Following Apple's successful patent litigation concerning its Slide-to-unlock technology, other mobile device software companies will need to look for suitable alternatives.
Google has been preparing for this eventuality by designing new unlock code into its tablet and phone operating system. The latest version of Android, known as Ice Cream Sandwich, includes a Lick-to-unlock feature. However, it offers a number of alternatives which can be selected or downloaded by users.
Wink-to-unlock uses the facial recognition software to recognise the owner and will unlock following a wink. Several programming winks are required for the system to learn what to look out for, and then it's ready to go. Unfortunately, the power overhead of running facial recognition constantly means that battery life is reduced by a factor of six.
Kiss-to-unlock avoids the problems of Wink-to-unlock by using the touch screen in much the same way as Lick-to-unlock. The main difference is that it displays a selected photograph and it is necessary to plant a kiss on the correct part of the screen to unlock the device. The downside of this is that should you leave your phone unlocked somewhere, you may come back to find the photo of your loved one puckering has been replaced by the genitals of a warthog on your now locked device.
French-kiss-to-unlock works in much the same way as Kiss-to-unlock. You simply French-kiss the screen and voila! - it changes the menu language to French.
Fart-to-unlock gets around screen contact problems by using sound input as an unlocking method. This is likely to be only a downloadable option - in tests most operators could not maintain sufficient uniformity to train the device to recognise them.
Unlock-to-unlock uses a separate device called a 'key' which, when held over an icon on the screen known as the 'keyhole' and twisted, unlocks the device. Each 'key' could be unique, and should you own more than one device you could link all your 'keys' together on a 'key-ring'. So that you know that these are your 'keys' a range of amusing 'key-fobs' will be available, with legends such as 'My other phone is an iPhone5!'.
Crush-to-unlock is another option. By crushing the screen on your device with sufficient force an unlock process is initiated. The software registers the amount of distortion to the display screen, and unlocks just before the point at which the screen would break. Provided the software hasn't frozen for any reason. And nobody has replaced your Crush-to-unlock icon with a joke Crush-but-don't-unlock icon.
Knock-to-unlock. This will register the timing sequence and percussive effect of a series of raps to the screen using one's knuckle. Then, provided that this matches a predetermined code, you're in!
Finally, dab-to-unlock makes use of the loops and swirls of your individual fingerprint to unlock your device. Because the screen on most devices is not capable of registering the loops and swirls of an individual fingerprint, you will simply have to show an A4 photocopy of your fingerprint to the camera, and it will unlock.