When you’re holding your mobile phone in one hand, you generally have a thumb on the front for scrolling, typing, and tapping, and four fingers clamped more or less uselessly around the edge.
But perhaps not for long.
As PatentBolt saw, Google has applied for a patent on touch control built into the back side of future Android-based phones and tablets, which means that you could turn the page of an ebook, flip to the next song, or pause a video just by tapping or swiping the back of your device.
That all sounds simple, but the challenge lies in distinguishing normal holding contact from intentional touches to control the device or app. Google’s technology will apparently ignore spurious contact and only react to intentional, sustained contact.
Ars Technica notes that Apple also filed a patent for touch controls on the back of a device back in 2006. In Apple’s case, the device in question is an iPad, but no shipping device using this technology has yet seen the light of day.