Well, this could open up a whole new can of worms for Android and her manufacturers. Today, Apple successfully secured patent number 7657849, otherwise known as their famous “Slide to Unlock” feature found on iOS devices. Apple actually applied for the patent back in December of 2005 and after 6 years, the United States Patent and Trademark Office finally gave Apple their dues and in the process — more ammunition for future lawsuits. So what exactly does the patent entail? Well, here’s and image from the USTPO filing followed by a “brief” description:
“A device with a touch-sensitive display may be unlocked via gestures performed on the touch-sensitive display. The device is unlocked if contact with the display corresponds to a predefined gesture for unlocking the device. The device displays one or more unlock images with respect to which the predefined gesture is to be performed in order to unlock the device. The performance of the predefined gesture with respect to the unlock image may include moving the unlock image to a predefined location and/or moving the unlock image along a predefined path. The device may also display visual cues of the predefined gesture on the touch screen to remind a user of the gesture. In addition, there is a need for sensory feedback to the user regarding progress towards satisfaction of a user input condition that is required for the transition to occur.”
Yup. Sounds like just about any gesture to unlock a touchscreen device is just about in violation of this patent. Seems all we can do now is wait to hear from Apple lawyers who are no doubt already filing the paperwork. While we’re not all doom and gloom around here you never know — maybe this will push Android OEM’s to update to Android 4.0 and take advantage of ICS’s new Face to Unlock, right?