When Apple introduced their “new” and “innovative” Notifications Center in iOS 5, Android users everywhere were scratching their heads. Android had already featured the notification bar, and Apple had clearly put their own spin on an already existing idea. Everyone was wondering why Google didn’t have a patent on this great idea, and as it turns out, they do. Apparently, patents take a long time, since US 2009/0249247 was filed in January 2009 and is still pending. We can all rest assured that Google was watching its back. If this patent is approved, there just may be another lawsuit on the horizon.
Here is Google’s explanation on the notification feature:
This document describes systems and techniques that may be used to alert a user of a mobile device about an event, such as about the presence of a recently-received message, e.g., an e-mail, voice mail, or text message, or other form of event such as a change in song on a music player running in a background state. In general, when a message is first received (or another event is triggered), a portion of the message may be provided in an area that is outside the main area of a mobile device display, such as by scrolling information about the message through a traditional status bar area of the device. A status bar area is the typically-static area on a device that displays information such as bars for wireless signal strength, a remaining battery life indicator, an icon that shows the network over which wireless communication is occurring, and the like. The main area or zone of the display is generally the central, largest area of a display where active programs are displayed, while supplemental elements are typically displayed around the periphery of the main area or over the main area in pop up windows or similar graphical elements.
Where the event that is being noticed is a message, the scrolling notification for the message may include, for example, an identifier for the sender of the message and a snippet from the message, such as the first few words in an e-mail or a subject line from an e-mail. The alert may also include an icon showing the type of message, such as an envelope for an e-mail message. Where the alert is not a message, the scrolling notification may include other descriptive or suggestive text or graphics, such as the title of a song, the status of a device parameter that is being reported, the identity of an item (e.g., a physical good or a computer application) that currently became available at an on-line marketplace, and other such information.
source: Google Patents