Google axed Android multitouch at Apple’s request

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.

Multitouch hack for T-Mobile G1: Video Demo

While the hardware of the T-Mobile G1 can support multitouch, and the users certainly could deal with it, neither HTC nor Google themselves gave the smartphone the ability to recognize more than one simultaneous touch.  Now that's all changed, thanks to coder Luke Hutchison, who has put together a multitouch hack for the G1.  As you can see in the video demo, the hack adds pinch & spread zooming to the G1's browser, together with maps support, replacing the usual zoom controls. Right now this is more a proof-of-concept than anything else, though it's usable, and needs OpenGL acceleration support and kinetic scrolling (where the page continues scrolling after you "flick" it) before it will go as smoothly as multitouch on the Apple iPhone is.  Installation is not for the faint-hearted, either, requiring a reflash of the G1's hardware and the potential risk of bricking your smartphone. If you're brave, the full instructions are here.  The hacked apps - Browser and MapViewer - also include accelerometer-linked screen rotation, so you can use them in landscape mode without needing to flick out the keyboard.  There's also a photo browser with multitouch support. [youtube][/youtube] [Thanks Simon!]
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