A patent filed by Google suggest that the company might be looking into implementing a rear touchpad for future Pixel smartphones, or maybe even license the technology to other third-party manufacturers.
The rear touchpad could be used to perform a multitude of tasks that could make operating the smartphone a touch easier and natural. For example, the touchpad could be used to control the volume of the music or a video you are listening to, zoom in and out or scroll through webpages, shuffle through photos, reduce brightness, or maybe even copy text from a document, all without having to touch the screen.
The touchpad could also double as a gesture area that could allow users to perform tasks or open an app when the phone is locked. For example, drawing a circle on the gesture area could be used to launch the camera, while drawing ‘W’ could have it launch WhatsApp. The Android OS could easily feature a built-in functionality to have these gestures customizable by the user. A similar feature is already available in smartphones like the OnePlus where drawing on the screen results in similar functionality.
The patent was filed almost year ago, so there is no guarantee that it will be used for anything. Of course, a touchpad area on the back of a phone would be a neat idea although Google has to be careful not to let it accidentally activate as it will be positioned in most user’s natural hand-resting area.