Google axed Android multitouch at Apple’s request

February 10, 2009
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Multitouch support was dropped from the Android platform, and therefore the T-Mobile G1, after Apple requested it not be included.  That's the latest rumor, apparently confirmed by an unnamed Android team member, who described the arrangement as an attempt by Google to avoid the IP aggression we've recently seen between Apple and Palm.

While the G1's capacitive touchscreen certainly recognizes multitouch input - as recent hacks have demonstrated - and earlier builds of Android code included what's believed to be Google-written, but subsequently disabled, multitouch support, the functionality did not ship in the released device.  At the time, this was generally put down to Google's ambitious launch schedule, promising an Android device by the end of 2008, and that lack of timing meaning that multitouch fell by the wayside.  However it now looks as though its omission was purposeful, with Google prioritizing their good working relationship with Apple - and, some might say, common foe in Microsoft - over the handset's eventual capabilities.

The unnamed source also confirmed the rumors that Intel is expending great efforts in supporting Android netbook development, suggesting that the chipset company is keen to be further involved in open-source budget ultraportable hardware.  While Intel's specific plans are unknown, the Android team member revealed that there are many different Android-based netbooks - as well as other, non-phone and non-netbook hardware - in development at present.


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