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Multi-touch omitted from Android at Apple's request - report

post #1 of 53
Thread Starter 
The absence of multi-touch functionality on T-Mobile's Android-powered G1 smartphone may have been a casualty of Google's cordial relationship with Apple -- one that the search giant would rather not disrupt.

An unnamed source inside the Android team told VentureBeat that Apple requested multi-touch be left out of the device, and Mountain View, Calif.-based Google was happy to comply.

The G1 has been criticized in several reviews for its touch user interface, which is "inferior to the iPhone's," as Walt Mossberg put it in his review for the Wall Street Journal. "It lacks the iPhone's ability to flick between multiple pictures and Web pages, or to zoom in and zoom out of a photo or Web page by simply using two fingers to 'pinch' or expand the image," Mossberg wrote.

"Unlike the iPhone, however, the G1's touch screen isn't multitouch, so you can't zoom in and out of pages by pinching your fingers apart," wrote CNET in its review. "Admittedly, we really missed this feature, since it makes viewing Web pages and pictures easy, but it's not necessary."

Gizmodo agreed, "Compared to the iPhone, it still loses, but this comes down to a lack of multitouch capability -- on the G1, for instance, you zoom by clicking + and - magnifier buttons."

According to the VentureBeat source, the Android team is now "relieved" to have followed Apple's wishes since any legal showdown between Apple and alleged infringers of the iPhone maker's patents won't ensnare Android or the HTC-manufactured G1.

For the iPhone, Google provides support for Google Maps, search built into the mobile version of Safari, a YouTube client and Gmail. The company has also collaborated with Apple for the desktop, including some integration with its digital lifestyle suite iLife.

Google chief Eric Schmidt also sits on Apple's board at a time when Palm and Apple seem to be posturing in advance of a legal battle over multi-touch patents that Apple has promised to defend.

"We will not stand to have our IP ripped off," acting chief executive Tim Cook said in Apple's fiscal first quarter earnings call. "We'll use whatever weapons we have at our disposal."

Palm, for its part, promised to do the same, just before Apple was granted a massive patent for the iPhone and its multi-touch technology.

Reports from last month indicate the iPhone may have outsold Android nearly 6-to-1.

Meanwhile, the same Android team member said Intel is helping with an effort to release Android-based netbooks, a market Apple says it is "watching" but has no current plans to enter.
post #2 of 53
Perhaps Apple has a multi-touch netbook, complete with a touch screen and support for Amazon Kindle eBooks and AT&T cellular access and is just waiting for the right time to swoop in for the kill.
post #3 of 53
It is so satisfying to the know that the Apple-God will protect me from unknown evils foisted upon the world by the miserable forces of darkness, cloaked so carefully as competitors.

If only the big-A had not allied themselves with the Big at&t. That is evil.
post #4 of 53
Google will eventually purchase Apple.
post #5 of 53
Come on Palm, hurry up and start the war with Apple. Please.
post #6 of 53
Looks like there's prior art for multi-touch:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Multi-touch

Also, Microsoft, Asus and Dell are either already using it or are planning to use it.

I'm wondering if Apple's patents are just for *specific kinds* of multi-touch, such as the gestures for zooming (pinch). In that case, all Apple's competitors have to do is invent other gestures (pinch to zoom out, instead of zoom in).
post #7 of 53
Google goal is not to take over the market with Android, they just want people to have spend more time on the internet/Google.
post #8 of 53
Probably depends on the device it's being used on.
Quote:
Originally Posted by JavaCowboy View Post

Looks like there's prior art for multi-touch:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Multi-touch

Also, Microsoft, Asus and Dell are either already using it or are planning to use it.

I'm wondering if Apple's patents are just for *specific kinds* of multi-touch, such as the gestures for zooming (pinch). In that case, all Apple's competitors have to do is invent other gestures (pinch to zoom out, instead of zoom in).
post #9 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by BlackSummerNight View Post

Probably depends on the device it's being used on.

Yep. It's also important to remember that patents are for *implementations* of technology, not ideas per se. The existence of multi-touch prior to the iPhone is not as important as who did what with it and what devices were made with it.

With few exceptions, right from the beginning the people who actually turned it into something were the FingerWorks people, (who since 2005 have been Apple people). There are lots of examples of individuals and corporations fooling around with it, making concept products etc., but only FingerWorks and Apple have really made products that use it that you can buy. That counts for a lot.

Just because some researcher at Microsoft working on a pie-in-the-sky concept "envisioned" a multi-touch tablet device in 2001 doesn't mean Microsoft invented, or even knew anything about multi-touch technology. I can "envision" a device that opens a portal into another dimension. That doesn't mean I should get the patent on it when or if it's ever *actually* invented.

Just ask all the descendants of people that worked with the light-bulb before Edison "invented" it how big their bank accounts are.
In Windows, a window can be a document, it can be an application, or it can be a window that contains other documents or applications. Theres just no consistency. Its just a big grab bag of monkey...
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In Windows, a window can be a document, it can be an application, or it can be a window that contains other documents or applications. Theres just no consistency. Its just a big grab bag of monkey...
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post #10 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by JavaCowboy View Post

In that case, all Apple's competitors have to do is invent other gestures (pinch to zoom out, instead of zoom in).

Pinch to zoom out would be the same as Apple's.
post #11 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by CREB View Post

Google will eventually purchase Apple.

I think you have that backwards!
post #12 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by CREB View Post

Google will eventually purchase Apple.

At current prices Apples market cap is around 88 billion dollars versus Googles market cap of 115 billion. I would think that would rule out a hostile bid and most likely a friendly one as well. If Apple were to return to the doldrums of the past then its possible but otherwise doubt full imho. What would be the point? I do not see how possible synergies of a merged Applegoo would make up for the enormous costs involved. What would be gained beyond what they achieve now with their partnership?

If the economy continues it's race to the bottom (and I think it will for the next 18-24 months) you will see ad revenue continue to crater and internet companies that are ad dependent like Google and Yahoo could see their stock price implode. Perhaps then an Applegoo would make sense but at current prices it would be too much like that great big colossal screw up formerly known as AolTimewarner.
Now I need to put my tinfoil hat back on and go hide in the corner.
Jim
Crying? No, I am not crying. I am sweating through my eyes.
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Crying? No, I am not crying. I am sweating through my eyes.
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post #13 of 53
The iPhone's superiority is due only in part to MultiTouch. It helps, but it's just one element. Android is all around inferior, while Microsoft can add MultiTouch to Windows and it won't suddenly make Windows better.

Used out of context, it's just another gimmick.

With Apple, it's not the what, but the how and the why. Focusing on the what leads to checkboxing, where companies add features for no better reason than the fact that the other guy has it.

Android can be greatly improved without MultiTouch.
post #14 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alonso Perez View Post

The iPhone's superiority is due only in part to MultiTouch. It helps, but it's just one element. Android is all around inferior, while Microsoft can add MultiTouch to Windows and it won't suddenly make Windows better.

Used out of context, it's just another gimmick.

With Apple, it's not the what, but the how and the why. Focusing on the what leads to checkboxing, where companies add features for no better reason than the fact that the other guy has it.

Android can be greatly improved without MultiTouch.

Excellent observations.

I find myself using the 'pinch' in-and-out functions less and less. The one that I use the most is double-tap (and I don't think that falls under 'multi-touch').
post #15 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by bigdaddyp View Post

At current prices Apples market cap is around 88 billion dollars versus Googles market cap of 115 billion. I would think that would rule out a hostile bid and most likely a friendly one as well. If Apple were to return to the doldrums of the past then its possible but otherwise doubt full imho. What would be the point? I do not see how possible synergies of a merged Applegoo would make up for the enormous costs involved. What would be gained beyond what they achieve now with their partnership?

If the economy continues it's race to the bottom (and I think it will for the next 18-24 months) you will see ad revenue continue to crater and internet companies that are ad dependent like Google and Yahoo could see their stock price implode. Perhaps then an Applegoo would make sense but at current prices it would be too much like that great big colossal screw up formerly known as AolTimewarner.
Now I need to put my tinfoil hat back on and go hide in the corner.
Jim

I disagree. An Apple Google merger has been discussed many times, including here.

The two companies MS fears the most right now are Apple and Google. Each one has enough money to challenge them on one or more fronts. The two together can challenge them on most fronts.

If you add Sun into the mix, there would be a challenger that MS would be hard put to match.
post #16 of 53
"We will not stand to have our IP ripped off," acting chief executive Tim Cook said in Apple's fiscal first quarter earnings call.

Wow, Apple invented Internet Protocol. What didn't they invent?!?
post #17 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cubert View Post

"We will not stand to have our IP ripped off," acting chief executive Tim Cook said in Apple's fiscal first quarter earnings call.

Wow, Apple invented Internet Protocol. What didn't they invent?!?

Palm would be in real legal trouble if they were messing with that IP.
post #18 of 53
Wonder if Apple would have extended the same courtesy to Palm about the patent heads up if they were as cozy as they are with Google. Apple and Google serve each other best as separate entities to challange Microsoft and others. Sure they have overlapping ideas/products at times, but the partnership is mutually beneficial at the moment. Apple and Palm and have nothing to gain from each other aside from taking market share from Microsoft, and Google probably will get less preferntial developer treatment from Palm.

And does Palm still have the financial resources to hope they win (or at least don't outright lose) any litigation over multi-touch? Their market cap is roughly 800M right now, they may have to play it safe, license multi-touch gesturing, and hope they can outcompete Windows Mobile based phones.
post #19 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by arteckx View Post

Palm would be in real legal trouble if they were messing with that IP.


IP meant Intellectual Property in this case, but Im sure you were being sarcastic.
post #20 of 53
The whole point about Android is that it is open source.

It doesn't matter if the Android team themselves are not supporting multitouch in the OS, the handset manufacturers can add multitouch to the Android OS themselves.
post #21 of 53
If Apple did what this news claims, it would be a tragedy. It's like saying that only Apple is allowed to use GUI interface while other operating system can only use text command. This is definitely a drawback for innovation.
post #22 of 53
On a semi-related note, I think Intel should leave Android to the cellphones, and get rid of their custom linux distro for "MIDs", and just work with Ubuntu on a netbook linux version.

The majority of the isssue with consumer linux adoption is the fact there is no one standard platform! If Intel and other heavyweights threw their weight into a standard Ubuntu platform, then hardware makers would finally get around to making linux-compatible drivers for everything.
post #23 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by mechengit View Post

If Apple did what this news claims, it would be a tragedy. It's like saying that only Apple is allowed to use GUI interface while other operating system can only use text command. This is definitely a drawback for innovation.

No it's not, thats a terrible analogy. It all really depends on who has what patents, and all the prior art related to multitouch. Perhaps it only applies to a multi-touch display interface on a mobile device, or even just specific gestures which will be ruled as patentable... Basically, no one really knows much until the court process works it out..
post #24 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by floccus View Post

Wonder if Apple would have extended the same courtesy to Palm about the patent heads up if they were as cozy as they are with Google. Apple and Google serve each other best as separate entities to challange Microsoft and others. Sure they have overlapping ideas/products at times, but the partnership is mutually beneficial at the moment. Apple and Palm and have nothing to gain from each other aside from taking market share from Microsoft, and Google probably will get less preferntial developer treatment from Palm.

And does Palm still have the financial resources to hope they win (or at least don't outright lose) any litigation over multi-touch? Their market cap is roughly 800M right now, they may have to play it safe, license multi-touch gesturing, and hope they can outcompete Windows Mobile based phones.

Both Apple and Google have become giant, wealthy companies. Palm was never a big company, and never a wealthy one.

While both Apple and Google work crossways on some things, which is to be expected, they do have things in common, and as large companies, an alliance is useful.

Palm has little to offer either.

Of course, Palm does have patents that Apple, and others are violating, which would make it difficult to squeeze them.

Palm did get another round of financing of $100 million, but these days, that's not much, and will just be enough to keep them on their feet if the Pre takes off. Otherwise, they could be finished by the end of 2009, or the latest, 2010..
post #25 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by mechengit View Post

If Apple did what this news claims, it would be a tragedy. It's like saying that only Apple is allowed to use GUI interface while other operating system can only use text command. This is definitely a drawback for innovation.

No it's not. It's only a drawback for those who have no new ideas.
post #26 of 53
You do know that multi-touch isn't new, nor created by Apple.
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post

No it's not. It's only a drawback for those who have no new ideas.
post #27 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by BlackSummerNight View Post

You do know that multi-touch isn't new, nor created by Apple.

Some of the concepts were here before. That's generally not enough. Computers were invented long before they became practical, so what?

Apple is the company that's taken it and did something useful with it other than for a very few multi ten thousand dollar speciality items. Also, Apple owns the company that did most of the major work on Multitouch, so you'd be mostly wrong there.

If other companies simply copy this work, for the next ten years, there won't be anything really new to come out. But this gives others incentive to figure out ways around it, which is what patents are all about.

Besides, anyone who thinks that Apple owns Multitouch isn't getting it. Apple owns a subset of Multitouch, and has the ownership of the name, but that's all.

Other smart people can read patents, and see where Apple hasn't gotten a lock.

We don't even know, this early, if Multitouch will work out so well. I find a double tap on the iPhone to be better, more often, than a pinch or spreading motion. It goes both ways.
post #28 of 53
There's a lot of ifs and mays in this article.

On the other hand, I still don't understand Google's smartphone strategy. Why allow the first device to be so ugly? Why release the software before it's complete? First impressions count.

And why not add multi-touch if you're trying to be a serious competitor? I know that they've spent a lot of money on Android and will continue to give away free support to anyone who wants to make an Android phone. Why sink $100mil a year into this project if you're not going to release a killer product?
post #29 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by RichL View Post

There's a lot of ifs and mays in this article.

On the other hand, I still don't understand Google's smartphone strategy. Why allow the first device to be so ugly? Why release the software before it's complete? First impressions count.

And why not add multi-touch if you're trying to be a serious competitor? I know that they've spent a lot of money on Android and will continue to give away free support to anyone who wants to make an Android phone. Why sink $100mil a year into this project if you're not going to release a killer product?

.

Multitouch wasn't added because of the fear of Apple's patents, and because the companies are close.

Ugly is in the eye of the beholder as the old expression goes. Besides, thats HTC's problem.

As far as getting it out with bugs, the Storm came out with many bugs, some of which are still not resolved.

When you deal with partners with schedules you sometimes have to meet a date. The phone was pushed back as it is. They had to get it out for the holidays. Same thing for the Storm. It was pushed back, but holiday season is very important.

You may as well ask why MobileMe was released from Apple with so many bugs. Same reason!

The biggest problem Android will have is that with all the phone makers and carriers out there wanting to make a unique phone, the platform will break up into different fiefs. Each one will have different screens, different power processors, different keyboards, controls, etc.

How will programmers decide to do their programs? Will a program that's written for a high end phone work when dumbed down for a lower end model? Will it work at all. Will there have to be several versions?

This is the problem with Google's freeform concept for the platform.

Google wants to drive users onto its network of programs and sites.
post #30 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by webhead View Post

“IP” meant “Intellectual Property” in this case, but I’m sure you were being sarcastic.

Nope, my comment didn't have any sarcasm in it. If Palm was messing with that IP belonging to Apple, they really would be in serious legal trouble. Now, if you read the post that I was quoting, there's your sarcasm!
post #31 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post

Some of the concepts were here before. That's generally not enough. Computers were invented long before they became practical, so what?

Apple is the company that's taken it and did something useful with it other than for a very few multi ten thousand dollar speciality items. Also, Apple owns the company that did most of the major work on Multitouch, so you'd be mostly wrong there.

If other companies simply copy this work, for the next ten years, there won't be anything really new to come out. But this gives others incentive to figure out ways around it, which is what patents are all about.

Besides, anyone who thinks that Apple owns Multitouch isn't getting it. Apple owns a subset of Multitouch, and has the ownership of the name, but that's all.

Other smart people can read patents, and see where Apple hasn't gotten a lock.

We don't even know, this early, if Multitouch will work out so well. I find a double tap on the iPhone to be better, more often, than a pinch or spreading motion. It goes both ways.

Excellent, and sober, observations, Mel.
post #32 of 53
LG which recently passed Motorola to become the world's 3rd largest seller of phones is launching the KM900 with capacitive touchscreen and multitouch.

Of course they have experience with capacitive screens dating back to the Prada.

Details have leaked of the Samsung i8910 which is Symbian based capacitive touchscreen.

Nokia has launched the 5800XM and will soon launch the N97.

These phone's represent a far larger threat to Apple's market share than Android or Palm.

Especially outside the US.
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post #33 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by winterspan View Post

No it's not, thats a terrible analogy. It all really depends on who has what patents, and all the prior art related to multitouch. Perhaps it only applies to a multi-touch display interface on a mobile device, or even just specific gestures which will be ruled as patentable... Basically, no one really knows much until the court process works it out..

You're totally out of scope of what I'm saying. Obviously I'm saying IF Apple's intention is to stop any device that resembles any sort of multi-touch concept, that's an act of stopping innovation. That's the point of my analogy. IF Apple succeed in doing this, I don't think we would have a better world. Just imagine what the world would be like if only Mac is allowed to use GUI.

It's not my interest or intention to discuss how competitors can workaround Apple's patent or to discuss if it is possible for Apple to ban any sort of multi-touch concept on competitor's device or not. Only a smart ass would try to break down the analogy by applying it to what it wasn't intended for.
post #34 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post

No it's not. It's only a drawback for those who have no new ideas.

You are too naive and optimistic about the patent system we have today. There are times and times when those who have no new ideas get the benefits out of the patent system.
post #35 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by hill60 View Post

LG which recently passed Motorola to become the world's 3rd largest seller of phones is launching the KM900 with capacitive touchscreen and multitouch.

Of course they have experience with capacitive screens dating back to the Prada.

Details have leaked of the Samsung i8910 which is Symbian based capacitive touchscreen.

Nokia has launched the 5800XM and will soon launch the N97.

These phone's represent a far larger threat to Apple's market share than Android or Palm.

Especially outside the US.

A review of the 5800:

http://www.osnews.com/story/20923/Re...00_XpressMusic
post #36 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by mechengit View Post

You are too naive and optimistic about the patent system we have today. There are times and times when those who have no new ideas get the benefits out of the patent system.

I'm not naive about it at all. One of my companies got a couple of dozen patents while I was a partner there, before we sold it. The founder of the company had been the head of R&D of Royal Typewriter, and had over 40 patents of his own. I'm very familiar with patents, what they're for, and how difficult it can be to get one. I've also seen many of them have workarounds that were exploited by others.
post #37 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post

A review of the 5800:

http://www.osnews.com/story/20923/Re...00_XpressMusic

I see the 5800 as Nokia's beta test unit sold cheaply so they can iron out the bugs before the release of the N97.

The big movers are the Koreans, Samsung is hungry to be number one and they are releasing a multitude of phone's using Winmo, Symbian and their own proprietry OS, unlike Nokia they have been successful in the U.S.
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post #38 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by hill60 View Post

I see the 5800 as Nokia's beta test unit sold cheaply so they can iron out the bugs before the release of the N97.

The big movers are the Koreans, Samsung is hungry to be number one and they are releasing a multitude of phone's using Winmo, Symbian and their own proprietry OS, unlike Nokia they have been successful in the U.S.

One thing about the N97 is odd. I saw an ad for it here in NYC from J&R, a big electronics and music retailer, months ago. It was offered at some outrageous price. $849 or something.

When I bought my i300 Palmphone, Samsung was a bit player in the market, with a 5% share. they've come a long way. But their phones are well made.
post #39 of 53
error
post #40 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post

One thing about the N97 is odd. I saw an ad for it here in NYC from J&R, a big electronics and music retailer, months ago. It was offered at some outrageous price. $849 or something.

Huh? How was it being offered for $849 when it's not due out for a couple of months?

Anyway, the 'outrageous' price tag is because that's an unlocked SIM free price. Remember, the iPhone sells unlocked for roughly $850 in France.

Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross

A review of the 5800:

http://www.osnews.com/story/20923/Re...00_XpressMusic

What someone who lives in California thinks is pretty much irrelevant. The reviews from Europe and Asia have been positive.
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