Android's lack of multi-touch due to Apple?

Google's move into the mobile market space gave the consumer another choice for a mobile platform. It's is also no secret that Apple and Google work closely together on products and according to one source Apple told Google to not include multi-touch on its Android platform.

While it would be easy to ignore this "source" there seems to be quite a bit of credibility to the matter. Firstly, the G1 and Android do support multi-touch; if the phone has the hardware and software backing for the technology why wouldn't they include it? The source claims that Apple asked Google to forgo including the technology.

Besides Apple asking Google to not include multi-touch there is also a possible PR disaster waiting to happen. If Apple were to go after Palm for the Pre's multi-touch capabilities then it would have to go after Google as well. Apple and Google are tightly linked together and suing your business partner would not go over well with investors.

The real reason why multi-touch was not included in the G1 will probably be never known. The bigger question is not if, but when, will Google enable the feature for the Android platform and what will Apple do about it?

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13 Comments

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This Apple patent is pathetic. How come a company hold a patent for finger gestures? What about ATMs?
This must be some kind of dubious lobbying.

Now that every company wants an iPhone clone, they should make an even better, different product instead of playing "sue you sue me" games.

So Microsoft should have filed a patent for double click or right-button menus. But they´re not so playboy-nerd Apple style.

Sigh, yes more false information. Apple can sue no one over multi touch. This was proven by Engadget, who state that apple doesn't own a patent for multi touch, but rather a few gestures and effects the iPhone does. Palm can actually sue apple back on some of the stuff they own patents to that the iPhone does. So apple would be wise not to sue anyone lest their prized iPhone looses some cool features or they are forced to pay royalties for them.

Lets just remember apple does not own multi touch as whole. They've patented a single form of it yet others which are patented do exist. Palm Pre multi touch technology cannot be legally removed because apple does not own patent for which the multi touch in the palm pre is powered. It's powered/designed by Cypress Semiconductor who own the patent for which is TrueTouch Multi Touch Gesture Touchscreen controller which Projective Capacitive technology based.

Proof ?

US Patent 6492979 - Dual sensor touchscreen utilizing projective-capacitive and force touch Issued on December 10, 2002

US Patent 6297811 - Projective capacitive touchscreen Issued on October 2, 2001

Issued long before apple even considered the iPhone.

Although the ideas in the Palm Pre and the iphones multi-touch may have some similarities the technologies do not have the same design.

So... Google can really do as they wish. I'd say it's more of a case of lacking first/experimental model would be more appropriate then this fud.

Digix said,
Lets just remember apple does not own multi touch as whole. They've patented a single form of it yet others which are patented do exist. Palm Pre multi touch technology cannot be legally removed because apple does not own patent for which the multi touch in the palm pre is powered. It's powered/designed by Cypress Semiconductor who own the patent for which is TrueTouch Multi Touch Gesture Touchscreen controller which Projective Capacitive technology based.

Proof ?

US Patent 6492979 - Dual sensor touchscreen utilizing projective-capacitive and force touch Issued on December 10, 2002

US Patent 6297811 - Projective capacitive touchscreen Issued on October 2, 2001

Issued long before apple even considered the iPhone.

Although the ideas in the Palm Pre and the iphones multi-touch may have some similarities the technologies do not have the same design.

So... Google can really do as they wish. I'd say it's more of a case of lacking first/experimental model would be more appropriate then this fud.


These only cover single touch. The dual sensors are for error correction in single touch applications so this does not disprove that Apple can still claim a multi touch patent on this.

Lets not forget what Google persona sits on Apple board... but to be honest, multi touch isn't all that, how many iphone users really use 2 fingers for more than 10% of the time?

bdsams said,
it really depends on the app, for Google Maps its invaluable

That is true but my personal taste (and i'm sure many share it) is to always use one hand for any hand held device, multi touch requires the use of both hands.

Not really. Multitouch is primarily used with a thumb and finger, so it can (and is) done with one hand. Look at how any user uses an iPod Touch/iPhone when scaling pics.

Let me point out the reason people use it lots is because thats how you must use those apps. If there was a +/- button and not multi touch - then unsuprisngly you would use that instead.

testman said,
Not really. Multitouch is primarily used with a thumb and finger, so it can (and is) done with one hand. Look at how any user uses an iPod Touch/iPhone when scaling pics.

No you missed my point, you need the second hand to hold the device while another hand doing to multi touch moves.