A new patent granted by the USPTO (United States Patent and Trademark Office) may have just given us some hints at some future functionality Google has planned for its Android pattern unlock security feature. Today, the unlock pattern helps protect your device and your data but it also prevents you from quickly accessing an app. Security at the price of convenience. But what if you could have both?
Google’s new patent would allow users to set up different unlock patterns for different actions. While you would still have one that unlocks your device and takes you to the home screen, another pattern could immediately launch the camera while another would take you to Google Now for example. As the diagram shows, the additional patterns could simply the same one with an added swipe or two to trigger a specific action. As the filing explains:
This document generally describes a computing system (e.g., a mobile telephone or tablet computer) that provides for alternative unlocking patterns. In general, a user of a computing system that is locked may unlock the system by providing any of multiple unlocking patterns, such as by tracing a pattern with their fingertip on a touchscreen display of a computing device. The unlocking patterns may be associated with different actions upon the system unlocking. For example, a first pattern may cause the system to display a “home screen.” The home screen can display multiple icons that are available for the user to select in order to launch corresponding application programs. A second pattern may cause the system to automatically launch a particular one of the application programs and display the user interface for the launched application program, without requiring further input from the user. As such, when the computing system is locked, the user may be able to more quickly access the particular application program by entering the second pattern instead of entering the first pattern and thereafter selecting an icon to launch the particular application program.
There is no word on when Google could add this to Android. With Android 4.3 likely to be the last Jelly Bean release, it could be one of the new features we will find in Android 5.0 Key Lime Pie. It could just as easily be something that will come in a later release though.
Would you want to see this in the next version of Android? If not, why not? Let us know below.