Future Google Pixel devices might sport a rear-facing touchpad

A new patent has detailed that a future Pixel device might benefit from a rear-facing touchpad that would have contextual features based on running apps.

If you’re lucky enough to be using a 2017 Android flagship such as the Samsung Galaxy S8, you may have experimented with the ability to use gestures on your device’s fingerprint reader, such as swiping down to pull down the notification shade. Now, Google has filed a new patent that might take that idea one step further on a forthcoming Pixel device.
A new patent filed by the company reveals that where the Pixel and Pixel XL presently have glass surfaces on the top half of their respective rear panels, a future device might accommodate a touch-pad that would serve differing uses informed by the context of an app running on the device – somewhat akin to the Touch Bar found on Apple’s MacBook Pro.
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The patent elaborates, for example, that opening a music app may enable the touchpad to serve as a scrubber or volume controller, or allow users to zoom in and out of a webpage without obstructing their display when using a mobile browser.
Another mentioned use could be that of gesture support – for example, the touchpad might be able to recognise gestures or symbols to toggle certain apps or functions on or off.
Google notes that “It would be advantageous to have an improved touch sensitive surface that offers additional modes of operation” in the patent, which – interestingly enough – was originally filed a year ago.
Read: Five major Google I/O announcements that you need to know about
What are your thoughts? Do you feel Google’s idea is a sound proposition for Android phones, or one best left unused? Be sure to let us know your opinion in the comments below!
Follow Bryan Smith on Twitter: @bryansmithSA