Apple had recently flung a slide-to-unlock patent infringement lawsuit against Samsung in Germany, but one very important Android phone was never on the list of complaints: the Galaxy Nexus. As you probably know, the iPhone has a signature way of activating from sleep mode, and many smartphones have since emulated and expanded it to sliding in any direction within a circle, sometimes to unlock directly into an app, as in the case with the Galaxy Nexus. A Samsung official commented, saying:
“We’re aware that there was a hearing involving Apple’s slide-to-unlock feature after our patent infringement case last Friday and a series of products in the Galaxy lineup were accused there, but what we’ve discovered is that the Galaxy Nexus wasn’t one of them.”
That's great news for Samsung and all, but what's so special about the Galaxy Nexus that excludes it from this patent? Since it's pure Google software on the phone, do they have some kind of licensing agreement already in place? It's hard to tell, but Apple will need to stay on the defensive while simultaneously pushing this issue; Samsung is suing Apple for infringing on 3G patents, which one might say is a bit more serious than a simple slide-to-unlock paradigm.
You certainly can't help but give credit to Apple for getting all of these smartphone manufacturers to reconsider how one unlocks phones, but it seems like things have progressed so far beyond simply sliding a bar at this point that Apple is going to have a real hard time suing the competition over it.