Mar 16th, 2014


A new Google patent has surfaced at the US Patent and Trademark Office, revealing an advanced touchscreen radial menu system which could one day come to Android. The radial or pie-like menu system is a circular system configured with various commands and functions. The radial menu is separated into segments that become activated when selected, revealing additional options, or launching a function.

According to the patent, a user would use their finger to select an area on their touchscreen, acting as an anchor point for the menu. Then, while keeping the first finger point in place, a user can place a second finger on the touchscreen to determine the radius of the pie shaped menu. A user may then swipe their finger, spinning the pie-like menu, as seen in State 1 below. According to State 2, a user can move their finger from the position of Stage 1 to Stage 2 to determine if an additional sub-menu item appears. And lastly, as seen in Stage 3, if a sub-menu does appear, it can be selected to launch a particular application, function, and so forth.


This isn’t the first time we’ve seen a patent from Google surrounding a radial menu. Last summer a similar patent was published by Google, revealing another radial like menu. Last summer’s patent seemed to depict a radial menu being displayed after swiping up from the bottom or swiping from the side of a device. While they look similar, these two patents are very different in their functionality. The new patent does away with the bottom or side swiping method to activate the radial menu and greatly expands upon how the menu is interacted with once display.

Paranoid Android

This also isn’t the first time we’ve seen a radial menu in Android. The old stock or AOSP browser comes with pie-like controls as an experimental feature, the stock camera’s menu system was replaced with a similar looking and functioning menu system in Android 4.3, and custom ROM fans familiar with Paranoid Android are partial to the ROM’s PIE navigation system. Additionally, those familiar with the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 are probably familiar with Samsung’s take on radial menu’s with their “Air command” feature.

Galaxy Note Air Command

Google filed for this radial menu patent back in Q3 2012 and was just published on March 13, 2014. As we’ve come to know, patents don’t always equate to product launches, they’re just ideas. We may never see this type of menu system come to Android, Chrome OS, or any other Google product in the future. Google IO 2014 is just around the corner, so we’ll keep our eyes peeled just in case.

[Source: Patent Bolt]

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