Google has been granted patents today for the unique way one can unlock their Android phone and judging by the patents, Google is looking to take the functionality a few steps further.
When you are preparing to unlock your device, a screen comes up with nine dots that form to make a grid. Connecting the dots and drawing a pattern — which you can customize in the Settings — then unlocks the phone and brings you to the home screen.
If you’re familiar with HTC’s Sense UI, you know that it uses its own method for unlocking the phone. In addition, it allows for certain apps to be displayed on the unlock screen with a ring underneath. Dragging the app into the ring will automatically launch that app from the unlock screen. Google has obviously taken some cues from HTC and is now planning to add a similar feature to the stock Android unlock screen. Setting custom gestures would not only be able to just unlock the phone, but also immediately launch a particular app based on the gesture.
Digging down even deeper, the patents reveal that Google wants to be able to complete specific actions in apps from the unlock screen, rather than just opening them. For instance, instead of drawing a pattern to open the text messaging app, you might want to draw something to get right in and start a new message. There’s a wide array of creative possibilities.
Expect to hear more about this in upcoming releases of Android 4.x.
Update: Patent lawyer James Yang reached out to us to point out that this is only a pending patent application and has not yet officially been granted to Google.