Google has been reported to be working around the Apple owned “slide to unlock” feature so that they can provide Android users with an easy yet secure way to unlock their smartphones. According to the blog “Patently Apple”, Google had filed a patent application to test new alternative ways of unlocking Android smartphones and tablet devices through the use of voice input and icons.
Competition between smartphone manufacturers has been quite rough recently with patent infringement lawsuits being filed on a regular basis. Apple has been in the news recently for filing lawsuits against Android OS based smartphone manufacturers for violating their copyright on the “slide to unlock” feature. It has also been confirmed that the California based Apple managed to get an injunction against Google’s latest acquisition Motorola Mobility in a German court earlier this year for using the patented slide to unlock method in its smartphone devices.
Most electronic multimedia devices like tablets, smartphones and computers require some form of authorization to unlock the device. The unlocking feature needs to be secure and quite easy at the same time. Many popular unlocking methods include drawing a simple pattern that the device recognizes or simply putting a password to unlock the device. However, Google’s new method involves the user dragging and dropping an application icon on top of the unlock icon. This new method will also launch the dropped application when the device unlocks. Another method which was also present in the patent application requires the user to enter a small PIN number followed by a specific audible password phrase that controls the in-built voice recognition feature. Speech recognition technology is already being employed in Voice Actions and Voice Search apps which are available for all Android based devices.
The patent application was published by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) this month even though Google had filed the patent way back in 2010. Google released a statement regarding these patents saying that they periodically patent any new ideas that are put forward by their employees and there is no guarantee that these ideas will be incorporated in their future products. Google has already developed the Face Unlock feature for the Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich platform which works well on smartphones having a front facing camera. The system is quite effective and the user just has to look into the camera to unlock the device.