To add insult to injury, after a German court ruled against Samsung’s claims of patent infringement on the part of Apple, the Cupertino-based company has decided to drag the Galaxy Nexus into court. Apple is alleging that the use of a slide-to-unlock feature in the Android 4.0 flagship device infringes upon their intellectual property. While Samsung is the name filed on the court documents, it is clear that the attack also targets Google, as the handset was developed as part of a close partnership between the two companies. There is also the fact that the Galaxy Nexus serves as Google’s reference design for their latest version of Android, Ice Cream Sandwich. Slide-to-unlock is entirely on the software side — the element of the Galaxy Nexus most closely controlled by Google.
Though the Galaxy Nexus does use a slide-to-unlock feature by default to progress from the handset’s lock screen, the method deployed by Google and Samsung does differ from Apple’s implementation. We’re not sure how a court will see it, but the ability to slide in multiple directions and launch various tasks directly from the home screen shows how fundamentally different the unlock methods of Google and Apple are. It will be interesting to see which way the court leans, but if Apple wins this one we may all have to get used to unlocking our phones with a quick scan of our smiling faces.