Print 31 comment(s) - last by Mojo the Monke.. on Feb 4 at 1:44 PM

Android finally gets multi-touch in the U.S.

Google launched the Nexus One smartphone with much fanfare from the online community. The phone generated a lot of buzz leading up to its launch and was billed as the latest "iPhone Killer" -- a title that was also bestowed upon the Motorola Droid.

The Nexus One offers a blazing fast 1 GHz Snapdragon processor, a gorgeous 480x800 AMOLED 3.7" display, and runs Google's Android 2.1 operating system. For all of its pluses, there have been a few niggling issues that have annoyed users right from the start.

There were early reports of 3G connectivity issues with the device on T-Mobile's network. Users were complaining of the smartphone hopping from 2G to 3G sporadically and in some cases, users were reporting that 3G was not active at all on the phone.

Another problem that bugged users familiar with other popular smartphones like the iPhone and Palm Pre was the lack of multi-touch support. This feature omission was made even more glaring by the fact that Android phones available overseas were being sold with multi-touch enabled.

Today, Google is righting the wrongs of the Nexus One by providing an OTA update that not only fixes the 3G connectivity issues, but also adds multi-touch support as well. "Pinch-to-zoom" functionality is now enabled in the Maps, Gallery, and Browser apps. The Google Goggles app has now also been added to the phone along with an updated Maps program (version 3.4).

"In order to access the update, you will receive a message on your phone's notification bar. Just download the update, wait for it to install, and you should be all set," read a posting on the Google Nexus One blog. "This update will be rolled out gradually to phones - and most users might not receive the notification until the end of the week. We hope you enjoy these new features and look forward to your feedback."

Comments     Threshold

This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled

and now
By Gul Westfale on 2/2/2010 7:30:04 PM , Rating: 3
watch the appletards tell you why their multitouch is, like, you know, omg, so much better, like.

RE: and now
By scrapsma54 on 2/2/2010 8:13:52 PM , Rating: 5
If Multi-touch really serves no purpose other than a fancy zoom function on a phone, is it really that big of a deal? I can understand multi-touch on Microsoft surface (who came out with the concept first).
Patents on my finger motions are like putting a patent on jumping jacks.

RE: and now
By inighthawki on 2/2/2010 8:24:27 PM , Rating: 2
I agree with the idea that it really doesn't serve much of a purpose, but why not add something that has pretty much become standard? It's clearly not difficult to add in as MS, Apple, Google, and countless others have now shown, so there's not much reason NOT to.

RE: and now
By quiksilvr on 2/3/2010 1:31:46 AM , Rating: 2
I agree to an extent. Yes, there is an effective single touch way to zoom, however its much MUCH easier to simply pinch zoom with two fingers.

For instance, you can zoom in to a page and then scroll around to what you want to see, or you can PINCH zoom to exactly what you want to see and end up there exactly without having to waste your time dragging your finger along the screen trying to find what you were looking for. I guess if you don't have physical buttons...come to think of it, what else can you really use multitouch for that easily replaces single touch? Rotate? Well you can single click that. Scroll? Single click.

So yeah, zooming and gaming if you don't have physical buttons. Mulitouch isn't as essential as like, you know, MMS, copying and pasting and flash support (and multitasking, and microSD expansion, and flash on your camera) but it doesn't make sense not to have it.

RE: and now
By piroroadkill on 2/3/2010 3:34:16 AM , Rating: 4
Multitouch really is kind of a gimmick. Screen space is taken up by zoom buttons, but single tapping a zoom button is something you can do with one hand. Pinch to zoom is awkward with one hand (I do have a multitouch, pinch to zoom capable browser on my handset)

RE: and now
By bplewis24 on 2/3/2010 3:43:51 PM , Rating: 2
I disagree with you somewhat. I personally feel that there's no reason to not have multi-touch (as long as single-touch double-tap zoom still works), but I indeed feel that single-touch double-tap is much easier and ergonomically efficient. I would much rather double tap to zoom than reposition my normal holding style, bring up the thumb (for multi-touch) and then try and use two fingers to do what can be done with one.

And a lot of your point rests upon the idea that you can only zoom into a pre-determined spot and then have to scroll down to the point you wanted to zoom into. However, on my Droid, it zooms to whatever point I double-tapped.


RE: and now
By amanojaku on 2/3/2010 1:18:50 AM , Rating: 3
Neither Microsoft nor Apple created multi-touch. Perverts are the pioneers of "gestures"; computer companies just figured out a non-sexual use for it.

RE: and now
By Solandri on 2/3/2010 2:48:21 AM , Rating: 2
If Multi-touch really serves no purpose other than a fancy zoom function on a phone, is it really that big of a deal?

It probably helps with typing on a virtual keyboard as well. Without it, you have to lift your finger off the previous key before you can touch the next one. Otherwise the device is liable to get confused.

RE: and now
By Marlonsm on 2/3/2010 6:16:39 AM , Rating: 2
Remember that the only feature missing was the pinch-to-zoom, all other kinds of multi-touch were already present, it's just that nobody cares about the others.

RE: and now
By acase on 2/3/2010 9:46:40 AM , Rating: 2
In all fairness some people really should be legally bound to not do jumping jacks in public.

RE: and now
By mrhunter9 on 2/2/2010 8:16:26 PM , Rating: 2
I do love my iPhone, but I may get this now that Google has fixed the problems the N1 has had. I hate having to use AT&T.

RE: and now
By Gzus666 on 2/2/2010 8:47:37 PM , Rating: 2
I just got my N1 today in fact, that thing is amazing looking. I was set back at how great it feels and looks (screen and phone). This is just icing on an already nice cake. I almost see no point in rooting at this point except maybe to do Cisco IPSec VPN and overclock/underclocking.

By fic2 on 2/2/2010 8:47:39 PM , Rating: 3
Man, it took them nearly a month to finally get Multi-touch out.

By Brandon Hill on 2/2/2010 8:52:58 PM , Rating: 2
How long has Android been out? How many Android phones in the U.S. have official multi-touch support?

People have been bitchin' about multi-touch on Android phones for a loooooong time.

By Alexvrb on 2/2/2010 8:57:03 PM , Rating: 2
How long did Apple take to get MMS, a feature that even outdated dumbphones had (to varying degrees)?

By Brandon Hill on 2/2/2010 9:00:22 PM , Rating: 2
I'm not disagreeing with you at all on that one (or copy and paste for that matter). I'm just saying multi-touch has been an oft-requested feature for Android phones.

By tjr508 on 2/2/2010 10:58:42 PM , Rating: 2
Copy/paste ruined the iPhone. I have used it once in 6 months while it has gotten in the way of me editing text at least 1000 times.

By Mojo the Monkey on 2/4/2010 1:44:33 PM , Rating: 2
I think that, more than anything, google just felt the timing was right to test the IP waters. It was never a support feature, but a "how likely are we to lose $X million in IP litigation defense?"

Perhaps between Palm being defiant, as well as them having more skin in the game with their own phone (well, they're more directly involved) - to gain more potential profits, then the cost-benefit ratio has finally resolved in favor of enabling it.

By judasmachine on 2/2/2010 10:40:07 PM , Rating: 2
My Eris has multi touch, and has since launch. But that's all it has....

By Aloonatic on 2/3/2010 2:39:28 AM , Rating: 2
What's the deal with this multi-touch thing?

Is it true that the Motorola Droid in the States doesn't have multi-touch, yet the European version known as the Milestone does?

Does any of this have anything to do with the Apple multi-touch patent?

By Marlonsm on 2/3/2010 6:18:29 AM , Rating: 2
The Milestone does have pinch-to-zoom.
And yes, I do think it's because of Apple patent. But now that Apple called Google "evil", things are starting to get better.

By KentState on 2/3/2010 7:19:38 AM , Rating: 2
The Google provide apps do not have multi-touch enabled on the Droid. However, the device supports it as you can download apps that have the feature.

Still waiting...
By TheRequiem on 2/2/2010 8:34:06 PM , Rating: 2
For the Supersonic. =)

RE: Still waiting...
By cmdrdredd on 2/2/10, Rating: -1
RE: Still waiting...
By jvillaro on 2/2/2010 10:31:31 PM , Rating: 2
AND is marketed properly

Just so we know. How does this translate into a better phone for the consumer? I mean the other things your said were important, but that last one must be the most important thing. You even used capitol letters for that.

RE: Still waiting...
By wuZheng on 2/2/2010 10:50:23 PM , Rating: 2
... marketed properly.

So... how well the company did to properly identify and advertise to its target market is relevant to how satisfied YOU are with YOUR phone. I see, to each their own... but that sounds more BS than Apple's... well... marketing.

Concerning the iPhone's UI and apps, yes... the UI was very well done, its intuitive, fast, and efficient. With regards to the apps, I like to make an analog to the Wii, proportionally few killer apps compared to the shovelware. Apple's industrial design is also very good, I agree. But IMO, HTC did a pretty good job on the Nexus One's exterior and most of their other android phones, in particular I'd like to point out the Magic/myTouch 3G as an example.

I take issue with the opinion that Apple's UI is absolutely superior though. Apple's products are great because they give the impression of luxury quality to the mass market, and accessible technology to the layman. Android's UI is not any more difficult to pick up and use as compared to iPhone's and offers more control over the device even after the iPhone has been jailbroken (which kinda sucks that you have to do that in the first place, IMHO). Point being, they are basically equivalent products... just that Apple tells you exactly what you can and cannot do with it (again, by original product design only).

For the camera, someone did a review of the iPhone's camera vs. the Nexus One's, the N1's camera was without a doubt superior. You can Google that up yourself. But seriously, did you really think older camera sensor tech would be able to compare to newer tech? Surely not?

So, according to many of bases on which you compare these two products, Android (in specific, the N1) is either equivalent(UI, apps, miscellaneous features) or superior(camera).

Its funny then that your least relevant point in comparing these products as phones is exactly why the N1 isn't doing as well as Google/Android fans have hoped, poor marketing.

So, I guess I have to revise the opening to this, the factor which seems MOST important to YOUR satisfaction with YOUR phone's performance is actually Apple's marketing. Perfectly rational, right?

RE: Still waiting...
By piroroadkill on 2/3/2010 3:35:53 AM , Rating: 2
The Nexus One has a bunch of ram, and thus will be able to multitask properly out of the box

This is good enough alone

Does anyone know
By Drag0nFire on 2/3/2010 9:46:27 AM , Rating: 2
what AMOLED means? Every single article about the Nexus cites the "AMOLED" screen, but I feel like no one can even spell out the acronym, much less know what it means.

A side note, this article doesn't start until the fourth paragraph.

RE: Does anyone know
By acase on 2/3/2010 9:51:48 AM , Rating: 3
By Roffles on 2/3/2010 3:47:41 AM , Rating: 4
The article forgets to mention that the update brings night mode to navigation/maps. This is bigger than pinch-zoom IMO. Can I get a roll call for all the annoyed Droid owners who have used the navigation in their car at night? I can't wait for this to drop on the Moto Droid.

By semiconshawn on 2/3/2010 12:21:29 PM , Rating: 2
I distinctly remember the two finger pinch technology being displayed on HBO. I beleive they called it "Im crushing your head!".

"Google fired a shot heard 'round the world, and now a second American company has answered the call to defend the rights of the Chinese people." -- Rep. Christopher H. Smith (R-N.J.)

Copyright 2016 DailyTech LLC. - RSS Feed | Advertise | About Us | Ethics | FAQ | Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information | Kristopher Kubicki