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back to article Google axed Android multitouch at Apple's request?

It seems there's a reason that T-Mobile's new G1 touch-screen smartphone doesn't have a multitouch display: Google doesn't want to upset Apple. Google - maker of the Android operating system used by the G1 - is cozily in bed with the Cupertino Fruit Company in a number of areas, from iPhone and iPod mapping capabilities to …

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Stop

I call bullshit

While Apple might have made a deal with Google. I very much doubt that "unnamed source" would have been privy to the details of the agreement. Anyone that has worked with Apple knows how tight the information flow is and I very much doubt that more than a handful of very trusted people would know the actual story. The Google people that deal with Apple will know to respect that secrecy too and would present it internally as an independent Google position rather than some deal struck with Apple.

If there is indeed an "unnamed source", as opposed to a journalist's fabrication designed to give credibility to a speculation, then "unnamed source" is most likely a delusional character off the streets with a desire for 15 seconds of anonymous fame.

It makes sense for Google to drop multitouch:

* The threat of litigation could reduce the desire for Android amongst handset vendors. Don't want to threaten uptake.

* The desire to keep a consistent look and feel across platforms so that all apps work the same regardless of multi-touch or not. Having some platforms and apps support multitouch would fragment the experience somewhat.

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IR
Unhappy

Almost

Almost worth becoming a patent troll, given how you can patent any obvious next improvement in technology and have half a chance of winning.

Anyone got a patent for controlling electronic devices using brain waves, eye movements, etc?

I'm guessing that patents are the reason why no one makes tissue boxes that fit in the cup holders of a car.

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Jobs Horns

People wonder why Google is no longer about "do no evil"

they are in bed with the evil fruit merchant. Oy vey!

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Go

Just open source it...

Don't copy the code (clearly that would be illegal!), but you can't keep a good, or obvious, idea down once the means of implementing it are readily available and accessible. Write the code, then release it in to the wild so anyone can do what they like with it. Apple can sue who they like, but in the end they've got a business to run and better things to do than take on the rest of the world.

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Anonymous Coward

Who cares...

It is an open platform. Just because Google did not implement it, does mean that it isn't going to end up there. Someone will put the time in.

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Untrue

G1 is and always was multitouch capable - and doesn't infringe the Apple patents at all according to Synaptics who have several similar surfaces in development with a number of manufacturers not just this. Google had very little involvement or say in the development of the device.

Sticking with the ST driver was more to do with usability and the rush to get the G1 out with what was basically a Beta version of the OS.

There have been unofficial MT synaptics drivers floating around for G1 since at least November last year - not for granny or the faint of heart, but that's kind of the nature of Android right now .

Even if the Patent stands up (and how can it, given the volume of prior art and masses of multitouch patents from the 80's) its only going to effect what is shipped, not what I choose to install or write myself since Google, unlike Apple, have absolutely no control over that.

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Stop

Multitouch Invented by Apple?

Have they not used Multi touch Displays in movies for years? The Matrix, Minority Report etc....

Would this not count as prior art?

I assume Apple own the pattent to normal touch screen technology? If not how can they pattent a variation on somone else technology?

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Flame

Another fine example...

...of how Software Patents are just plain retarded. I always thought one of the requirements for patent protection was that the "technology" wasn't obvious. How is this not obvious?

I'll bet half the people in this comments section envisaged this technology a decade ago at least, I know I did. It's so bleedin' obvious it would never have crossed my mind to knock up a demo and file a patent. Besides I don't have the 10s of thousands of pounds you need to get a patent and if I did I wouldn't have risked it trying to patent something I'm pretty sure CAN'T be patented.

This kind of stuff makes a mockery of the whole rationale for patents i.e. to counter first mover disadvantage and thereby encourage innovation in a situation where R&D costs are prohibitive.

This is clearly the case in fields like drug development and microprocessor design where you can't develop anything for under $500M but it makes no sense in software where the cost of development is hiring a couple of grad students who already did it for their thesis.

Gah!

Roger Heathcote.

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Ha

Open Source OS, handset that has some form of detecting-multiple-touches.

Some programming.

Oh look, Apple can go fornicate itself with a rusty spade. If basics like the mouse had been patented and protected then where would we be today? Fucked, that's where. They made something cool and made money out of it, now they want to keep it, well, that makes you look greedy.

http://www.theonion.com/content/video/apple_introduces_revolutionary

You chose money over kudos, you'll run out of ideas with which to charge excessive amounts and then you will wither, Apple. How long before you think smaller/thinner and more Gb will sell?

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variations

Patenting variations on someone else's patent is *precisely* what you do. That's the whole idea of patents. They're supposed to encourage innovation by forcing you to disclose sufficient details about how something works that someone else can take that idea and improve on it. You get to protect your variation, while paying license fees to the holder of the original patent. Or, if they like your improvement, perhaps you'll come to a mutual cross licensing agreement.

Whether this all works in practice is another matter, but that's certainly the theory behind patents.

As to Apple's patent, I haven't read it so I don't know precisely what it is they're claiming. It's presumably a specific *application* of the technology, rather the multi-touch per se.

And as for whether it's obvious or not, I don't know. Computer track pads have been around for ages but just as a replacement for a mouse on laptops. I never saw one that uses one finger for moving the pointer, two fingers together for scrolling before the Mac Book. It's an *incredibly* simple and elegant and intuitive way of doing things, and whoever thought of it first certainly deserves kudos for the idea. The best ideas are the one where everyone thinks it's obvious *afterwards*.

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Boffin

@Martin Lyne

The mouse was patented - thirty to forty years before it came into common use.

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Linux

Multitouch

Ok, its _the_ reason to get a mac laptop and having used one, I'd love to have my own.

However, touchscreens and trackpads have been around for ages. I've seen laptops where different parts of the trackpad had different functions, so I'm not sure that being able to touch two or more places at the same time (while being an excellent development) qualifies as a significant enough innovation to warrant patent protection - it really is just more of the same, similar to putting multiple cpu cores on one chip.

Of course, I may be biased because I'd really like my linux systems to have them - even the desktops.

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Go

Open Source...

If the hardware is capable of it, and the sourcecode to the OS is available, then what's to stop a third party from implementing it?

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Linux

Multitouch

I wouldn't be too worried about this, I have MT on my G1, it's just a matter of time until all the bugs are ironed out and third party applications support it.

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al
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Paris Hilton

Multitouch prior-art was already in public domain

much b4 the launch of any apple multi-touch product or patent;

Paris demo'd the original multi-touch in her home video.

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So

Apple are protecting the one thing that makes their precious iPhone any good?

Where's the surprise in that?

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Yet again

A company is stifling innovation in a market to protect its own position.

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Silver badge

Put together a retarded patent system, a patent whore (Apple, that is) and...

...you got a disaster, period.

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