US 6493758 Offline viewing of internet content with a mobile device

ABSTRACT – A method and system for transferring offline browsing content information of a wide area network from a host computer to a mobile device includes connecting the mobile device to the host computer and obtaining characteristic information of the mobile device pertaining to at least one of hardware and software capabilities of the mobile device. The content information is transferred from the host computer to the mobile device as a function of the characteristic information.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to personal mobile computing devices commonly known as mobile devices. More particularly, the present invention relates to a system and method for offline viewing of content from a wide area network, such as content from the Internet, with the mobile device.

Mobile devices are small electronic computing devices often referred to as personal digital assistants. Many such mobile devices are hand-held devices, or palm-size devices, which comfortably fit within the hand. One commercially available mobile device is sold under the trade name HandHeld PC (or H/PC) having software provided by Microsoft Corporation of Redmond, Washington.

Generally, the mobile device includes a processor, random access memory (RAM) , and an input device such as a keyboard and a display. The keyboard can be integrated with the display, such as where the keyboard is incorporated as a touch sensitive display. A communication interface is optionally provided and is commonly used to communicate with a desktop computer. A replaceable or rechargeable battery powers the mobile device. Optionally, the mobile device can receive power from an external power source that overrides or recharges the built-in battery.

Commonly, the mobile device is used in conjunction with a desktop computer. For example, the user of the mobile device may also have access to, and use, a desktop computer at work or at home, or both. The user typically runs the same types of applications on both the desktop computer and on the mobile device. Thus, it is quite advantageous for the mobile device to be designed to be coupled to the desktop computer to exchange information with, and share information with, the desktop computer.

Another technique for providing information to such mobile devices is through a wireless transmission link. Such information can include electronic mail or pager information including news, weather; sports, traffic and local event information.

In addition to the above-mentioned uses of the mobile device, there is also a desire to use the mobile device for “offline” browsing of Internet content. U.S. patent application Ser. No. 09/107,666 filed Jun. 30, 1998, entitled “SYSTEM FOR DELIVERING DATA CONTENT OVER A LOW BIT RATE TRANSMISSION CHANNEL” and U.S. patent application Ser. No. 09/107,941. filed Jun. 30, 1998, entitled “CHANNEL DEFINITION ARCHITECTURE EXTENSION” describe a system and method wherein Web or Internet content is rendered on a mobile device using a channel definition format, (CDF) file, a set of script files and a set of data files. Briefly, navigation of the content on the mobile device is performed using the CDF file, which includes references to the script files and the data files. When a particular page of content is to be displayed, a script file is accessed and is used to operate upon the data file in order to render the desired information. This architecture allows wireless updates of data files, because, typically, only the data files will change with time. However, if desired, the CDF file and the script files can also be updated wirelessly. Likewise, each of these files can be updated through synchronization of the mobile device with the desktop computer.

Although the above-described system allows wireless updates for Internet content, the content provider must adapt to this architecture and make available to the mobile device user separate script files and data files. In many cases, this requires the content provider to maintain two different types of Internet sites, one for browsers that expect to receive HTML (hypertext markup language) pages for rendering information, and a second site using the above-described architecture.

Another technique for “offline” browsing with a desktop computer involves traversing or “crawling” through a particular Internet site and storing the information locally. If the information is stored as pages, simple transfer of this information to the mobile device would not be efficient since the mobile device typically has limited memory resources and the information may contain portions that cannot be used or are unsuitable for the mobile device. Thus, memory may be wasted in storing irrelevant information.

There is an ongoing need to provide efficient offline browsing of content, particularly, when performed on a mobile device. The downloading of information for offline browsing should allow access to existing Internet sites without requiring the content provider to maintain separate Internet sites.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

A method and system for transferring offline browsing content information of a wide area network from a host computer to a mobile device includes connecting the mobile device to the host computer and obtaining characteristic information of the mobile device pertaining to at least one of hardware and software capabilities of the mobile device. The content information is transferred from the host computer to the mobile device as a function of the characteristic information.

 

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