Feb 17 AT 7:55 AM Anthony Domanico 39 Comments

Google files for patent to combat Apple’s Slide to Unlock


In an attempt to circumvent Apple’s hotly-debated Slide To Unlock patent, which has resulted in a few lawsuits with many more likely on the way, Google has filed a patent of their own for a lockscreen that looks fairly similar to the one found in HTC’s Sense UI.

The filing, titled “Input to Locked Computing Device,” gives hints as to what may be coming next out of Mountain View. Imagine a standard homescreen, with a 5 row x 5 column grid. Google’s lockscreen features a large on-screen button which takes up the entire bottom row of the device that a user can press to simply unlock the device to get to your homescreen. The rest of the rows comprise other actions you can do right from the lockscreen, and you can simply slide one of those icons to the big button in the bottom row to immediately launch into that action. Actions range from calling a contact to launching applications, and we assume these would be user-customizable.

We’re potentially getting way ahead of ourselves here, as what Google did yesterday was simply filing a patent for a potential new kind of lockscreen. This does not mean that we’ll ever see Google’s lockscreen see the light of day, and the patent office could reject it as being too similar to Apple’s previously granted patent on slide to unlock. I’m no lawyer, but I reckon the likelihood of Google being denied the patent is slim, and this may very well be the lockscreen featured in Android 5.0 (or 4.1), which may or may not debut as early as next quarter.

Take a look at the conceptual drawings in the gallery below, and let us know what you think of Google’s potential new lockscreen in the comments. For further info, hit the source link to check out the USPTO filing in its entirety.

Via: Engadget

Source: USPTO

Anthony loves all things technology, from hardware to apps and games. You can connect with him via Google+ or Twitter by clicking one of the fancy doo-dads above.

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  • RB

    Apple’s slide to unlock seems sufficiently obvious as to not
    Be patentable at all. It is only a digital version of a physical slide switch used for a variety of purposes including on/off and locking.

    • delinear

      It’s also basically an extension of the existing two-step process to unlock phones that’s been around since the 90′s at least (where you would have to press one key followed by another). The only difference is they have an extra input mechanism in the form of a touchscreen. Too many obvious patents being granted against the spirit of the patent system, it’s killing innovation.

    • http://theinternet-allofit.blogspot.com Jorge Branco

      You would think so but then… *insert link to relevant lawsuit*

  • 0rdinary bIack crIminal

    google better shut up and leave the important patents to us. google robbing apple?
    apple should buy little google once and for all and then kill it.

    • ashclepdia

      ^what and idiot obvious troll

      • 0rdinary bIack crIminal

        google better shut up and leave the important patents to us. google robbing apple?
        apple should buy little google once and for all and then kill it.

        • Richard Yarrell

          You know this CLOWN is related to squiddy20 that other BOZO that trolls this site daily…

          • squiddy20

            Haha keep bullshitting yourself Dick! Compared to you and this guy, I make the world look heavenly! I’ve NEVER been rated as low, nor have I said such utterly ridiculous crap, as you or him. For instance, I wasn’t the one who said rooting was for “2plus year old devices”. I wasn’t the one who said the processor found in the HTC Sensation was “inferior” to the same exact one found in your precious Evo 3D. I wasn’t the one who stated the Evo 3D would be “Sprint’s flagship device well into 2012″. I wasn’t the one who told other people their opinions were “wrong”, “dumb”, “useless”, or any other extremely naive and childish saying. I’m not the one who’s stuck in the past with ridiculous sayings such as “sucks rotten eggs”, “bitch/pimp slapping”, or “this is BOSS”. You’ve failed utterly in your ridiculous attempt at an insult. Try again next time.

    • zal

      Apple doesn’t have money to buy Google, actually. Not at all.

    • Jaz

      Let me guess, your one of those people that stand in line for the iPhone release in went weather just because apple tells you their phone is better. Good for you. Keep letting people tell you what to do and but without trying it for yourself. If it wasn’t for google Android and windows phone 7 apple keep their phone the same and not update it due to lack of competition. More os competition is better for the consumer.

    • CactusCat

      I once met a mouthy little asshole like you. He mouthed off to me. Know what I did? I knocked the shit out of his idiot ass and left him in a pile muttering under his breath. You’re out of the exact same mold as that idiot. Go back and play with the little kids and leave the man’s world to the men. Otherwise, I might have to look you up, little boy.

  • YMS123

    A patent, HA! How do like them Apples?

  • http://mihai.discuta-liber.com/ tmihai20

    We need to do something about these trolls. Androidandme guys, this is getting ridiculous! Please fix this!

    • mac08wrx

      We just have to ignore them. If we comment on their post or about them then they win.

      • dcds

        I agree. Meanwhile, I’d like them to be better hidden when they get a sufficiently low rating.

        I mean, even when they are hidden, they seem very obtrusive. Perhaps they should be squished into a very slim line, as not to occupy the same space as a good comment.

    • Alex Belko

      Agree. how about register to comment and ban if messages are obvious trolling? because most of these trolls don’t even use brains

  • mac08wrx

    Apple is doomed I hope this patent gets approved.Apple can continue to waste its time in court while Android continues to grow.

  • thekaz

    Argh. As much as I hate Apple for all this patent crap (as well as for their annoying FanBoys), I wish someone could just fix the patent system.. this is getting insane…

  • John Drinkwater

    ‘what Google did yesterday was simply filing a patent’. Yesterday?

    Read the damn patent!

    Application 20120036556
    Filed: August 6, 2010

  • Derek

    This almost exactly resembles the unlock screen on my HTC Rezound. Instead of a big button, HTC has a ring and you can drag 4 shortcuts to the ring.

  • Jorge Vieira

    Interesting, very interesting.

  • http://www.baldypal.com Adam Jones

    Because of my corporations decision to go apple ive recently had the unfortunate experince of “owning” an iPad. Man i hate saying that. Anyway, the on/off switch inside the settings look like this in ICS. Im wondering who has the first patent on that? I hope its anybody but apple. B/C everbody else is spending their time making great devices and not sueing.

  • Nathan D.

    we better beat that patent battle with apple

  • tarwinia

    I seriously hope they don’t use that exact unlock screen, it’s horrible. Let me explain. i have the sensation and love the HTC unlock screen. the problem with the Google one is the unlock button. I put my cell in my pocket often, screen side towards me (that way my body doesn’t interfere with reception). If they have an unlock button then it’d be easy to accidentally unlock it. I know it for a fact as when my screen gets turned on accidentally while in my pocket my leg will interact with the music controls in HTC’s lockscreen.

  • spazby

    All this is is just corporate power games.

  • http://www.infotainmentempire.com pekosROB

    What about eliminating the lock screen and forcing a pattern/PIN? Has Apple tried to patented that yet??

    It seems redundant for me to have to slide to unlock and then input a pattern (after a timeout of 5 minutes or whatever it is I set it to) afterwards. If I could just put my security pattern in right after it would be nice.

    And how come I’ve never read anything about Google patenting the notification system in Android??? I mean we all know they had that WAYYYYY before Apple. I’d like to see a ridiculous lawsuit there.

    • Lazaro
      • http://www.infotainmentempire.com pekosROB

        Yeah, I just read the article Dustin wrote too.

    • professandobey

      Some people don’t want the delay of a pattern/pin. And Apple tried (perhaps even succeeded [I didn't follow up on this]) to patent the face unlock.

      Fortunately Google is protected by having prior art on the notification system. And they don’t want to be patent trolls, so they don’t need a patent from which to sue Apple. Apple can continue to copy Google for all they care.

      • http://www.infotainmentempire.com pekosROB

        Hell, as far as I’m concerned, Google (or any other tech company) can be an Apple patent troll. It’s the least Apple deserves after all of their bullshit trolling. I could understand Apple doing this if these “patent violations” really were hurting their business, but it doesn’t seem that way. They made the most profit (percentage wise) compared to their costs within the computing industry. It’s not even close in terms of other companies in the mobile or computing arena profiting like them.

        Yet they go around like little bitches. If it was even close, say 2 or 3 competitors making half as much in profit (ROI/ROA) as Apple, then I can see their reasoning. But that’s not the case. They just wanna be lazy and not innovate.

  • dobri

    that is the way to goo Gooogle ….

  • Sangheon96

    Apple empire is beginning to fall just like Roman Empire.

  • Dee

    Its amazing to me how people used to complain that android doesnt look cohesive and some parts dont fit but now i feel like the reason for that is because of apple patent trolling.
    I dont blame google for blatantly disregarding some of the patents they infringe on because it seems like no matter what apple is gonna sue. Good for them and this patent. Apple should just stop throwing grenades from behind the trenches and just meet google head on because these schemes are going to backfire on them in the long run.

  • sylar

    Man this sounds cool to bad it will probably never make it to my phone.

  • cb2000a

    You know what I would like? To be able to just press the button on the side of the phone and use it…no more slide to unlock. Answering the phone could be handled by press and hold a button for 2 seconds or something like that.

    • jay miller

      That leads to butt dialing

  • jay miller

    Do ya got the feeling that every blog has paid political bloggers, trolls searching the web looking for a place to spread hate and misinformation?

  • aranea

    This looks more functional than slide to unlock.

  • philandy

    It is more functional and I see myself setting up audio clips on that screen that say “hey you’re butt dialing” or do a special vibe and then relock the screen. The unlock would be a voice phrase or a special shake.