A wireless device (100) having an optimum alert sequence definition analyzes its environment, including time and type of incoming call, and selects an appropriate alert signal sequence. A central processing unit (114) included within the device (100) is responsive to a transmitted signal from an external communications device to generate active and passive sonic sensing. The reflected signal received through the microphone (110) and a predetermined set of values or ranges stored in a memory (102) coupled to the central processing unit (114) are used as input for a program of instructions tangibly embodied in a programmable storage device executable by the central processing unit (114). Based upon processing of this reflected signal, the central processing unit (114) determines which alert signal is optimum given the environment.
The device (100) may further include characterization of the environment based on processing of the ambient noise within the environment and several inputs including: manual inputs (user indication/selection), real time clock (including date), light sensing, temperature sensing, cellular receiver indications (RSSI and local network ID), motion sensing, caller identification, global positioning system data, and radio link reception (i.e. Bluetooth: office/home network, etc.).