Company Suing Apple Shows Off Multi-touch on Android

Patience is a virtue. One admitted edge that the iPhone has over Android is the out-of-the-box multi-touch integration. The whole thing is odd since the Android source code already features multi-touch capabilities, simply commented out. It is a complex web of patents and proprietary technology that Google seems to not want to, well… touch.

But Elan Microelectronics is gladly going there, suing Apple for patent infringement – they claim they had the rights to multi-touch technology before Apple did! And remember how Apple recently chastised Palm, hinting that they stole their multi-touch technology and would soon be getting sued? Yeah, this whole thing just keeps getting weirder.

In another interesting twist, and an especially exciting one for Android fans, a video has been posted that shows Elan Microelectronics Multi-touch technology running on Android! Who would have thunk that giving someone the eFinger could be considered a good thing? You can clearly see how amazing eFinger is below – it seems to run smooth and flawlessly on Android and I’ll be the first to say I really want it.

So what will come with all this Apple/Elan/Palm/Android patent stuff? I happen to think that Elan will try to win as much as they can within the confines of the courts while simultaneously trying to license their technology to Google. But will Google pay to license a technology for an Open platform when they would much rather see someone join the OHA and contribute this technology for free? I doubt it. But maybe, just maybe, the latter will happen. How sweet would THAT be?

[Via PhonesReview]

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  • Rich

    Judging by their website, I’d say their sole existence relies on Multi touch technology. It doesnt look like they do much business in the U.S. Would it be safe to assume that an Apple Spy went to one of their expo’s and stole the technology that we’ve all come to know as the “Multi Touch from Apple”? It’ll be like the Blackberry thing all over again.

  • http://Phandroid.com Ron

    This could be a great thing for Android. The multi-touch feature would put it at the same level, if not above, the iPhone. I really hope this technology comes to Android.

  • http://danglinginvective.blogspot.com Mark

    Drool.

  • Michael

    Quote: Would it be safe to assume that an Apple Spy went to one of their expo’s and stole the technology that we’ve all come to know as the “Multi Touch from Apple”?

    No. I doubt any technology was stolen. At most, the idea was stolen. How hard is it to come up with the idea of being able to use more than one finger on a touchscreen? Something so obvious shouldn’t even be able to be patented.

  • Jake

    I wouldn’t be surprised if, or when he wins that his company joins the OHA, if they do would that mean that multi touch will become open source and Apple won’t have a one up on anyone anymore? Let hope to god.

  • Phil

    I’m not sure Apple is going to be able to hold on to multi-touch anyway as Microsoft displayed it with surface and Apple did nothing to defend their patent…if they even had it then. I doubt a patent on specific use such as a smaller screen is going to hold up.

    Either way I don’t care. I really don’t see a need for multi-touch on a tiny screen. I often navigate my G1 with my thumb in one hand. I don’t want to have to hold it with two hands just to do a two finger gesture. I much prefer the zoom mechanism in the Steel browser or the circular one shown on the Magic. But to be honest with the Chrome-lite and Steel browsers I don’t find myself needing to zoom in and out all the time. I actually wonder why iPhone users do it so often.

  • babyBIGboss

    well for me i think multi touch is aswome just becuase the screen is small doesent mean nothing and i hoope we get multi touch woooo go google

  • http://appletree.be Jochen

    OMFG

    Me sucky sucky for such a devicey!

  • shinobi-wan

    To quote chester cheetah: ‘aye aye aye, crunch!’ Yes, we need this. IMO if we get multi-touch and all the new updates, the upcoming iphone is going to be behind android right from the start of leaving the gate.

  • JMB-GNR

    Multi touch is as old as 1985, when Bill Buxton introduced it: http://portal.acm.org/citation.cfm?id=317456.317461

    I don’t see why Apple claims this interaction-type :S

  • Sean

    I still don’t see the everyday use of multi touch phones. People always tell me look and see how cool this is and I can zoom in and out but then again you have double tapping there anyway. Instead of this “cool” feature I’d rather have them focus on other aspect of the phones (battery efficiency, processors etc)

  • Rich

    Yeah I’d rather have a “1 handed expansion” of my maps or pictures. Simply hold your finger on the spot you wish to enlarge, and drag your finger toward the edge of the screen effecively stretching the image with only a 1 finger touch, and use the back button to return it to it’s normal ratio.

  • Kalon

    Multi touch would be cool but Rich has a good idea. Perhaps manipulation similar to blender (blender.org).

  • Hunter

    Apple stole the mouse from xerox, and then microsoft stole it from apple. 20 years later Apple steals multi-touch Elan, and then palm steals it from them. This time however the original inventor is actually doing something about it.

  • rigamrts

    guys apple did not steal the mouse from xerox they stole the windows style os and windows stole the os at the same time. jobs and gates were both at the same meeting where it was shown. both were given a copy freely by xerox to play with. xerox was in the copier bussiness not the os bussiness at the time they really did not know what they had. apple was the first to inmplement it into the lora.
    Douglas Engelbart got the patent for the mouse in 1970 not xerox.

  • Abrown

    Screw Apple, they suck…I’m sick of Steve Jobs and his arrogance, whining and making a big deal about something he didn’t invent; As well as deriding everyone else’s efforts just because it’s “not the iPhone” or “not a Mac.” It’s about time someone stood up to Apple and all the crap they give everyone else. I just hope this turns out good for everyone and not just for Elan Microelectronics. If they’re just trying to take Apple’s place as the a-holes of multi touch then I hope they crash and burn.

  • BillH

    Steve Jobs is a marketing genius but he is not an engineer. He can claim that Apple invented everything in iPhone including multi-touch. The truth is that I saw the multi-touch UI first in the movie “Mission Impossible I” and later at Microsoft, the “Surface”. So Apple will eventually lose the suits.