Automatic detection and application of assistive technology features

Abstract

There is described a computer-implemented method for launching an application on a mobile device, the method comprising: receiving a command to launch the application; determining if the application is an accessible application; if the application is an accessible application, enabling at least one assistive technology feature; and launching the application, whereby default settings are in effect for an inaccessible application.

Claims

1 . A computer-implemented method for launching an application on a mobile device, the method comprising: receiving a command to launch the application; determining if the application is an accessible application; if the application is an accessible application, enabling at least one assistive technology feature; and launching the application, whereby default settings are in effect for an inaccessible application. 2 . The method of claim 1 , further comprising determining if assistive technology is present on the mobile device. 3 . The method of claim 2 , wherein determining if assistive technology is present comprises determining if the assistive technology is in use. 4 . The method of claim 2 , wherein enabling at least one assistive technology feature comprises enabling a same feature as one being used with the assistive technology. 5 . The method of claim 1 , wherein determining if the application is an accessible application comprises accessing a database of registered accessible applications and looking for the application in the database. 6 . The method of claim 2 , wherein determining if the application is an accessible application comprises identifying which assistive technology features are active on the mobile device and determining if the application comprises similar assistive technology features. 7 . The method of claim 1 , wherein determining if the application is an accessible application comprises determining if the application is an accessible application with respect to navigation features. 8 . The method of claim 7 , wherein the at least one assistive technology feature is selected from a list comprising link-to-link, speech-to-text, breathing-assisted, moving eyes-assisted, eyebrows-assisted. 9 . A mobile device comprising: a memory; a processor coupled to the memory; at least one application; and an accessibility module adapted for receiving a command to launch the at least one application; determining if the at least one application is an accessible application; and if the at least one application is an accessible application, enabling at least one assistive technology feature at launch. 10 . The mobile device of claim 9 , further comprising assistive technology. 11 . The mobile device of claim 10 , wherein the assistive technology and the at least one application communicate via an accessibility API. 12 . The mobile device of claim 9 , wherein the at least one application is a web browser. 13 . The mobile device of claim 12 , wherein the at least one assistive technology feature is a navigation feature. 14 . The mobile device of claim 13 , wherein the navigation feature is selected from a list comprising of link-to-link, speech-to-text, breathing-assisted, moving eyes-assisted, eyebrows-assisted. 15 . The mobile device of claim 10 , wherein the accessibility module is adapted for accessing an external server to determine if the at least one application is an accessible application. 16 . A network comprising: at least one mobile device comprising a memory; at least one application; a processor coupled to the memory; at least one server in communication with the at least one mobile device; and an accessibility module residing at least in part on one of the at least one mobile device and the at least one server and adapted for: receiving a command to launch the at least one application; determining if the at least one application is an accessible application; and if the at least one application is an accessible application, enabling at least one assistive technology feature at launch. 17 . The network of claim 16 , wherein the at least one mobile device queries the server upon receiving said command to launch the at least one application. 18 . The network of claim 16 , wherein the server maintains a registry of accessible applications. 19 . The network of claim 16 , wherein the mobile device comprises assistive technology. 20 . The network of claim 16 , wherein the accessibility module resides entirely on the mobile device, and the mobile device queries the server to determine if the application is an accessible application.
CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS [0001] This is the first application filed for the present invention. FIELD [0002] This application relates to the field of Assistive Technologies (AT), and more particularly to various features provided in software applications for mobile devices to help people with disabilities. BACKGROUND [0003] Accessibility refers to the extent to which a product or service can be used by as many people as possible. In this context, it means the ability of people with disabilities or impairments to use applications on a mobile device. Like any other group of users, people with disabilities or impairments have wants and expectations about the behavior of applications on mobile devices. In order to address these wants and expectations, various features exist to assist with certain disabilities. [0004] Some of the disabilities that may be addressed via software features are as follows: blindness, vision impairment, colorblindness, deafness, hearing impairment, speech impairment, motor impairments, and cognitive or learning disabilities. Text to speech features are sometimes provided for users with blindness or vision impairments. Screen readers usually perform this function. [0005] However, features such as a screen reader are not usually set as a default setting on a mobile device. For a user with a disability, it can be difficult to enable the given feature, and usually requires asking someone without the disability for assistance. Therefore, it would be useful to improve on the existing sets of technologies available for mobile device users with disabilities. BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS [0006] For a better understanding of the various example embodiments described herein and to show more clearly how they may be carried into effect, reference will now be made, by way of example only, to the accompanying drawings which show at least one example embodiment and in which: [0007] FIG. 1 is a block diagram of an example embodiment of a mobile device; [0008] FIG. 2 is a block diagram of an example embodiment of a communication subsystem component of the mobile device of FIG. 1 ; [0009] FIG. 3 is an example block diagram of a node of a wireless network; [0010] FIG. 4 is a block diagram illustrating components of a host system in one example configuration for use with the wireless network of FIG. 3 and the mobile device of FIG. 1 ; [0011] FIG. 5 is a block diagram illustrating components of the mobile device with the accessibility module in one example configuration; [0012] FIG. 6 is an example of an accessible application and an assistive technology application interacting; and [0013] FIG. 7 is a flowchart of a method for launching an application on a mobile device in accordance with one example embodiment. DETAILED DESCRIPTION [0014] It will be appreciated that for simplicity and clarity of illustration, where considered appropriate, reference numerals may be repeated among the figures to indicate corresponding or analogous elements. In addition, numerous specific details are set forth in order to provide a thorough understanding of the example embodiments described herein. However, it will be understood by those of ordinary skill in the art that the example embodiments described herein may be practiced without these specific details. In other instances, well-known methods, procedures and components have not been described in detail so as not to obscure the example embodiments described herein. Also, the description is not to be considered as limiting the scope of the example embodiments described herein. [0015] For the purposes of the present description, “assistive technology” or an “assistive technology application” is an application that may be used on a mobile device to assist a user in interacting with the mobile device. For example, a screen reader is an assistive technology application. Screen magnifiers, self-voicing applications, and customized graphical user interfaces to alter colors and sizes of desktops, short-cut icons, menu bars, and scroll bars are other examples. Yet other examples are optical character recognition to convert the printed word into text via a scanner, Braille translation to convert the printed word into Braille, text-to-speech, speech-to-text, spell checkers, and grammar checkers. Assistive technology may be used to assist users dealing with blindness, vision impairment, colorblindness, deafness, hearing impairment, speech impairment, motor impairments, and cognitive or learning disabilities. [0016] Applications compatible with assistive technology applications are also known as accessible applications. Accessible applications work with assistive technology applications to provide the feature offered by the assistive technology for the given accessible application. For example, a blind user may have a screen reader software application to hear what is being displayed graphically onscreen. If a web browser is launched and this web browser is not an accessible application, then the screen reader will not be capable of functioning within the web browser. If the web browser is indeed an accessible application and offers an assistive technology feature for its navigation, then the screen reader will assist the user to hear what is being displayed graphically onscreen by the web browser. [0017] In some aspects, there is provided a computer-implemented method for launching an application on a mobile device, the method comprising: receiving a command to launch the application; determining if the application is an accessible application; if the application is an accessible application, enabling at least one assistive technology feature; and launching the application, whereby default settings are in effect for an inaccessible application. [0018] In other aspects, there is provided a mobile device comprising: a memory; a processor coupled to the memory; at least one application; and an accessibility module adapted for receiving a command to launch the at least one application; determining if the at least one application is an accessible application; and if the at least one application is an accessible application, enabling at least one assistive technology feature at launch. [0019] In yet other aspects, there is provided a network comprising: at least one mobile device comprising a memory; at least one application; a processor coupled to the memory; at least one server in communication with the at least one mobile device; and an accessibility module residing at least in part on one of the at least one mobile device and the at least one server and adapted for: receiving a command to launch the at least one application; determining if the at least one application is an accessible application; and if the at least one application is an accessible application, enabling at least one assistive technology feature at launch. [0020] The example embodiments described herein generally relate to a mobile wireless communication device, hereafter referred to as a mobile device, which can be configured according to an IT policy. It should be noted that the term IT policy, in general, refers to a collection of IT policy rules, in which the IT policy rules can be defined as being either grouped or non-grouped and global or per-user. The terms grouped, non-grouped, global and per-user are defined further below. Examples of applicable communication devices include pagers, cellular phones, cellular smart-phones, wireless organizers, personal digital assistants, computers, laptops, handheld wireless communication devices, wirelessly enabled notebook computers and the like. [0021] The mobile device is a two-way communication device with advanced data communication capabilities including the capability to communicate with other mobile devices or computer systems through a network of transceiver stations. The mobile device may also have the capability to allow voice communication. Depending on the functionality provided by the mobile device, it may be referred to as a data messaging device, a two-way pager, a cellular telephone with data messaging capabilities, a wireless Internet appliance, or a data communication device (with or without telephony capabilities). To aid the reader in understanding the structure of the mobile device and how it communicates with other devices and host systems, reference will now be made to FIGS. 1 through 4 . [0022] Referring first to FIG. 1 , shown therein is a block diagram of an example embodiment of a mobile device 100 . The mobile device 100 includes a number of components such as a main processor 102 that controls the overall operation of the mobile device 100 . Communication functions, including data and voice communications, are performed through a communication subsystem 104 . The communication subsystem 104 receives messages from and sends messages to a wireless network 200 . In this example embodiment of the mobile device 100 , the communication subsystem 104 is configured in accordance with the Global System for Mobile Communication (GSM) and General Packet Radio Services (GPRS) standards. The GSM/GPRS wireless network is used worldwide and it is expected that these standards will be superseded eventually by Enhanced Data GSM Environment (EDGE) and Universal Mobile Telecommunications Service (UMTS). New standards are still being defined, but it is believed that they will have similarities to the network behavior described herein, and it will also be understood by persons skilled in the art that the example embodiments described herein are intended to use any other suitable standards that are developed in the future. The wireless link connecting the communication subsystem 104 with the wireless network 200 represents one or more different Radio Frequency (RF) channels, operating according to defined protocols specified for GSM/GPRS communications. With newer network protocols, these channels are capable of supporting both circuit switched voice communications and packet switched data communications. [0023] Although the wireless network 200 associated with mobile device 100 is a GSM/GPRS wireless network in one example implementation, other wireless networks may also be associated with the mobile device 100 in variant implementations. The different types of wireless networks that may be employed include, for example, data-centric wireless networks, voice-centric wireless networks, and dual-mode networks that can support both voice and data communications over the same physical base stations. Combined dual-mode networks include, but are not limited to, Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) or CDMA2000 networks, GSM/GPRS networks (as mentioned above), and future third-generation (3G) networks like EDGE and UMTS. Some other examples of data-centric networks include WiFi 802.11, Mobitex™ and DataTAC™ network communication systems. Examples of other voice-centric data networks include Personal Communication Systems (PCS) networks like GSM and Time Division Multiple Access (TDMA) systems. [0024] The main processor 102 also interacts with additional subsystems such as a Random Access Memory (RAM) 106 , a flash memory 108 , a display 110 , an auxiliary input/output (I/O) subsystem 112 , a data port 114 , a keyboard 116 , a speaker 118 , a microphone 120 , short-range communications 122 and other device subsystems 124 . [0025] Some of the subsystems of the mobile device 100 perform communication-related functions, whereas other subsystems may provide “resident” or on-device functions. By way of example, the display 110 and the keyboard 116 may be used for both communication-related functions, such as entering a text message for transmission over the network 200 , and device-resident functions such as a calculator or task list. In one example embodiment, the method of launching an application as per the example embodiments described herein is entirely a device-resident function. In an alternative example embodiment, this method may be a communication-related function and involve a server, as will be illustrated in more detail below. [0026] The mobile device 100 can send and receive communication signals over the wireless network 200 after required network registration or activation procedures have been completed. Network access is associated with a subscriber or user of the mobile device 100 . To identify a subscriber, the mobile device 100 requires a SIM/RUIM card 126 (i.e. Subscriber Identity Module or a Removable User Identity Module) to be inserted into a SIM/RUIM interface 128 in order to communicate with a network. The SIM card or RUIM 126 is one type of a conventional “smart card” that can be used to identify a subscriber of the mobile device 100 and to personalize the mobile device 100 , among other things. Without the SIM card 126 , the mobile device 100 is not fully operational for communication with the wireless network 200 . By inserting the SIM card/RUIM 126 into the SIM/RUIM interface 128 , a subscriber can access all subscribed services. Services may include: web browsing and messaging such as e-mail, voice mail, Short Message Service (SMS), and Multimedia Messaging Services (MMS). More advanced services may include: point of sale, field service and sales force automation. The SIM card/RUIM 126 includes a processor and memory for storing information. Once the SIM card/RUIM 126 is inserted into the SIM/RUIM interface 128 , it is coupled to the main processor 102 . In order to identify the subscriber, the SIM card/RUIM 126 can include some user parameters such as an International Mobile Subscriber Identity (IMSI). An advantage of using the SIM card/RUIM 126 is that a subscriber is not necessarily bound by any single physical mobile device. The SIM card/RUIM 126 may store additional subscriber information for a mobile device as well, including datebook (or calendar) information and recent call information. Alternatively, user identification information can also be programmed into the flash memory 108 . [0027] The mobile device 100 is a battery-powered device and includes a battery interface 132 for receiving one or more rechargeable batteries 130 . In at least some example embodiments, the battery 130 can be a smart battery with an embedded microprocessor. The battery interface 132 is coupled to a regulator (not shown), which assists the battery 130 in providing power V+ to the mobile device 100 . Although current technology makes use of a battery, future technologies such as micro fuel cells may provide the power to the mobile device 100 . [0028] The mobile device 100 also includes an operating system 134 and software components 136 to 146 which are described in more detail below. The operating system 134 and the software components 136 to 146 that are executed by the main processor 102 are typically stored in a persistent store such as the flash memory 108 , which may alternatively be a read-only memory (ROM) or similar storage element (not shown). Those skilled in the art will appreciate that portions of the operating system 134 and the software components 136 to 146 , such as specific device applications, or parts thereof, may be temporarily loaded into a volatile store such as the RAM 106 . Other software components can also be included, as is well known to those skilled in the art. [0029] The subset of software applications 136 that control basic device operations, including data and voice communication applications, will normally be installed on the mobile device 100 during its manufacture. Other software applications include a message application 138 that can be any suitable software program that allows a user of the mobile device 100 to send and receive electronic messages. Various alternatives exist for the message application 138 as is well known to those skilled in the art. Messages that have been sent or received by the user are typically stored in the flash memory 108 of the mobile device 100 or some other suitable storage element in the mobile device 100 . In at least some example embodiments, some of the sent and received messages may be stored remotely from the device 100 such as in a data store of an associated host system that the mobile device 100 communicates with. [0030] The software applications can further include a device state module 140 , a Personal Information Manager (PIM) 142 , an accessibility module 148 , one or more accessible applications 143 , one or more inaccessible applications 145 , assistive technology 147 , and other suitable modules (not shown). The device state module 140 provides persistence, i.e. the device state module 140 ensures that important device data is stored in persistent memory, such as the flash memory 108 , so that the data is not lost when the mobile device 100 is turned off or loses power. [0031] The PIM 142 includes functionality for organizing and managing data items of interest to the user, such as, but not limited to, e-mail, contacts, calendar events, voice mails, appointments, and task items. A PIM application has the ability to send and receive data items via the wireless network 200 . PIM data items may be seamlessly integrated, synchronized, and updated via the wireless network 200 with the mobile device subscriber's corresponding data items stored and/or associated with a host computer system. This functionality creates a mirrored host computer on the mobile device 100 with respect to such items. This can be particularly advantageous when the host computer system is the mobile device subscriber's office computer system. [0032] The accessibility module 148 includes functionality for enabling an assistive technology feature when assistive technology 147 is in use on the mobile device 100 and an accessible application 143 is launched. An inaccessible application 145 is an application that may not be used with assistive technology 147 . The accessibility module 148 has the ability to send and receive data items via the wireless network 200 . In some example embodiments, information is provided on an external server and used by the accessibility module 148 which accesses the information via the wireless network 200 . The accessibility module 148 has the ability to determine if a new application being launched is an accessible application 143 and if so, enabling at least one assistive technology feature at launch of the application. The accessibility module 148 may also determine if assistive technology 147 is present on the device 100 and/or in use by the user of the mobile device 100 . In some example embodiments, this feature is communication-related and the role of the accessibility module 148 is limited to querying the server when an application is launched. In other example embodiments, the accessibility module 148 is involved in the process of determining if the assistive technology feature should be enabled, and its enablement. [0033] The mobile device 100 also includes a connect module 144 , and an IT policy module 146 . The connect module 144 implements the communication protocols that are required for the mobile device 100 to communicate with the wireless infrastructure and any host system, such as an enterprise system, that the mobile device 100 is authorized to interface with. Examples of a wireless infrastructure and an enterprise system are given in FIGS. 3 and 4 , which are described in more detail below. [0034] The connect module 144 includes a set of APIs that can be integrated with the mobile device 100 to allow the mobile device 100 to use any number of services associated with the enterprise system. The connect module 144 allows the mobile device 100 to establish an end-to-end secure, authenticated communication pipe with the host system. A subset of applications for which access is provided by the connect module 144 can be used to pass IT policy commands from the host system to the mobile device 100 . This can be done in a wireless or wired manner. These instructions can then be passed to the IT policy module 146 to modify the configuration of the device 100 . Alternatively, in some cases, the IT policy update can also be done over a wired connection. [0035] The IT policy module 146 receives IT policy data that encodes the IT policy. The IT policy module 146 then ensures that the IT policy data is authenticated by the mobile device 100 . The IT policy data can then be stored in the flash memory 106 in its native form. After the IT policy data is stored, a global notification can be sent by the IT policy module 146 to all of the applications residing on the mobile device 100 . Applications for which the IT policy may be applicable then respond by reading the IT policy data to look for IT policy rules that are applicable. [0036] The IT policy module 146 can include a parser (not shown), which can be used by the applications to read the IT policy rules. In some cases, another module or application can provide the parser. Grouped IT policy rules, described in more detail below, are retrieved as byte streams, which are then sent (recursively, in a sense) into the parser to determine the values of each IT policy rule defined within the grouped IT policy rule. In at least some example embodiments, the IT policy module 146 can determine which applications are affected by the IT policy data and send a notification to only those applications. In either of these cases, for applications that aren't running at the time of the notification, the applications can call the parser or the IT policy module 146 when they are executed to determine if there are any relevant IT policy rules in the newly received IT policy data. [0037] All applications that support rules in the IT Policy are coded to know the type of data to expect. For example, the value that is set for the “WEP User Name” IT policy rule is known to be a string; therefore the value in the IT policy data that corresponds to this rule is interpreted as a string. As another example, the setting for the “Set Maximum Password Attempts” IT policy rule is known to be an integer, and therefore the value in the IT policy data that corresponds to this rule is interpreted as such. [0038] After the IT policy rules have been applied to the applicable applications or configuration files, the IT policy module 146 sends an acknowledgement back to the host system to indicate that the IT policy data was received and successfully applied. [0039] Other types of software applications can also be installed on the mobile device 100 . These software applications can be third party applications, which are added after the manufacture of the mobile device 100 . Examples of third party applications include games, calculators, utilities, etc. [0040] The additional applications can be loaded onto the mobile device 100 through at least one of the wireless network 200 , the auxiliary I/O subsystem 112 , the data port 114 , the short-range communications subsystem 122 , or any other suitable device subsystem 124 . This flexibility in application installation increases the functionality of the mobile device 100 and may provide enhanced on-device functions, communication-related functions, or both. For example, secure communication applications may enable electronic commerce functions and other such financial transactions to be performed using the mobile device 100 . Assistive technology may be loaded onto the mobile device 100 in this manner and expands the spectrum of users that may interact with the mobile device 100 . [0041] The data port 114 enables a subscriber to set preferences through an external device or software application and extends the capabilities of the mobile device 100 by providing for information or software downloads to the mobile device 100 other than through a wireless communication network. The alternate download path may, for example, be used to load an encryption key onto the mobile device 100 through a direct and thus reliable and trusted connection to provide secure device communication. [0042] The data port 114 can be any suitable port that enables data communication between the mobile device 100 and another computing device. The data port 114 can be a serial or a parallel port. In some instances, the data port 114 can be a USB port that includes data lines for data transfer and a supply line that can provide a charging current to charge the battery 130 of the mobile device 100 . [0043] The short-range communications subsystem 122 provides for communication between the mobile device 100 and different systems or devices, without the use of the wireless network 200 . For example, the subsystem 122 may include an infrared device and associated circuits and components for short-range communication. Examples of short-range communication standards include standards developed by the Infrared Data Association (IrDA), Bluetooth, and the 802.11 family of standards developed by IEEE. [0044] In use, a received signal such as a text message, an e-mail message, or web page download will be processed by the communication subsystem 104 and input to the main processor 102 . The main processor 102 will then process the received signal for output to the display 110 or alternatively to the auxiliary I/O subsystem 112 . A subscriber may also compose data items, such as e-mail messages, for example, using the keyboard 116 in conjunction with the display 110 and possibly the auxiliary I/O subsystem 112 . The auxiliary subsystem 112 may include devices such as: a touch screen, mouse, track ball, infrared fingerprint detector, or a roller wheel with dynamic button pressing capability. The keyboard 116 is preferably an alphanumeric keyboard and/or telephone-type keypad. However, other types of keyboards may also be used. A composed item may be transmitted over the wireless network 200 through the communication subsystem 104 . [0045] For voice communications, the overall operation of the mobile device 100 is substantially similar, except that the received signals are output to the speaker 118 , and signals for transmission are generated by the microphone 120 . Alternative voice or audio I/O subsystems, such as a voice message recording subsystem, can also be implemented on the mobile device 100 . Although voice or audio signal output is accomplished primarily through the speaker 118 , the display 110 can also be used to provide additional information such as the identity of a calling party, duration of a voice call, or other voice call related information. [0046] Referring now to FIG. 2 , an example block diagram of the communication subsystem component 104 is shown. The communication subsystem 104 includes a receiver 150 , a transmitter 152 , as well as associated components such as one or more embedded or internal antenna elements 154 and 156 , Local Oscillators (LOs) 158 , and a processing module such as a Digital Signal Processor (DSP) 160 . The particular design of the communication subsystem 104 is dependent upon the communication network 200 with which the mobile device 100 is intended to operate. Thus, it should be understood that the design illustrated in FIG. 2 serves only as one example. [0047] Signals received by the antenna 154 through the wireless network 200 are input to the receiver 150 , which may perform such common receiver functions as signal amplification, frequency down conversion, filtering, channel selection, and analog-to-digital (A/D) conversion. A/D conversion of a received signal allows more complex communication functions such as demodulation and decoding to be performed in the DSP 160 . In a similar manner, signals to be transmitted are processed, including modulation and encoding, by the DSP 160 . These DSP-processed signals are input to the transmitter 152 for digital-to-analog (D/A) conversion, frequency up conversion, filtering, amplification and transmission over the wireless network 200 via the antenna 156 . The DSP 160 not only processes communication signals, but also provides for receiver and transmitter control. For example, the gains applied to communication signals in the receiver 150 and the transmitter 152 may be adaptively controlled through automatic gain control algorithms implemented in the DSP 160 . [0048] The wireless link between the mobile device 100 and the wireless network 200 can contain one or more different channels, typically different RF channels, and associated protocols used between the mobile device 100 and the wireless network 200 . An RF channel is a limited resource that must be conserved, typically due to limits in overall bandwidth and limited battery power of the mobile device 100 . [0049] When the mobile device 100 is fully operational, the transmitter 152 is typically keyed or turned on only when it is transmitting to the wireless network 200 and is otherwise turned off to conserve resources. Similarly, the receiver 150 is periodically turned off to conserve power until it is needed to receive signals or information (if at all) during designated time periods. [0050] Referring now to FIG. 3 , a block diagram of an example implementation of a node 202 of the wireless network 200 is shown. In practice, the wireless network 200 comprises one or more nodes 202 . In conjunction with the connect module 144 , the mobile device 100 can communicate with the node 202 within the wireless network 200 . In the example implementation of FIG. 3 , the node 202 is configured in accordance with General Packet Radio Service (GPRS) and Global Systems for Mobile (GSM) technologies. The node 202 includes a base station controller (BSC) 204 with an associated tower station 206 , a Packet Control Unit (PCU) 208 added for GPRS support in GSM, a Mobile Switching Center (MSC) 210 , a Home Location Register (HLR) 212 , a Visitor Location Registry (VLR) 214 , a Serving GPRS Support Node (SGSN) 216 , a Gateway GPRS Support Node (GGSN) 218 , and a Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) 220 . This list of components is not meant to be an exhaustive list of the components of every node 202 within a GSM/GPRS network, but rather a list of components that are commonly used in communications through the network 200 . [0051] In a GSM network, the MSC 210 is coupled to the BSC 204 and to a landline network, such as a Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) 222 to satisfy circuit switched requirements. The connection through the PCU 208 , the SGSN 216 and the GGSN 218 to a public or private network (Internet) 224 (also referred to herein generally as a shared network infrastructure) represents the data path for GPRS capable mobile devices. In a GSM network extended with GPRS capabilities, the BSC 204 also contains the Packet Control Unit (PCU) 208 that connects to the SGSN 216 to control segmentation, radio channel allocation and to satisfy packet switched requirements. To track the location of the mobile device 100 and availability for both circuit switched and packet switched management, the HLR 212 is shared between the MSC 210 and the SGSN 216 . Access to the VLR 214 is controlled by the MSC 210 . [0052] The station 206 is a fixed transceiver station and together with the BSC 204 form fixed transceiver equipment. The fixed transceiver equipment provides wireless network coverage for a particular coverage area commonly referred to as a “cell”. The fixed transceiver equipment transmits communication signals to and receives communication signals from mobile devices within its cell via the station 206 . The fixed transceiver equipment normally performs such functions as modulation and possibly encoding and/or encryption of signals to be transmitted to the mobile device 100 in accordance with particular, usually predetermined, communication protocols and parameters, under control of its controller. The fixed transceiver equipment similarly demodulates and possibly decodes and decrypts, if necessary, any communication signals received from the mobile device 100 within its cell. Communication protocols and parameters may vary between different nodes. For example, one node may employ a different modulation scheme and operate at different frequencies than other nodes. [0053] For all mobile devices 100 registered with a specific network, permanent configuration data such as a user profile is stored in the HLR 212 . The HLR 212 also contains location information for each registered mobile device and can be queried to determine the current location of a mobile device. The MSC 210 is responsible for a group of location areas and stores the data of the mobile devices currently in its area of responsibility in the VLR 214 . Further, the VLR 214 also contains information on mobile devices that are visiting other networks. The information in the VLR 214 includes part of the permanent mobile device data transmitted from the HLR 212 to the VLR 214 for faster access. By moving additional information from a remote HLR 212 node to the VLR 214 , the amount of traffic between these nodes can be reduced so that voice and data services can be provided with faster response times and at the same time requiring less use of computing resources. [0054] The SGSN 216 and the GGSN 218 are elements added for GPRS support; namely packet switched data support, within GSM. The SGSN 216 and the MSC 210 have similar responsibilities within the wireless network 200 by keeping track of the location of each mobile device 100 . The SGSN 216 also performs security functions and access control for data traffic on the wireless network 200 . The GGSN 218 provides internetworking connections with external packet switched networks and connects to one or more SGSN's 216 via an Internet Protocol (IP) backbone network operated within the network 200 . During normal operations, a given mobile device 100 must perform a “GPRS Attach” to acquire an IP address and to access data services. This requirement is not present in circuit switched voice channels as Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN) addresses are used for routing incoming and outgoing calls. Currently, all GPRS capable networks use private, dynamically assigned IP addresses, thus requiring the DHCP server 220 connected to the GGSN 218 . There are many mechanisms for dynamic IP assignment, including using a combination of a Remote Authentication Dial-In User Service (RADIUS) server and a DHCP server. Once the GPRS Attach is complete, a logical connection is established from a mobile device 100 , through the PCU 208 , and the SGSN 216 to an Access Point Node (APN) within the GGSN 218 . The APN represents a logical end of an IP tunnel that can either access direct Internet compatible services or private network connections. The APN also represents a security mechanism for the network 200 , insofar as each mobile device 100 must be assigned to one or more APNs and mobile devices 100 cannot exchange data without first performing a GPRS Attach to an APN that it has been authorized to use. The APN may be considered to be similar to an Internet domain name such as “myconnection.wireless.com”. [0055] Once the GPRS Attach operation is complete, a tunnel is created and all traffic is exchanged within standard IP packets using any protocol that can be supported in IP packets. This includes tunneling methods such as IP over IP as in the case with some IPSecurity (IPsec) connections used with Virtual Private Networks (VPN). These tunnels are also referred to as Packet Data Protocol (PDP) Contexts and there are a limited number of these available in the network 200 . To maximize use of the PDP Contexts, the network 200 will run an idle timer for each PDP Context to determine if there is a lack of activity. When a mobile device 100 is not using its PDP Context, the PDP Context can be de-allocated and the IP address returned to the IP address pool managed by the DHCP server 220 . [0056] Referring now to FIG. 4 , shown therein is a block diagram illustrating components of an example configuration of a host system 250 that the mobile device 100 can communicate with in conjunction with the connect module 144 . The host system 250 will typically be a corporate enterprise or other local area network (LAN), but may also be a home office computer or some other private system, for example, in variant implementations. In this example shown in FIG. 4 , the host system 250 is depicted as a LAN of an organization to which a user of the mobile device 100 belongs. Typically, a plurality of mobile devices can communicate wirelessly with the host system 250 through one or more nodes 202 of the wireless network 200 . [0057] The host system 250 comprises a number of network components connected to each other by a network 260 . For instance, a user's desktop computer 262 a with an accompanying cradle 264 for the user's mobile device 100 is situated on a LAN connection. The cradle 264 for the mobile device 100 can be coupled to the computer 262 a by a serial or a Universal Serial Bus (USB) connection, for example. Other user computers 262 b - 262 n are also situated on the network 260 , and each may or may not be equipped with an accompanying cradle 264 . The cradle 264 facilitates the loading of information (e.g. PIM data, private symmetric encryption keys to facilitate secure communications) from the user computer 262 a to the mobile device 100 , and may be particularly useful for bulk information updates often performed in initializing the mobile device 100 for use. The information downloaded to the mobile device 100 may include certificates used in the exchange of messages. [0058] It will be understood by persons skilled in the art that the user computers 262 a - 262 n will typically also be connected to other peripheral devices, such as printers, etc. which are not explicitly shown in FIG. 4 . Furthermore, only a subset of network components of the host system 250 are shown in FIG. 4 for ease of exposition, and it will be understood by persons skilled in the art that the host system 250 will comprise additional components that are not explicitly shown in FIG. 4 for this example configuration. More generally, the host system 250 may represent a smaller part of a larger network (not shown) of the organization, and may comprise different components and/or be arranged in different topologies than that shown in the example embodiment of FIG. 4 . [0059] To facilitate the operation of the mobile device 100 and the wireless communication of messages and message-related data between the mobile device 100 and components of the host system 250 , a number of wireless communication support components 270 can be provided. In some implementations, the wireless communication support components 270 can include a message management server 272 , an accessibility server 273 , a mobile data server 274 , a contact server 276 , and a device manager module 278 . The device manager module 278 includes an IT Policy editor 280 and an IT user property editor 282 , as well as other software components for allowing an IT administrator to configure the mobile devices 100 . In an alternative example embodiment, there may be one editor that provides the functionality of both the IT policy editor 280 and the IT user property editor 282 . The support components 270 also include a data store 284 , and an IT policy server 286 . The IT policy server 286 includes a processor 288 , a network interface 290 and a memory unit 292 . The processor 288 controls the operation of the IT policy server 286 and executes functions related to the standardized IT policy as described below. The network interface 290 allows the IT policy server 286 to communicate with the various components of the host system 250 and the mobile devices 100 . The memory unit 292 can store functions used in implementing the IT policy as well as related data. Those skilled in the art know how to implement these various components. Other components may also be included as is well known to those skilled in the art. Further, in some implementations, the data store 284 can be part of any one of the servers. [0060] In this example embodiment, the mobile device 100 communicates with the host system 250 through node 202 of the wireless network 200 and a shared network infrastructure 224 such as a service provider network or the public Internet. Access to the host system 250 may be provided through one or more routers (not shown), and computing devices of the host system 250 may operate from behind a firewall or proxy server 266 . The proxy server 266 provides a secure node and a wireless internet gateway for the host system 250 . The proxy server 266 intelligently routes data to the correct destination server within the host system 250 . [0061] In some implementations, the host system 250 can include a wireless VPN router (not shown) to facilitate data exchange between the host system 250 and the mobile device 100 . The wireless VPN router allows a VPN connection to be established directly through a specific wireless network to the mobile device 100 . The wireless VPN router can be used with the Internet Protocol (IP) Version 6 (IPV6) and IP-based wireless networks. This protocol can provide enough IP addresses so that each mobile device has a dedicated IP address, making it possible to push information to a mobile device at any time. An advantage of using a wireless VPN router is that it can be an off-the-shelf VPN component, and does not require a separate wireless gateway and separate wireless infrastructure. A VPN connection can preferably be a Transmission Control Protocol (TCP)/IP or User Datagram Protocol (UDP)/IP connection for delivering the messages directly to the mobile device 100 in this alternative implementation. [0062] Messages intended for a user of the mobile device 100 are initially received by a message server 268 of the host system 250 . Such messages may originate from any number of sources. For instance, a message may have been sent by a sender from the computer 262 b within the host system 250 , from a different mobile device (not shown) connected to the wireless network 200 or a different wireless network, or from a different computing device, or other device capable of sending messages, via the shared network infrastructure 224 , possibly through an application service provider (ASP) or Internet service provider (ISP), for example. [0063] The message server 268 typically acts as the primary interface for the exchange of messages, particularly e-mail messages, within the organization and over the shared network infrastructure 224 . Each user in the organization that has been set up to send and receive messages is typically associated with a user account managed by the message server 268 . Some example implementations of the message server 268 include a Microsoft Exchange™ server, a Lotus Domino™ server, a Novell Groupwise™ server, or another suitable mail server installed in a corporate environment. In some implementations, the host system 250 may comprise multiple message servers 268 . The message server 268 may also be adapted to provide additional functions beyond message management, including the management of data associated with calendars and task lists, for example. [0064] When messages are received by the message server 268 , they are typically stored in a data store associated with the message server 268 . In at least some example embodiments, the data store may be a separate hardware unit, such as data store 284 , that the message server 268 communicates with. Messages can be subsequently retrieved and delivered to users by accessing the message server 268 . For instance, an e-mail client application operating on a user's computer 262 a may request the e-mail messages associated with that user's account stored on the data store associated with the message server 268 . These messages are then retrieved from the data store and stored locally on the computer 262 a . The data store associated with the message server 268 can store copies of each message that is locally stored on the mobile device 100 . Alternatively, the data store associated with the message server 268 can store all of the messages for the user of the mobile device 100 and only a smaller number of messages can be stored on the mobile device 100 to conserve memory. For instance, the most recent messages (i.e. those received in the past two to three months for example) can be stored on the mobile device 100 . [0065] When operating the mobile device 100 , the user may wish to have e-mail messages retrieved for delivery to the mobile device 100 . The message application 138 operating on the mobile device 100 may also request messages associated with the user's account from the message server 268 . The message application 138 may be configured (either by the user or by an administrator, possibly in accordance with an organization's information technology (IT) policy) to make this request at the direction of the user, at some pre-defined time interval, or upon the occurrence of some pre-defined event. In some implementations, the mobile device 100 is assigned its own e-mail address, and messages addressed specifically to the mobile device 100 are automatically redirected to the mobile device 100 as they are received by the message server 268 . [0066] The message management server 272 can be used to specifically provide support for the management of messages, such as e-mail messages, that are to be handled by mobile devices. Generally, while messages are still stored on the message server 268 , the message management server 272 can be used to control when, if, and how messages are sent to the mobile device 100 . The message management server 272 also facilitates the handling of messages composed on the mobile device 100 , which are sent to the message server 268 for subsequent delivery. [0067] For example, the message management server 272 may monitor the user's “mailbox” (e.g. the message store associated with the user's account on the message server 268 ) for new e-mail messages, and apply user-definable filters to new messages to determine if and how the messages are relayed to the user's mobile device 100 . The message management server 272 may also compress and encrypt new messages (e.g. using an encryption technique such as Data Encryption Standard (DES), Triple DES, or Advanced Encryption Standard (AES)) and push them to the mobile device 100 via the shared network infrastructure 224 and the wireless network 200 . The message management server 272 may also receive messages composed on the mobile device 100 (e.g. encrypted using Triple DES), decrypt and decompress the composed messages, re-format the composed messages if desired so that they will appear to have originated from the user's computer 262 a , and re-route the composed messages to the message server 268 for delivery. [0068] Certain properties or restrictions associated with messages that are to be sent from and/or received by the mobile device 100 can be defined (e.g. by an administrator in accordance with IT policy) and enforced by the message management server 272 . These may include whether the mobile device 100 may receive encrypted and/or signed messages, minimum encryption key sizes, whether outgoing messages must be encrypted and/or signed, and whether copies of all secure messages sent from the mobile device 100 are to be sent to a pre-defined copy address, for example. [0069] The message management server 272 may also be adapted to provide other control functions, such as only pushing certain message information or pre-defined portions (e.g. “blocks”) of a message stored on the message server 268 to the mobile device 100 . For example, in some cases, when a message is initially retrieved by the mobile device 100 from the message server 268 , the message management server 272 may push only the first part of a message to the mobile device 100 , with the part being of a pre-defined size (e.g. 2 KB). The user can then request that more of the message be delivered in similar-sized blocks by the message management server 272 to the mobile device 100 , possibly up to a maximum pre-defined message size. Accordingly, the message management server 272 facilitates better control over the type of data and the amount of data that is communicated to the mobile device 100 , and can help to minimize potential waste of bandwidth or other resources. [0070] The mobile data server 274 encompasses any other server that stores information that is relevant to the corporation. The mobile data server 274 may include, but is not limited to, databases, online data document repositories, customer relationship management (CRM) systems, or enterprise resource planning (ERP) applications. [0071] The contact server 276 can provide information for a list of contacts for the user in a similar fashion as the address book on the mobile device 100 . Accordingly, for a given contact, the contact server 276 can include the name, phone number, work address and e-mail address of the contact, among other information. The contact server 276 can also provide a global address list that contains the contact information for all of the contacts associated with the host system 250 . [0072] It will be understood by persons skilled in the art that the message management server 272 , the mobile data server 274 , the contact server 276 , the device manager module 278 , the data store 284 and the IT policy server 286 do not need to be implemented on separate physical servers within the host system 250 . For example, some or all of the functions associated with the message management server 272 may be integrated with the message server 268 , or some other server in the host system 250 . Alternatively, the host system 250 may comprise multiple message management servers 272 , particularly in variant implementations where a large number of mobile devices need to be supported. [0073] Alternatively, in some example embodiments, the IT policy server 286 can provide the IT policy editor 280 , the IT user property editor 282 and the data store 284 . In some cases, the IT policy server 286 can also provide the device manager module 278 . The processor 288 of the IT policy server 286 can be used to perform the various steps of a method for providing IT policy data that is customizable on a per-user basis as explained further below and in conjunction with FIGS. 5 to 8 . The processor 288 can execute the editors 280 and 282 . In some cases, the functionality of the editors 280 and 282 can be provided by a single editor. In some cases, the memory unit 292 can provide the data store 284 . [0074] The device manager module 278 provides an IT administrator with a graphical user interface with which the IT administrator interacts to configure various settings for the mobile devices 100 . As mentioned, the IT administrator can use IT policy rules to define behaviors of certain applications on the mobile device 100 that are permitted such as phone, web browser or Instant Messenger use. The IT policy rules can also be used to set specific values for configuration settings that an organization requires on the mobile devices 100 such as auto signature text, WLAN/VoIP/VPN configuration, security requirements (e.g. encryption algorithms, password rules, etc.), specifying themes or applications that are allowed to run on the mobile device 100 , and the like. [0075] In one example embodiment, the accessibility server 273 may contain a listing of registered accessibility applications, this listing being stored in memory unit 275 . Alternatively, the functionality for determining if an application is an accessible application and enabling an assistive technology feature is done via the accessibility server 273 . The accessibility server 273 may also include a processor 277 and a network interface 279 . The processor 277 controls the operation of the accessibility server 273 and executes functions related to the method of launching an application as described below. The network interface 279 allows the accessibility server 273 to communicate with the various components of the host system 250 and the mobile devices 100 . The memory unit 275 can store functions used in implementing enablement of assistive technology functions as well as related data. [0076] FIG. 5 is a block diagram of an example embodiment of the mobile device 100 with assistive technology 147 , an accessibility module 148 , accessible applications 143 , and an inaccessible application 145 provided thereon. The accessibility module 148 may communicate with the applications 143 , 145 and with the assistive technology. The assistive technology 147 and the accessible applications 143 may communicate together via an accessibility Application Programming Interface (API) 501 . [0077] The accessibility API 501 allows the accessible applications 143 to provide information to the various assistive technology applications 147 , such as for example screen readers. In some example embodiments, the accessibility API 501 is not needed. For example, standard User Interface (UI) components, such as “TextField”, automatically provide information to assistive technology applications 147 . Alternatively, if custom UI components are used (components that extend the standard UI components), the accessibility API 501 may be used to provide information to the assistive technology 147 . [0078] The accessibility API 501 may identify the information that is to be sent to the assistive technology 147 . FIG. 6 illustrates an example of the interaction between an accessible application 600 and an assistive technology application 602 that is a screen reader. In this example, a custom UI component 604 implements AccessibleContext, and getAccessibleRole( ) returns the control's role, such as AccessibleRole.TEXT FIELD. If the application 143 contains custom text fields, custom numeric fields, or custom tables, the AccessibleText 606 , AccessibleValue 608 , or AccessibleTable 610 interfaces may also be used. The assistive technology application 602 registers as an accessibility event listener 612 . When an accessibility event occurs on a custom UI component 604 , 606 , 608 , 610 , the accessible application 600 invokes the accessibleEventOccurred( )method in the registered assistive technology application 602 and passes in the event information. The assistive technology application 602 handles the event 614 and performs the appropriate action, such as speaking the text or playing a sound. [0079] Each accessible UI object has a role. A role specifies the type of UI component. Roles include text fields, labels, screens, dialog boxes, lists, icons, radio buttons, tables, check boxes, and buttons. In this example, an AccessibleRole interface in the accessibility API 501 defines roles as constants. In addition, each accessible UI object also has a state. A state specifies the current object state as a mask of flags. States may include focusable, focused, checked, active, selected, and editable. Objects can have multiple states at a time, such as focusable and focused. In this example, an AccessibleState interface defines states as constants. [0080] Some accessible UI objects are containers. Containers are visual elements, such as screens, dialog boxes, lists, and menus, that contain children. In this example, the children of a container may be discovered with methods in the AccessibleContext interface. A table is a type of container that displays children in a tabular format. Examples of tables include the monthly view and weekly view in the calendar, and a table on a web page. The table properties for an accessible UI object may be discovered by using the methods in the AccessibleTable interface. [0081] Reference is made to FIG. 7 , which is a flowchart illustrating an example embodiment of a method for launching an application on a mobile device. A command to launch the application is received 700 . The method may include the step of determining if assistive technology is present on the device 702 . A further determination may be made as to whether the assistive technology is not only present, but also in use. If no assistive technology is present and/or in use, the application is simply launched with default settings. A determination is then made as to whether the application to be launched is an accessible application 704 . If so, at least one assistive technology feature is enabled on the application 706 . If not, the default settings remain. The application may then be launched 708 with the appropriate configuration, i.e. with or without enabled assistive technology features. [0082] In one example embodiment, the step of determining if assistive technology is present on the device 702 may be omitted and only a determination of accessibility of the application is made 704 . In another example embodiment, determination of the presence of assistive technology (without knowing if it is in use) is sufficient to move on to the step of determining if the application is accessible 704 . [0083] In yet another example embodiment, a further determination is made to assess whether the accessible application may be used with the assistive technology present. Examples of assistive technology features or applications are screen readers, screen magnifiers, insertion of images in text (for cognitive disabilities), and control of navigation. In some cases, the type of application, even though it may be an accessible application, may not be compatible with the assistive technology present. For example, if the assistive technology is a text magnifier and the application is a video game with animations only, then despite being an accessible application for certain types of assistive technologies, such as controlling the animations with means other than a keypad or trackball, the text magnifying feature may not be enabled with this particular application. The application would therefore be launched with default settings. [0084] In some example embodiments, the step of determining if assistive technology is present 702 may also include identifying how many assistive technologies are present and which ones they are. Compatibility of the accessible application with the assistive technologies may then be assessed and the applicable features can be enabled accordingly. In other example embodiments, determining if the application is an accessible application 704 includes assessing whether a feature similar to the one presently in use with the assistive technology is present. Enabling an assistive technology feature on an accessible application 706 may then include enabling a same feature as the one being used with the assistive technology. Multiple features may be enabled when the accessible application is launched. [0085] In some example embodiments, determining if the application is an accessible application 704 includes accessing a database of registered accessible applications and looking for the application in the database. This database may be stored remotely to the mobile device, such as on a server. Alternatively, a listing of registered accessible applications may be present locally on the mobile device. [0086] The method illustrated in FIG. 7 may be practice solely within the mobile device 100 , or it may be practice within a network, as illustrated in FIG. 4 . The mobile device 100 illustrated in FIG. 5 has an accessibility module 148 adapted for receiving a command to launch the application 700 , determining if the application is an accessible application 704 , and enabling an assistive technology feature at launch of the application 706 . When practiced within a network, the network may include more than one mobile device and more than one server. The accessibility module 148 may reside in part on the mobile device 100 and in part on an accessibility server 273 , or it may reside entirely on the mobile device 100 . The mobile device 100 may query the server upon receiving a launch command for an application and the determination steps illustrated in FIG. 7 ( 702 , 704 ) may be performed on the server 273 . Alternatively, only step 704 is performed on the server 273 , such as by accessing the memory unit 275 that stores a list of registered accessible applications. This list may include the various assistive technology features available for each accessible application. Assessment of compatibility between the assistive technology present on the mobile device 100 and the available assistive technology features may be done at the server end 273 or on the mobile device 100 . [0087] While the blocks of the method in FIG. 7 are shown as occurring in a particular order, it will be appreciated by those skilled in the art that many of the blocks are interchangeable and may occur in different orders than that shown without materially affecting the end results of the methods. Additionally, while the present disclosure relates to code or functions that reside on a mobile device 100 , this is not meant to limit the scope of possible applications of the described methods and module. Any system that utilizes static code on any type of computer readable medium, could be utilized without causing departure from the spirit and scope of the present disclosure. [0088] While the present disclosure is primarily described as a method, a person of ordinary skill in the art will understand that the present disclosure is also directed to an apparatus for carrying out the disclosed method and including apparatus parts for performing each described method block, be it by way of hardware components, a computer programmed by appropriate software to enable the practice of the disclosed method, by any combination of the two, or in any other manner. Moreover, an article of manufacture for use with the apparatus, such as a pre-recorded storage device or other similar computer readable medium including program instructions recorded thereon, or a computer data signal carrying computer readable program instructions may direct an apparatus to facilitate the practice of the disclosed method. It is understood that such apparatus, articles of manufacture, and computer data signals also come within the scope of the present disclosure. [0089] The example embodiments of the present disclosure described above are intended to be examples only. Those of skill in the art may effect alterations, modifications and variations to the particular example embodiments without departing from the intended scope of the present disclosure. In particular, selected features from one or more of the above-described example embodiments may be combined to create alternative example embodiments not explicitly described, features suitable for such combinations being readily apparent to persons skilled in the art. The subject matter described herein in the recited claims intends to cover and embrace all suitable changes in technology.

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