According to 9to5Mac, Apple won a patent dispute related to the way we unlock a mobile device “slide to unlock” (patent number 7657849).
Apple filed an application for this patent back in December 2005 and after 6 long years, the United States Patent and Trademark Office finally gave Apple credit for it and along with it more reasons for future lawsuits.
“A device with a touch-sensitive display may be unlocked via gestures performed on the touch-sensitive display. The device is unlocked if contact with the display corresponds to a predefined gesture for unlocking the device. The device displays one or more unlock images with respect to which the predefined gesture is to be performed in order to unlock the device. The performance of the predefined gesture with respect to the unlock image may include moving the unlock image to a predefined location and/or moving the unlock image along a predefined path. The device may also display visual cues of the predefined gesture on the touch screen to remind a user of the gesture. In addition, there is a need for sensory feedback to the user regarding progress towards satisfaction of a user input condition that is required for the transition to occur.”
Conclusion: looks like any gesture to unlock a touchscreen (mobile) device is in violation of the above patent number. There’s still hope folks as the latest Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich comes with a brand new unlock feature called “Face unlock” recognition.
From my point of view everything related to a swipe, gesture (slide) or however you wanna call it includes the “slide to unlock” right? which I belive it’s a mistake to give patent rights on such a request. I mean how can you register “slide to unlock” as your own when all smartphones/tablets today are based on that slide (gesture, swipe) regardless the unlock part.
Down below is a video of the 2004-2005 Neonode N1M, showing a similar “slide to unlock” that existed before the iPhone.