Google has just patented their new lockscreen method for Android, as an answer to Apple's "slide to unlock" functionality. Google's new unlock feature is unique in that the user can execute a separate command while simultaneously unlocking the phone. Basically, users can drag apps to the unlock area for easy access. The patent also includes a voice-recognition unlocking function.
Google calls this their "Input to Locked Computing Device" patent, and hopes to hold their ground against Apple, who's been on a bit of a patent frenzy of late, recently suing Samsung over display manipulation behaviors on a touchscreen. Apple has likewise sued Motorola over their own attempt at a touchscreen unlocking feature.
The good news for Motorola and Samsung is that Google initially filed their patent on August 6, 2010, 11 days before Apple fired their own. Meaning, next-gen Android devices would be given a legal unlock-option, after Apple persistently suing over this type of feature for the past 18 months.