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LG G3 knocking feature may signal smartphone security trend

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A screen lock, for many smartphone owners, is a tool that helps users avoid accidentally waking handsets and draining battery life, rather than a security system.

LG's latest take on smartphone security, though, may encourage users to actually place pass codes on lock screens to prevent thieves and snoops from swiping their way past lock screens.

The G3, LG's 5.5-inch phablet, provides an option for setting up knock codes for use as an alternative to the traditional pins and password that many users find a nuisance to maintain.

The security approach entails users tapping out a sequence to gain access to their phones, though "knocking" to request entry may sound a bit cooler than tapping.

Using the "knock code" system, a user divides a phone's screen into invisible quadrants that can take up all or part of the display. The user then taps out a sequence of three to eight "knocks" to establish a pass code or to gain entry after a pass code has been set -- there's in excess of 80,000 combinations of taps users can employ to set up knock sequences for their smartphones.

Knock system users can fall back on a pin-based pass code, if they fail on six tries to gain access to their phones via knocking. Users can also restore access to their phones via their Google accounts.

Related to the G3's knock codes, users can awaken the phone by using its "knock on" feature. With two quick taps -- knocks -- the phone will awaken from its standby slumber and users can input their knock codes or go straight to the Android OS if a pass code hasn't been established.

The G3's other security systems, beyond pins and passwords, include facial recognition and pattern drawing. The phone will attempt to scan and recognize its user's face, or users can draw patterns on a series of images to gain access into the handset's OS.

After finding success in South Korea, LG released the LG G3 in the U.S. on Amazon at a highly subsidized price. Jong-Seok Park, president and CEO of the LG's Electronics Mobile Communications division, said early sales figures for the G3 have made the company's optimistic, but LG wanted more feedback.

"It's quite an honor to be considered the new industry benchmark for premium smartphones, but in the end, what really matters is how consumers feel about our latest flagship device, because it was their feedback that helped us create G3," said Park.

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