Sci-tech

Future Pixel Smartphones Could Feature a Touch Panel on the Back

Future Pixel Smartphones Could Feature a Touch Panel on the Back”

A Google patent suggests that a new Pixel device could end up coming with a rear-facing touchpad surface that would allow users to have extra functionality.

In the filing, Google says: "it would be advantageous to have an improved touch sensitive surface that offers additional modes of operation". This rear touchpad could handle many different tasks depending on the app or operation that the user now has open. It could also be used for controlling volume on the phone while the music app is in use and also swipe through your photo gallery, all without having to touch the front screen at all.

According to the images that have surfaced on Patently Mobile, the device would have a touch surface on the rear panel that could be attached and accessed by users just like the rear-mounted fingerprint scanner available on the current Pixel devices. A rear touchpad surface would enable users to do more with their devices, and while such implementations of touch sensitive surfaces haven't exactly been seen or used in smartphones before, it wouldn't be the first time that such technology has been used in any mobile device. The feature listed in the patent is similar to the one already present on the 2016 Google Pixel devices. This larger touch-based surface area would potentially allow for drawing gestures on the surface to complete certain functions like launching apps or shortcuts.

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It sounds like Google is covering all its bases, as it's yet to decide what tech the phone will use to recognize and interpret gestures made on the back of the handset. These gestures allow users to swipe down or up to reveal or hide the notifications shade.

It's unlikely that we'll see Google act on this patent in the short term, with the rumored Pixel 2 nearly certain not to benefit from the search giant's latest patent pick-up. Regardless of what materials Google uses for the back of the handset, the company may be working on a special kind of unique Pixel feature that will probably never be found on any iPhone.

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