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With the news breaking about Microsoft responding to an iPhone announcement with a possible Zune Cell Phone, we wondered what feature they’d most want to have.

One of the most unique elements of the Zune is its ability to share music wirelessly and socially. “Hey, while I have you on the phone, do you want to hear that new Shins song? Let me shoot it to you…”

It appears that Microsoft has anticipated this concept for mobile communications, even those that don’t have an additional data line, such as found in the various 3G formats. In 2005, Microsoft filed for two patents allowing the transfer of rich media during a call as well as using DTMF signals over the voice channel (typically used for the keypad tones to dial) as the means for doing so.

Pretty slick stuff, one of the applications describes that “the standard DTMF signals for numbers “0” through “7” can be mapped to the corresponding three-bit binary representations of those numbers. The arbitrary data can be placed in a container with meta-data indicating the start and end of the data, the type of data, the amount of data, error correction/detection information, etc. The receiver can prevent the DTMF signals from being converted to audio signals to spare any human listeners from hearing the DTMF signals.”

Also, back in July, 2005, Microsoft toyed around with another invention to simplify the multi-function phone experience: a Transforming Media Device (really, they titled the patent application with that name). In this, they discuss the idea of avoiding having to scroll through multiple interface menus to get to the desired functionality. The idea revolves around the physical pivoting orientation of the device to access various functions for its use – as a phone, a camera or a media device. Microsoft has quite the portfolio to sort through, and we’ll report more about it in future entries.

Patent Monkey is a feature written by our friends at PatentMonkey.com

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