Did Google Kill Multitouch for Apple?

The Google Android phone seems a perfect use for multitouch technology. Did Google choose to leave it out at Apple's request?


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Posted February 12, 2009

Andy Patrizio

Did Google kill multitouch in the Android phone at Apple's request? That's the claim by one Web site which sites an unnamed Android team member, but neither company will discuss the matter.

Multitouch features, such as zooming in and out of a map or Web page by using two fingers, is a highlight of Apple's iPhone and was believed to be a feature for the Android G1. At the Google I/O developer conference last year, Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) developers said multitouch wasn't planned, but could conceivably be added with the right software.

In fact, an enterprising programmer named Luke Hutchinson did just that, hacking his own multitouch functionality onto an Android and posting a video demo of it to his blog.

But Android shipped without multitouch, and Venture Beat thinks a gentleman's agreement was struck between the two.

Google declined to comment and Apple did not return a request for comment by InternetNews.com. Maribel Lopez, founder of Lopez Research, which follows the mobile industry, thinks it's simply a case of two friendly companies coming to an agreement.

"It's clear Apple will be a player in the marketplace. As a result of that, I would think you'd want to tread lightly when you have a relationship that's working well," she told InternetNews.com. "Android is about exposure for the product to do search and targeted local ads. You don't want to do anything to exclude yourself from being a part of one of the major platforms."

A handshake agreement?

In this litigious world we live in, a handshake agreement is almost unheard of, but Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) and Google have some common ground. For starters, Google CEO Eric Schmidt is on the Apple board of directors. Google apps all run on the iPhone with specially formatted pages for the iPhone. And both companies compete fiercely with Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT).

Most conveniently, an iPhone upgrade added the ability to do Google searches in Safari without having to manually load Google.com. With the 2.2 firmware upgrade last September, a Google search box became a part of the Safari interface. The default search engine can be changed in the iPhone settings to Yahoo but no others.

This article was first published on InternetNews.com.

Tags: Google, Android, Microsoft, iPhone, Safari

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