, dials, switches, and the like. Data bus 711 may
facilitate at least data transfer between file system 704, cache 706, processor 702, and codec
712.
[0108] In one embodiment, media device 700 is operative to store a plurality of media assets (eg,
songs, pictures, etc.) in file system 704. If the user wants the media device 700 to play a
particular media asset, the user operates the user input device 708 to select the media playback
mode. The user input device 708 can then be used to play the next available media asset.
Processor 702, upon receiving a selection of a particular media item, provides media data (eg, an
audio file) for the particular media item to a coder / decoder (codec) 712. The codec 712 then
generates an analog output signal for the speaker 714. The speaker 714 may be a speaker
internal to the media device 700 or a speaker external to the media device 700. For example,
headphones or earphones connected to the media device 700 are considered as external
speakers.
[0109] Further, according to some embodiments of the present invention, the media player may
be set to a specific media playback mode. Mode selection may typically be performed using a
user input device 708 (such as a switch or button). Two typical media playback modes include
continuous playback mode and shuffle playback mode. Generally, in shuffle play mode, the media
player randomly plays media assets in the list of media assets, and in continuous play mode, the
media player plays media assets in the list of media assets in the default order Do. The default
order of media assets included in the list is, for example, (i) alphabetical order of song titles, (ii)
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by track position in the album, or (iii) chronologically loaded into the media player. Good. In one
embodiment of the present invention, the media playback mode is selected using a two position
switch. The two position switch allows the user of the media player to make a selection between
continuous play mode and shuffle play mode.
[0110] Media device 700 further comprises a network / bus interface 716 that connects to data
link 718. Data link 718 allows media device 700 to connect to a host computer. Data link 718
may be provided via a wired connection or a wireless connection. In the case of a wireless
connection, network / bus interface 716 may include a wireless transceiver. In one embodiment,
media device 700 may include an axial jack connector connected to a network / bus interface.
[0111] It should be noted that FIG. 20 does not imply that the media device 700 comprises a
display (display screen). Conventional media players require a display to allow the user to
interact with the media player, but the media device 700 shown in FIG. 20 does not include a
display. The absence of a display allows the media player to be smaller and lighter than
conventional media players. The battery 720 that provides power to the various components of
the media device 700 (at least when not connected to a power source or host computer) can also
be miniaturized due to reduced power consumption. The battery 720 is rechargeable and can be
charged by the charging circuit 722 using power obtained from the peripheral bus.
[0112] In one embodiment, the user input device 708 may include at least a shuffle switch to
facilitate interaction of the user with the media device 700 (without the display). The shuffle
switch allows the user to shuffle media assets (eg, songs) to be played on media device 700. The
user input device 708 also allows the user to signal a request to play, pause, forward, return,
temporarily disable control input, and reshuffle media assets. A control input device may be
provided.
[0113] FIG. 21 is a block diagram illustrating a media management system 800, in accordance
with one embodiment of the present invention. Media management system 800 comprises a host
computer 802 and a media player 804. The media player may be, for example, the media player
700 of FIG. The host computer 802 is typically a personal computer. The host computer
comprises a management module 806, among other conventional components. The management
module 806 is a software module. The management module 806 implements centralized
management of media assets (and / or playlists) on the host computer 802 as well as on the
media player 804. More specifically, management module 806 manages media assets stored in
media storage 808 associated with host computer 802. Management module 806 also interacts
with media database 810 to store media information associated with media assets stored in
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media storage 808. Some embodiments further include a file manager 815, which manages other
data files (ie, non-media asset files) on both the host computer 802 and the media player 804.
[0114] Media information relates to characteristics or attributes of media assets. For example, in
the case of audio media or audio visual media, the media information may include one or more of
a title, an album, a track, an artist, a composer, and a genre. These types of media information are
specific to individual media assets. Further, media information may relate to quality
characteristics of media assets. Examples of media asset quality characteristics may include one
or more of bit rate, sample rate, equalizer settings, volume control, start / stop, and total time.
[0115] Further, in some embodiments, management module 806 also interacts with media
storage 808 with data files (ie, non-media asset files stored on host computer 802, typically on
the host computer's hard drive). Interact with the host computer 802 to Also, in some
embodiments, data files may be exchanged between optionally provided data storage 809, which
is physically and / or logically coupled to media storage 808. It may also be separated. It should
be understood that data files include any data that can be stored in the file system, ie, all file
types. Typical data files include text documents, executable files, and image files. Also, in some
embodiments, management module 806 does not directly access data files. Specifically, the user
performs file transfer with the media player 804 or deletion of the file from the media player
804 using the file manager 815 on the host computer. The media player then functions, for
example, as a disk drive or removable storage medium.
[0116] Data storage 809 and / or media storage 808 may utilize one or more directories (eg,
folders) within the file system of the host computer (eg, on a hard drive, not shown). As is
conventional, data stored in data storage 809 can be accessed by file manager 815. Further, in
one embodiment, media assets stored in media storage 808 can also be accessed by file manager
815.
[0117] The host computer 802 further includes a playback module 812. The playback module
812 is a software module that can be used to play media assets stored in the media storage 808.
In some embodiments, playback module 812 is further utilized to play media assets stored
outside of media storage 808 (eg, media assets stored within data storage 820 of media player
804, etc.) Is also possible.
[0118] Host computer 802 further comprises a communication module 814 that interfaces with
a corresponding communication module 816 in media player 804. Connection or link 818
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disconnects communication modules 814 and 816. In one embodiment, connection or link 818 is
a cable and / or docking station that provides a data bus such as the FIREWIRE® bus or USB bus
well known to those skilled in the art. In another embodiment, connection or link 818 is a
connection via a wireless channel or wireless network. In yet another embodiment, connection or
link 818 is a connection established by directly coupling the connector of media player 804 to
the connector of host computer 802. In this embodiment, the media player 804 is coupled
directly to the host computer 802 without using a cable or docking station. Thus, depending on
the implementation, communication modules 814 and 816 may perform wired communication
or wireless communication.
[0119] Media player 804 further comprises media storage 820 for storing media assets within
media player 804. Optionally, media storage 820 can also store data files within data storage
821. Media assets or data files stored in media asset storage 820 or data storage 821 are
typically received from host computer 802 via connection or link 818. More specifically, the
management module 806 can connect all or part of media assets or data files present in the
media storage 808 or file storage 809 to the media storage 820 in the media player 804 or via
the connection or link 818. Send to file storage 821. Furthermore, media information
corresponding to media assets supplied from the host computer 802 to the media player 804 can
be stored in the media database 822. In this regard, media information from media database 810
in host computer 802 can be sent to media database 822 in media player 804 via connection or
link 818. In addition, a playlist identifying a portion of the media asset may be sent by the
management module 806 to the media storage 820 or media database 822 in the media player
804 via connection or link 818.
[0120] In addition, media player 804 includes a play module 824 coupled to media storage 820
and media database 822. The playback module 824 is a software module that can be used to
play media assets stored within the media storage 820.
[0121] Thus, in one embodiment, media player 804 has limited or no ability to manage media
assets or data files on media player 804. However, management module 806 in host computer
802 can indirectly manage media assets present on media player 804. For example, to “add”
media assets to media player 804, management module 806 functions to identify media assets to
be added from media storage 808 to media player 804 and then to the identified media assets, ie,
Data is provided to the media player 804. As another example, to “delete” media assets from
media player 804, management module 806 functions to identify media assets to be deleted
from media storage 808, and the identified media assets are then It is made to be deleted from
the media player 804. As yet another example, if a property of a media asset is changed (i.e.,
modified) using management module 806 at host computer 802, such property is also reflected
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on the corresponding media asset on media player 804. It is possible to In one embodiment,
additions, deletions, and / or changes are performed in a batch process when synchronizing
media assets on media player 804 with media assets on host computer 802.
[0122] Also, in some embodiments, data storage on media player 804 is designated as file
storage 821 and is physically and / or logically coupled to or separate from media storage 820.
There is. As mentioned above, in some embodiments, management module 806 is not generally
involved in transferring data between file storage 809 on host computer 802 and file storage
821 on media player 804. In these embodiments, file manager 815 operating on host computer
802 may be utilized to manage data transfer between file storage 809 and file storage 821. For
example, when utilizing the file manager 815, the media player 804 acts as a flash drive and
access to data files occurs as if the media player 804 was a conventional flash drive.
[0123] In another embodiment, the media player 804 has limited or no ability to manage
playlists on the media player 804. However, the management module 806 in the host computer
802 can indirectly manage the playlists present on the media player 804 through the
management of playlists present on the host computer. In this regard, additions, deletions or
modifications of playlists may be performed on the host computer 802 and then reflected to the
media player 804 when provided to the media player 804.
[0124] As mentioned above, synchronization is a form of media management. The ability to
automatically initiate synchronization is also described above and in the related applications
noted above. However, the synchronization between the devices may be restricted from
automatic synchronization if the host computer and the media player do not recognize each
other.
[0125] In one embodiment, the host computer may use an application on the host computer to
make available and manage the playlist. One example of such an application is iTunes®
manufactured by Apple Inc. of Cupertino, California.
[0126] In some of the above-described embodiments, although referred to specifically as audio
items (eg, audio files or songs) as media items (ie, media assets), media items are not limited to
audio items. For example, media items may relate to videos (eg, movies) or images (eg, photos).
[0127] The various aspects, features, embodiments or examples of the invention described above
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may be utilized separately or in various combinations.
[0128] The method of the present invention can be implemented by software, hardware or a
combination of hardware and software. The invention may also be embodied as computer
readable code on a computer readable medium. A computer readable medium is any data storage
device that can store data readable by a computer system, and includes both transfer and nontransfer devices as described above. Examples of computer readable media include read only
memory, random access memory, CD-ROM, flash memory card, DVD, magnetic tape, optical data
storage devices, and carrier waves. Also, computer readable media may be distributed over
multiple computer systems connected to a network such that computer readable code can be
distributedly stored and executed.
[0129] The many features and advantages of the present invention are apparent from the above
description and are intended to cover such features and advantages of the present invention by
the appended claims. Further, since many variations and modifications will readily occur to those
skilled in the art, the present invention is not limited to the configuration and operation as
illustrated and described. Accordingly, the scope of the present invention includes all appropriate
modifications and equivalents.
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