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?