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Check Out Google's Patent for Rear Touch Controls

Authored by: Steven Blum — Mar 10, 2013

Cue the jokes: Google has applied for a patent for touch controls you can use on the backside of your device. The concept could radically change the way we use our phones, allowing a whole new set of controls for controlling what you see on your display. 

The idea is pretty simple: to introduce touch controls on the rear casing of a smartphone. The buttons could remember a recently-opened app or a recently-used function to allow for quick and economical use. 

Google's patent also allows for various levels of pressure to be applied to the button(s) to target different functions – like a hard press for closing or opening an app. Google could also seamlessly integrate the button into the phone so that it is virtually invisible – only a touch would activate it.

Apple filed a fairly similar patent in 2006 which means it's likely the adoption of such a patent will lead to another patent war. Oh well...what else is new, really?

Would you like to have backside touch control over your phone? I think it could be pretty helpful, especially as an extra touch pad for action-packed gaming. That said, I hope Google finds a way to design the button so that it's as unobtrusive as possible. Otherwise, simply laying your phone on a flat surface could unintentionally initiate a function you didn't wish to initate.

Source: Patent Bolt

Steven Blum has written more than 2,000 blog posts as a founding member of AndroidPIT's English editorial team. A graduate of the University of Washington, Steven Blum also studied Journalism at George Washington University in Washington D.C. for two years. Since then, his writing has appeared in The Stranger, The Seattle P-I, Blackbook Magazine and Venture Villlage. He loves the HTC One and hopes the company behind it still exists in a few years.


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  • Mark R. Mar 11, 2013 Link to comment

    I think this is just old hat. best use I saw for rear face was an e-ink kindle style display which could hold a snapshot of the front screen. I think this was a Chinese phone but not sure what became of it.

  • It's not really anything new.... my wife had an old Sammy that was phone on one side and music player on the other side. This would just be an evolution of that design.

  • Good idea, but most cell phone owner, use covers on back.

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