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Future smartphones could have anti-pickpocket technology

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If you've spent a huge sum of money on a phone, you don't want a cheeky thief to swipe it right out of your pocket, and phones in the future might have a handy feature that stops them doing just that – or, at least, makes it a lot harder for them to pick your pocket.

A patent filed by Swedish telecom company Ericsson (which you might know from the Sony Ericsson phones), shows new tech that phones could use to become much, much harder to steal – in theory.

The technology would recognize who was holding a phone from their heartbeat – and if someone unauthorized was holding the phone, it would enter 'low-friction' mode.

In 'low-friction' mode the phone would vibrate quickly, making it a lot harder for potential thieves to pick up – in effect, it becomes too slippery to easily pick up. The tech also includes a 'hi-friction' mode, so when you're holding your phone, it's a lot less likely to slip out of your hands and fall to the ground.

In theory, 'low-friction' mode would help stop pesky pickpockets pinching your phone right out of your pocket, giving you that extra level of security when you're in a busy crowd – of course it won't help if your phone is stolen in any other way, but it still could be a useful feature.

Although the patent was only recently discovered, it was filed in February, so phone makers have had a few months to consider adding it to their handsets, however with the long production cycles of phones, even if handsets do end up using the tech it might be a few months before we see phones with this anti-robber technology.

Tom Bedford

Staff Writer, Phones

Tom's role in the TechRadar team is as a staff writer specializing in phones and tablets, but he also takes on other tech like electric scooters, smartwatches, fitness trackers and more.