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Amazon wants you to unlock your phone with your ear - does that even make sense?
Keeping smartphones secure has been a key concern since mobile devices became more than just calling and texting machines. These pieces of technology now hold information that could literally ruin our lives if they fall on the wrong hands.
This is why we have all kinds of techniques for keeping our data private. There’s usual patterns, PIN numbers and passwords, but things have been getting a bit more complex. Just as the industry keeps making technology more powerful and convenient, they are also adopting more advanced ways of keeping your private data secure.
These methods include bio-metric techniques like finger-print reading, voice recognition and even eye reading (as we have seen on the ZTE Blade S6). Now we are finding out Amazon is also getting creative and just got granted a patent for ear scanning technology.
The idea is that our ears are just as unique as our fingerprints, so allowing your smartphone to take a picture of this body part (or at least part of it) would help it identify whether it is being handled by its owner or not. The phone could then unlock and allow you to answer your calls.
Does this even make sense?!
So, like all other gimmicks, this sounds like one very cool feature you could really show off at parties. It even seems convenient for a minute, but the hype dies down after you start thinking of possible use case scenarios. Then you realize it doesn’t even make sense!
We can all agree the best use for this would be to allow users to unlock their phones while answering a call, right? I mean, it’s the only reason why you would ever put your phone anywhere close to your ear.
My main issue is that there is no real reason why you would want to unlock your phone when answering a call. Voice calls are pretty much the only function that bypasses security in all phones… as it should be. You don’t want to have to unlock your phone every single time you answer a call! By the time you unlock your device, the other person may have hung up already.
Now, there is one function that could be useful about this technology. It could identify the distance between the speaker and your ear, allowing the device to adjust volume accordingly. Aside from that, it’s pretty much for people who REALLY don’t want others answering their calls.
Will Amazon do anything with this technology?
Now, the real question: will we ever see this technology coming to the market? Regardless of whether it’s a good idea or not, we are not sure Amazon will ever use this patent. The patent was just passed, but Amazon filed for it back in 2011. The online retailer may very well have slashed whatever plans they had for it by now.
Not to mention, this feature would be for phones. It makes no sense to put it on Amazon tablets (or any tablet, for that matter). The Amazon Fire Phone did horrible, and even though Jeff Bezos swears more iterations are coming, we don’t know how much risk they are willing to take with it.
Amazon has been known to be quite adventurous about these bio-metric features, though. The Amazon Fire Phone did have head tracking technology, after all. I am just not sure it’s what they need in order to bring the Fire Phone brand out of its grave.
They need something game-changing and awesome. While it’s cool, ear reading won’t make me buy an Amazon smartphone. But tell us, guys. What do you think? Maybe I am just being cynical and you would actually love something like this.