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

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 2014
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.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 52
    vandilvandil Posts: 187member
    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.
  • Reply 2 of 52
    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.
  • Reply 3 of 52
    crebcreb Posts: 276member
    Google will eventually purchase Apple.
  • Reply 4 of 52
    Come on Palm, hurry up and start the war with Apple. Please.
  • Reply 5 of 52
    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).
  • Reply 6 of 52
    nasseraenasserae Posts: 3,157member
    Google goal is not to take over the market with Android, they just want people to have spend more time on the internet/Google.
  • Reply 7 of 52
    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).



  • Reply 8 of 52
    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.
  • Reply 9 of 52
    foo2foo2 Posts: 1,077member
    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.
  • Reply 10 of 52
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by CREB View Post


    Google will eventually purchase Apple.



    I think you have that backwards!
  • Reply 11 of 52
    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
  • Reply 12 of 52
    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.
  • Reply 13 of 52
    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').
  • Reply 14 of 52
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,743member
    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.
  • Reply 15 of 52
    cubertcubert Posts: 728member
    "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?!?

  • Reply 16 of 52
    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.
  • Reply 17 of 52
    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.
  • Reply 18 of 52
    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 I?m sure you were being sarcastic.
  • Reply 19 of 52
    samabsamab Posts: 1,953member
    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.
  • Reply 20 of 52
    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.
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