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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."



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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.

And...uh...games 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.

Brandon


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
quote:
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.


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