Multi-touch left out of Android by Apple’s request? | iLounge News


Multi-touch left out of Android by Apple’s request?

Google decided against implementing multi-touch in its mobile device operating system Android after Apple requested they refrain from using the technology, according to a new report. VentureBeat, citing a member of the Android team, says the search giant acquiesced to Apple’s request in order to avoid putting strain on the relationship between the two companies; it is unknown whether the threat of legal action relating to iPhone patents also played a role in the decision. Google has been a leading partner of Apple’s in recent iPhone and Mac software releases, providing the backend for the iPhone’s Maps application and the Places functionality of iPhoto ‘09, as well as releasing iPhone apps of its own, one of which openly violated App Store rules but has been allowed anyway. In addition, Google CEO Eric Schmidt is on Apple’s board of directors. Interestingly, recent demonstrations by Android developers have shown that the hardware of the T-Mobile G1, the first Android-based phone, is indeed capable of handling multi-touch, meaning the decision against implementation was made in software instead of hardware.

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One thing to remember is that the software is designed to work with multiple hardware handsets.  Thus while the HTC phone might have the ability to do multi-touch, Google can’t depend on other handsets that the OS will be expected to run on supporting it.  Thus there’s no real reason to sink time and energy into developing multi-touch software if it’s not going to run on the majority of handsets that the OS will be used with.

Of course unnamed sources quoted by a company called VentureBeat are probably in no way unreliable.

Posted by Jeffery Simpson on February 10, 2009 at 2:40 PM (CST)

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