Google, it would seem, has quietly released a new smart lock mode feature for Android-powered devices.
The function, which appears to have been dubbed "on-body detection", apparently allows a mobe to remain unlocked while it is carried in a customer's hand or pocket.
According to the Android Police blog, the feature uses a device's accelerometer to determine whether or not it is has body contact with the owner.
Presumably, such a function would be a potentially useful tool to safeguard against easy access to someone's data, which could happen if a device was unlocked at the time it was swiped by a thief.
A screenshot of the apparent new Android function – spotted in version 5.0 of the OS, which is codenamed Lollipop – explained: "If your device detects that it's no longer being held, your device won't stay unlocked."
But, there's also a caveat:
If you unlock your device and hand it to someone else, your device also stays unlocked as long as the other person continues to hold or carry it.
Arguably, it's a feature that could increase the chance of violence against an Android mobe owner, if the thief clocks that they have to wrestle the thing out of a victim's hand in order to keep the device unlocked. ®