Like Android 4.0’s Face Unlock feature that unlocks a device when it recognizes the user’s face, Lenovo has made unlocking a hands-free affair, but by using a slightly different approach. The Speaker Verification technology, that makes its debut in the Lenovo Ideaphone A586 smartphone, lets a user unlock their device by speaking a passphrase.

The technology was developed at the Baidu-I2R Research Center (BIRC) that was opened in July this year. The center is a joint laboratory between Singapore’s Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) and Chinese language internet search provider, Baidu. The Lenovo Ideaphone A586 smartphone in which the technology makes its first appearance was recently released in China.

The Android device sports a 4.5-inch IPS FWVGA (854 x 480 pixel) display with five point touch support, is powered by a dual-core 1.2 GHz processor and comes with 4GB of onboard storage.

In addition to unlocking at the sound of a user-defined passphrase, the A586 also allows voice controls to be used to send texts and take photos using the device’s 5-megapixel camera. With Baidu playing a major role in the development of the technology, it’s not surprising to also see a voice search function integrated into the phone.

The Lenovo Ideaphone A586 is selling in China for ¥ 999 (approx. US$160).

Sources: Lenovo (China), A*STAR