Google's original patent, titled "Input to Locked Computing Device," describes methods to unlock a device through a combination of touch or voice inputs, and could possibly be the answer to Apple's litigation regarding 'slide-to-unlock,' according to Patently Apple.
This iteration of lock screen input, first filed for in August 2010, varies from offerings like Apple's 'slide-to-unlock' in that it doesn't necessarily bring the user directly to the home screen, but instead executes at least one command such as making a phone call or opening an app.
From the patent abstract:
The implementation of the patent could involve complex interaction with icons on a lock screen that would be difficult to perform accidentally.
Google gives the example below of a circular interface with three icons that can only be unlocked with multiple dragging actions, in this case the unlocking of a mail app. Alternately, touch input can be used with voice input to unlock the device as seen in the operations flowchart.
Google unlock method could sidestep Apple's prior art. | Source: Patently Apple
It remains in question whether the added layer of command execution varies enough from Apple's prior art of 'slide-to-unlock' to afford Google the rights to the new patent, however the USPTO's publication can be seen as a step in that direction.
Apple recently won a German injunction against Motorola over the company's slide-to-unlock patent, which has forced the RAZR maker to rethink its implementation of the lock screen inputs.
With Google on the verge of completing a buyout of Motorola Mobility, the internet giant will soon have a higher stake in the seemingly endless patent war currently being waged around the world.
[ View article on AppleInsider ]