1. Field of the Invention
The present invention relates to telephone systems and, more specifically, to a speaker-phones.
2. Description of the Prior Art
Portable telephones, such as cellular telephones, often have attachments that allow hands-free operation. Some such attachments include headset systems and also speaker-phone attachments. Speaker-phone attachments allow the user to turn the portable telephone into a speaker-phone by tapping the audio signal from the portable telephone, amplifying it and sending it to a speaker. Such attachments usually require connecting a jack on the telephone to the speaker-phone attachment via a loose wire terminated by a plug. Plugging the plug into the jack can be awkward and the loose wire sometimes gets tangled with other wires.
Therefore, there is a need for a speaker-phone attachment for a portable telephone that allows direct connection.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE FIGURES OF THE DRAWINGS
FIG. 1 is a schematic drawing of one illustrative embodiment of the invention.
FIG. 2 is a schematic drawing of a second illustrative embodiment of the invention.
A preferred embodiment of the invention is now described in detail. Referring to the drawings, like numbers indicate like parts throughout the views. As used in the description herein and throughout the claims, the following terms take the meanings explicitly associated herein, unless the context clearly dictates otherwise: the meaning of "a,", "an," and "the" includes plural reference, the meaning of "in" includes "in" and "on."
As shown in FIG. 1, one embodiment of the invention 100 includes a speaker-phone base 140 for a portable telephone 102, such as a cellular telephone. Typically, the portable telephone 102 will include a interface jack 108 that houses an interface electrical power connector 110 and an interface audio connector 112. Connected to interface electrical power connector 110 is a power electronic circuit 106 that delivers electrical power from a battery 114 to the rest of the telephone 102 and that controls charging functions for the battery 114. An audio electronic circuit 104 is connected to the interface audio connector 112 and controls the telephony and audio functions of the telephone 102.
The speaker-phone base member 140 defines a portable telephone electrical interface receptacle 146 that is shaped so as to be capable of receiving therein the interface jack 108 and the telephone 102. Disposed within the receptacle 146 is a base jack 130 that includes a base electrical power connector 134 and a base audio connector 132. The base electrical power connector 134 is complementary in shape and function to the interface electrical power connector 110, and the base audio connector 132 is complimentary in shape and function to the interface audio connector 112.
A speaker 154 and a microphone 156 are also disposed in the base member 146. A speaker-phone audio circuit 150 is electrically coupled to the base audio connector 132, the speaker 154 and the microphone 156. The speaker-phone audio circuit 150 drives the speaker-phone aspect of the invention. The speaker-phone audio circuit 150 receives telephone audio signals from the portable telephone 102 via the base audio connector 132 and causes the speaker 154 to generate sound corresponding to the telephone audio signal. The speaker-phone audio circuit 150 also receives voice signals (sound) from the microphone 156 and transmits corresponding telephone transmit signals to portable telephone 102 via the base audio connector 132.
A power circuit 148 connects a power source (such as a battery 154 or a utility electrical input 152) to the telephone 102 via the electrical power connector 134. The power circuit 148 can perform several functions, depending upon the specific application. For example, if the base member 140 includes both a battery 154 and a utility electrical input 152, then the power circuit 148 can control the switching from the utility electrical input 152 to the battery 154 when switching from a fixed mode of operation to a portable mode of operation. In certain applications, the power circuit could also control recharging functions in the battery 114 of the portable telephone 102, thereby allowing for a smaller telephone 102. If the utility electrical input 152 is not plugged into a utility power outlet, then the base member 140 may be used as a portable speaker-phone, running off of the battery 154.
A second embodiment of the invention 200, as shown in FIG. 2, includes an insert 220 that includes an insert jack 230, having an audio connection 232 and a power connection 234, and an insert interface 235. The insert interface 235 includes a male power plug 238 and an audio plug 236. Similarly, the base member 240 includes a female power plug 244, which is coupled to the power circuit 248, and an audio plug 242, which is coupled to the audio circuit 250, both disposed in the receptacle 246. The insert 220 has a first side 222, that defines a receptacle cavity 226 in which the insert jack 230 is disposed, and an opposite second side 224. The second side 224 acts as a bottom interface surface that is complementary in shape to the base member receptacle 246. The telephone 202 fits into the insert receptacle cavity 226, coupling to the insert jack 230. The insert 220 can be plugged into either a utility power wall socket (not shown) for direct recharging, or the insert 220 can be plugged into the base member 240 for recharging and for use as a speaker-phone.
In accordance with the invention, different types inserts 220 could be made for different types of telephones. However each type of insert 220 could be compatible with a single type of common base member 240, thereby allowing different telephones 202 to share a common speaker-phone base 240.
The above described embodiments are given as illustrative examples only. It will be readily appreciated that many deviations may be made from the specific embodiments disclosed in this specification without departing from the invention. Accordingly, the scope of the invention is to be determined by the claims below rather than being limited to the specifically described embodiments above.