You are no doubt aware that a German court ruled yesterday that Motorola's
Android phones were infringing on Apple's patent on using a slide motion to
unlock the screen on a mobile device.
It would appear that Google/Motorola (and other Android implementors) may
have the answer:-
In a well-timed stroke of luck for Google, a patent for unlocking mobile
devices that it filed in August 2010 was granted to the Chocolate Factory
earlier this month. The patent details a method for unlocking a computer
with user inputs including touch and will provide Google's phone partners
with some welcome relief after Apple's recent win on their slide-to-unlock
patent in Germany.
Google's new patent covers using touch to take a computer device from a
locked to an unlocked state. It could give the next generation of Android
phones a legally-safe unlock option and offer much needed relief for
Motorola, Samsung and HTC from the headache of Apple's persistent lawsuits
over the feature.
Google filed the patent back in August 6, 2010, 11 days before Apple were
awarded the slide-to-unlock patent on 17 August 2010 which has caused so
many lawsuits in the past 18 months.
[diagrams shown at link]
The uniqueness of Google's new unlock idea comes from bundling the unlock
command with a second command to launch an application. To open the device,
the user might drag an icon (say email) over the unlock button and
simultaneously unlock the phone while firing up their email account.
The patent also comprises a voice-recognition-to-unlock method.
It will be welcome news to the phone-makers keen to start building the next
generation of Android phones.