Google patents pattern lock, saves Android from slide-to-unlock

Pattern-lock-patentWhen we reported on Apple's patent on slide-to-unlock, we were worried that it would cause problems for just about every other touchscreen device on the planet. Because the patent was so broad, Apple would be able to sue everyone else out of existence. 

Fortunately for Android users, Google has just been granted a similar patent on their pattern lock, which can unlock smartphones and also take the place of a PIN. In the case of an Apple lawsuit, Google could simply switch to this lockscreen (which is already an option in Android) that would surely be protected.

Google's patent also details a feature new to Android, one where certain patterns could launch actions without fully unlocking the device. For example, drawing a "c" on the left of your screen could open a calender popup with that day's events. This would be similar to Apple's lockscreen notifications and HTC's lockscreen app launcher, so hopefully we see it in stock android soon.

Of course, even if this was Google's idea I wish they didn't have to patent it. It may provide them protection from Apple, but the kind of market where you must have your own patents to ward off attacks is extremely bad for startups. Hopefully this changes soon, but for now at least Android partners are a little safer from patent litigation.


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Aaron Orquia

Aaron Orquia is an associate editor at Pocketables. He has been using Android and Linux since he bought his first computer years ago, and his interest in technology, software, and tweaking both to work just right has only grown stronger since then. His current gadgets include a OnePlus One, a Pebble smartwatch, and an Acer C720 Chromebook.

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