Apple: Don’t Touch Me, Google: Okay

iphone-vs-androidOne of the key (and only) advantages the iPhone has over the T-Mobile G1 and the Android platform is Multi-Touch capability. That’s not entirely true – we’ve not only seen multi-touch on the G1 but we can also hack multi-touch on the G1 ourselves. But out of the box, Android does NOT support multi-touch.

What makes this odd is the fact that Android is capable of supporting multi-touch but the lines of code designated for it are commented out. The most common explanation has been that Apple’s bazillion patents protecting their multi-touch technology scared Google away from including it or trying to find a legal loophole. Multi-touch is, fyi, the ability for a touch screen to accept multiple points of contact simultaneously.

An Android Team Member told VentureBeat that Apple asked Google not to incorporate Multi-Touch and that Google simply agreed. While Android competes with the iPhone, remember that Google’s core business is search and Google and Apple have a close relationship with Google Mobile Search and products on the iPhone. They don’t want to put that relationship in harms way.

Keep in mind that the upcoming Palm Pre is currently catching the eye of Apple’s patent protectors and if Multi-Touch slips through the cracks on Palm devices, Android could seem like the odd man out sitting one rung below the others on the totem pole.

At least initially, Apple may have asked Google kindly and Google kindly obliged. But you can be sure as the smartphone platform war heats up and the competition intensifies that this issue will be revisited.

Also of note, the Android Team Member said that we could see a large rollout of Android based netbooks (or something like that) as soon as this year. And Intel has a massive effort underway related to Android. Smell that? Its the plot in the pot thickening.

[Via VentureBeat]

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  • http://ryocentral.info Ryo

    For me, multitouch is no topic. I don’t like it. Used it on iPhone and my fingers hurt. The usage of the G1 is good without mt. Although it could be more optimized on browsing, like scrolling inside maps, which is apparently not possible. The screen gets moved, but not the embedded map.
    I don’t want multitouch.

  • http://www.ikecube.com Ike

    For me, the patent to use one finger versus two fingers is like patenting the ability to drive a Ford with one hand vs driving a Chevy with two hands.

    These patents that cover things that multiple people/companeis are VERY likely to come up with on their own seems silly, and sits in the way of technological progress.

  • zhuhai

    I’ve browsed the net using multi-touch on iphone. This is not condusive to one hand browsing as you need to hold phone with other hand as you pinch the screen.

    android g1’s plus and minus screen size adjustment keys is much easier for one hand browsing. With favorite sites bookmarked, I don’t have to open keyboard either while browsing. android’s browsing is more elegant than iphone.

  • Ironzey

    Wow you folks really are fans. I’d have to disagree with the exclusion of MT. It cripples the phone compared to the standard which is the iphone. Maybe the ability to turn it on and off could be added.

  • DrkWatr

    Maybe I’m wrong here, but the way I see it the company that created Apple’s screen invented the technology. Apple just slapped their software around it. I do miss the days when you were required to send in a working prototype before getting a patent. The first time I remember them kicking that to the curb possibly caused the dispute whether Bell or Gray invented the telephone.

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  • e-man

    SO, DOES THIS MEAN G1 DEVELOPER PHONE COULD “UNCOMMENT” THE LINES IN SDK CODE,

    AND TRY MULTITOUCH EFFECTS IN CODE DEVELOPMENT?

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