has just been granted a patent for which it applied last year regarding the ability to launch programs via specific unlocking patterns. Android
users can already unlock their phones with a special pattern to jump into the operating system, but in a future version of Android, it looks as though users will be able to leap into, say, Angry Birds or Netflix by inputting a custom launch pattern tied to each app.
"This document describes a computing system that provides for alternative unlocking patterns. In general, a computing system may recognize multiple unlocking patterns," Google explains in its patent application. "The unlocking patterns, when entered by a user, may perform different actions. For example, a first unlocking pattern may cause the computing system to unlock the computing system and display a home screen, while a second unlocking pattern may cause the computing system to unlock the computing system and automatically display a user interface for a particular application program (and perhaps launch the application if is not already active)."
Google lists out a bunch of different possible implementations, all of which do essentially the same thing. It's a simple system that could apply to a smartphone
, making the lockscreen more useful to the user than what it already is, and without a third-party ROM.
Whether or not Google takes advantage of its newly issued patent remains to be seen. With Android 4.3 having recently been launched, there's apparently still time to implement this feature into Android 5.0 (Key Lime Pie).