After Apple acquired the patent for the Slide to Unlock feature for all iPhone phones, Google has also been officially awarded last week the patent for the Android pattern unlock feature. Pattern Unlock sets Android apart from Apple’s iOS and is, perhaps, the chief reason why Google wanted a patent for such technology.
The United States Patent and Trademark Office granted Google the rights to patent number 20110283241 entitled “Touch Gesture Actions From A Device’s Lock Screen,” which, in a nutshell, is described as follows:
A lock screen view is displayed on the mobile device to prevent unauthorized and inadvertent access to the mobile device’s data. While the mobile device is locked, a touch gesture having a pre-defined shape is detected on a touch screen of the mobile device independently of the initial position of the touch gesture on the touch screen. In response to detection of the touch gesture, a particular action is executed on the mobile device while the mobile device stays locked. The particular action determined according to the pre-defined shape. In this way, detection of the touch gesture causes the particular action to execute while keeping the mobile device locked.
Android users can set custom shapes which they need to draw to unlock their Android phones. This is actually pretty neat considering you can never accidentally draw the exact same shape.
The patent also extends to gestures or drawing of the shape anywhere on the screen. This allows users to securely unlock their phones even without looking at a specific portion of the screen. Aside from that, users may be able to immediately access a particular application while keeping the phone locked.
Do you use this security feature on your Android device?