Will Google Bring Multitouch To Android Phones Beyond Nexus One?8:00 AM EST Thu. Feb. 04, 2010
Google has added multitouch capability to its Nexus One: a pinch-to-zoom capability for Nexus One's browser, photo galleries and maps application. But if Google is so gung-ho about expanding the profile of Android phones in general, why is it only upgrading Nexus One, and not other Android handsets like the Motorola Droid and T-Mobile G1?
A lack of multitouch probably isn't a huge hindrance for Motorola Droid, T-Mobile G1 and other users of older model Android phones. But the argument that Google is favoring its proprietary handset -- subject of numerous user complaints since its early January debut -- over other Android-based smartphones certainly isn't going to go away if Google doesn't improve mobiles other than Nexus One with the same features and at the same pace.
The multitouch capability was among several updates Google made to the Nexus One on Wednesday. According to Google, which sent an over-the-air software upgrade to Nexus One users, the smartphone now has better 3G connectivity and an updated version of Google Maps, 3.4, that includes the ability to display items synched with maps.google.com.
It's multitouch that gathered the most interest on Wednesday, however -- not least because it gives Google another feature comparable to Apple's touch-screen iPhone, but also because of the fragmented way Google is choosing to update various Android phones.
A number of Android and Nexus One observers have in past weeks questioned Google's ability to build the Android community -- especially where attracting developers are concerned -- if there are many different Android phones all running different versions of Android and requiring different upgrades. The Nexus One runs version 2.1, for example, while the Motorola Droid runs 2.0, and the HTC Droid Eris and other Android handsets run 1.5.
Updates to software are another of the headaches Google must contend with now that it's entered full-bore into sales of smartphones. How it upgrades various features on various phones running various versions of Android will say a lot about how effectively it can help grow the Android community going forward.