A few new details have surfaced today from the US Patent & Trademark Office showing our good friends at Google are aiming to bring “simple backside device touch controls” to smartphones and tablets. It looks like they've recently filed a patent for the feature, and will possibly be racing Apple to offer this in an upcoming device.

The patent covers a simple way for users to control pages of an ebook, flip through photos in their gallery, or even go to the next page on a website all without ever touching their touchscreen. Instead there will be backside touch controls where a simple tap or slide will do this for you. Imagine not having to tap the screen and interrupt your view by sliding your finger to scroll or change pages.

Apparently Google is a little behind however, and Apple actually filed for a similar but different patent way back in 2006 for their upcoming tablets. Apple has all sorts of patents these days, so it will be interesting to see who wins what, and who gets this technology to consumers first. Don't forget the Sony PS Vita actually already has this, only in a different manner. A quick diagram provided by the USPTO regarding Google's patent can be found from the via link below.

It would be nice to be able to scroll up and down a webpage using the back of the device so you can keep reading with ease, or tapping the "touch sensitive" panel on the rear to skip to the next song on a playlist. Apparently the patent from Google covers the feature actually being used in future Android devices with a tactile, audible, or visual feedback letting users know the optional rear control has been touched. We could actually see this in the near future. Thoughts?

[via PatentBolt]

  • DAE Motorola Backflip? This already happened 3 years ago.

  • It might be finger print lock on/off !

  • zMadBob

    err can nobody see the flaw in this? it won’t work because you’ll have your phone on a case.

    • vegiisan

      Works for me. I can’t remember the last phone/tablet I had in a case. The closest is the bumper on the Nexus 4 but the back is still exposed.

  • Giorgio Torres

    Indeed it has already happened years ago, with Motorola Charm, Spice, and others in motorola…
    But, as Google purchased Motorola Mobile this technology lies in Google’s hands…

  • If some company could come up with a slim sexy super tough phone that does not need a case. That would be a killer feature. about 75% of smart phone owners have a case on their phones or tablets to protect them. this would completely negate this new feature..unless they make cases with this tech baked in.

    • MikePopovici

      Yeah but then theres no money in cases and screen protectors and crap.

  • Someone already came up with this concept way back in 2010. He designed a concept UI called the Blue Bee Interface. See for yourself. Just google blue bee interface

    or copy and past this link