updated 07:50 pm EDT, Wed March 14, 2012
Nokia patented slide to unlock on iPhone launch
A just-published but long in the making Nokia patent filing has revealed that Nokia has been working on a slide-to-unlock patent of its own. The approach would have users slide an icon on the screen to 'uncover' app icons. By then moving to an unlock area, users would have a two-stage unlock that could launch any app accessible from the home screen.
It would vary sharply from Apple's patent, which is solely about dragging along a fixed path. Google has been filing for its own unlock patent techniques using multi-step app launching, although these wouldn't have a fixed path. Android 4.0 and HTC Sense 3.0 devices already have a technique that works faster than Nokia's method, letting users drag along a relatively loose direction over an app icon to launch that task.
Whether or not Nokia ever gets to use its patent is unknown. With its transition to Windows Phone, where Microsoft is the one that controls the core interface, Nokia would currently have to relegate the interface either to its niche status MeeGo platform or to its outgoing Symbian. Nokia has only a small amount of room for customization beyond what other Windows Phone supporters do so far.
The patent has had an unusually long wait whose timing might have betrayed an intent to compete with Apple that was never quite realized. While possibly just coincidence, Nokia filed for the patent on June 29, 2007, almost exactly as Apple was launching the iPhone that (with Android's help) would destroy Nokia's market share and force a platform switch. [via Unwired View]