updated 02:50 pm EST, Fri November 18, 2011
Google patents its own Android unlocking gesture
Google has followed Apple's footsteps in getting a patent at the USPTO for the unlocking gesture for touchscreen smartphones running its Android operating system. While Apple has patented a slide to unlock gesture, Google uses a more involved pattern. The patent is called Touch Gesture Actions From A Device's Lock Screen.
The wording of the patent reveals that the pattern doesn't require a predefined start point, so users can unlock their devices without even looking at the screen, so long as the pattern drawn matches what they initially set. The gestures could also perform functions without unlocking the phone, such as silencing the ringer without taking it out of their pockets, Google explained. Different gestures can perform different actions, though Google didn't specify how many would be supported.
Duelling patents from Apple and Google show the two just as eager to permanently establish the features of their mobile platforms. Google has often been accused of not taking patents seriously but, with its newer applications, appears to be clamping down and protecting its own rights. [via 9to5Google]