Solving a problem none of us knew existed, Motorola has patented a method for entering notes into a cellphone via an “intuitive” method that emulates frets. Pay close attention, and see if you can make sense of this:

. . . an input specifying a root note (FIG. 2) indicating a position on a neck of a stringed instrument and associating at least one column of input keys such as numeric keys of the mobile communication device with a string of the stringed instrument. Numeric keys next to one another and within a same column can specify notes which vary by approximately a half-step. The method also can include detecting at least one activation of the numeric keys specifying at least one additional note to be played substantially concurrently or in a defined sequence with the root note, thereby specifying a musical chord.

Anyone feel like they’re in theory class — on another planet? A jog wheel / joystick is navigating the circle of fifths, so you actually can fit a range of chords on the 9(!) keys of a cell phone. Not answered in the patent: would anyone go to this much trouble to create ringtones? Desktop app, anyone? (Or there’s always that weird ringtone keyboard from CME.)

Via Textually, and thanks to John at Gizmodo. (Yeah, I’m late, but I’ve been deep in Jitter and had to be in the right frame of mind to read this insanity.) Priceless comment by SuppleMonkey: “Really? I’d just rather have a cell phone that made calls as reliably as my land line.”