Google’s rebadged HTC ‘Nexus One’ gets ‘multi-touch’

Apple Online Store “Google is finally letting the Nexus One use multi-touch for maps, photo galleries and the Web, but that’s of little consolation to owners of Motorola’s Droid and T-Mobile’s G1,” Jared Newman reports for PCWorld.

“Don’t get me wrong, it’s great that at least one more Android phone is getting pinch-to-zoom gestures, and it’s never been clear why certain phones don’t include the feature,” Newman reports. “Rumor has it Apple requested that Google avoid multi-touch back when the companies were cozy, but Google may no longer want to comply now that the relationship has soured.”

“We don’t know the terms of the arrangement — or whether it actually exists – so it’s unclear whether Google could ever add multi-touch to older phones,” Newman reports. “For all we know, there may be issues with the Droid and G1 that preclude Google from releasing a simple update, regardless of whether Apple’s involved.”

Newman reports, “Whatever the reason may be, the Droid and the G1 lack multi-touch for core Android apps, even though the hardware in both phones supports multi-touch gestures… The Droid’s and G1’s missing multi-touch is an argument against Android’s fragmentation. Android phones aren’t all on the same page, with different hardware, user interfaces and versions of the operating system.”

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Multi-Touch™ is a trademark of Apple Inc. Google’s Nexus One News and Updates page states among the update’s features list: “Pinch-to-zoom functionality: devices will now include a new pinch-to-zoom mechanism in the phone’s Browser, Gallery and Maps applications.” Google quite noticeably does not use the trademarked term “multi-touch.” of ocurse, it goes without saying that Multi-Touch on iPhone is much more than just “pinch-to-zoom.”

Now, beyond trademarks, what about patents? Are the following statements just empty words or will Apple finally move to protect their IP?

We’ve been pushing the state-of-the-art in every facet of design… We’ve been innovating like crazy for the last few years on this and we’ve filed for over 200 patents for all of the inventions in iPhone. And we intend to protect them.Apple CEO Steve Jobs unveiling iPhone, January 9, 2007

We like competition as long as they don’t rip off our IP, in which case we will go after them. We will not stand for having our IP ripped-off and we will use any weapons at our disposal [to stop it].Apple COO Tim Cook, January 21, 2009

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Brian F.” for the heads up.]


  1. I’m no expert, but I think they have been reluctant to go after Palm which also uses it (from what I have read). Because it will only highlight Palm’s products, and allow Palm to complain, “Oh, poor little me, big Apple is being mean to us.” And Palm’s market penetration was minor so it had minor impact on iPhone sales, and it was also a deterrent for any possible buyer of Palm…

    But this is different, now that the cat is running out of the bag onto Google’s Android. This IS infringement, as far as we laypersons know…

    If it is infringement on their multi touch patents, Apple will have to act sooner or later.

  2. It is inevitable that someone take a charge at Apple’s patents on Multi-touch™. Why not Google?

    And of course Google would lose. Apple has precedence out the ears on touch technology.

    But there are lots of ways to fiddle with things with your fingers. Sorting through the patent minutia could get interesting.

  3. Google bamboozled Apple by being all friendly and reciting “we are not evil” during their tenure at the board…. little did Steve know that in the background they have been sneaky sneaky sneaky…..

  4. Yes, it’s possible Ggle and Apl have made a deal of some sort on multi-touch. Why, though? Does Apl want to allow Ggle to share the smart phone space? To keep all others out? Maybe. Who knows. It’s interesting strategic speculation. Remember, Jobs is reported as saying at the town hall meeting that some divisions at Ggle (Android) want to kill the iPhone, and we won’t let them. It appears Ggle is going all-out to capture this smart-phone market share with its Android. Therefore, why would Apl make a deal with them? The two companies still cooperate on HTML5 support which is in their interest. What would be Apl’s interest to share its IP with Ggle?

  5. The comments following the PC World article referenced are comical at best. Android will certainly find a market as does horse manure as s fertilizer. It is all a matter of what smell you desire. I love most the comments about how dated the iPhone is. Excuse me, but every other phone so far has been a rip off of the iPhone so by association, they are dated coming out of the box. Oh well —

  6. @@the_steenmachine

    my thought was that

    1) aapl is charging goog for their IP
    2) goog still provides maps and YouTube to the iPhone OS, and goog may provide the TBT GPS fuctionality

    I realize that aapl Is trying to disassociate from goog fairly quickly, given all recent acquisitions. But until then, they remain business partners to some degree.

  7. I’m no expert, but I think they have been reluctant to go after Palm which also uses it (from what I have read). Because it will only highlight Palm’s products, and allow Palm to complain, “Oh, poor little me, big Apple is being mean to us.”


    Actually, it has nothing to do with that at all.. The truth is Apple has “borrowed” just as many patented ideas from Palm as Palm has “borrowed” from Apple..

    In fact every single mobile smartphone manufacturer has “borrowed” some sort of patent from another manufacturer.

  8. More rubbish from alleged ‘journalists’, who are never happy unless there is some form of schism to breathlessly exploit.
    There’s absolutely zero evidence that Apple requested Google avoid multi-touch.
    Post hoc ergo propter hoc at its best.

    “…regardless of whether Apple’s involved.”

  9. OT: The Apple Search Engine

    I’m all for competition as it is a driving force of innovation among humans.

    However, Apple would have to come up with something, somehow, better than Google. Any ideas what that would be? Going by Apple’s history with Sherlock and Spotlight, I’m not holding my breath.

    Microsoft have utterly failed to compete with Google three times now. The only reason BoingoOingo got any market share was advertising money and discount promotions, aka lots and lots of $$$$$$$$$. The end. Out of the three biggest contenders, Blonk last in quality results.

    What I do when I want something more than Google can provide is use good old MetaCrawler. ‘Why use one search engine when you can use them all’:

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