Google Android Donut Release Won't Bring Multitouch To Smartphones After All

Google has released a major update to its Android platform, nicknamed Donut, and destined for the developing community and a precursor of a full fledged 2.0 update.

Contrary to rumours, Donut isn't either Android 2.0 not does it comes with Multitouch functionality, the single most important distinction between Android and Apple's iPhone platform.

Donut is a development branch which AndroidGuys describes as "a chunk of newly developed test code, patches and other tweaks". This branch can be converted into version 2.0 at any time, depending on Google's plans.

Android framework engineer, Romain Guy, had to intervene succinctly to squash any rumours after some people suggested that HTC Hero had multi touch capabilities (at least according to Orange's specs page).

But Donut will bring a slew of much lauded features; CDMA support, universal search (like the iPhone's or Google Desktop Search), text to speech, WPA enterprise Wifi encryption, a redesigned camera app, support for VPN and automated backups plus gesture support.

Most recent smartphones like the Nokia 5800 Xpressmusic or the TG01 already have multi touch functionality built in natively which means that any platform could in theory take advantage of the smartphone's hardware.

Our Comments

Apple has already patented gestures like pinch and zoom as well as rotation. The company has been sued by EMC over multitouch although some argue that something as elementary as touching a screen cannot/should not be patented. That said, the Pre and indeed HTC already have multi-touch capabilities but in the case of the later, not natively in the OS.

Related Links

HTC Hero has multi-touch. SDK support?

Android team member says Donut isn't 2.0, doesn't have multitouch

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Donut details continue: It’s not OS 2.0 and there’s no Multitouch, says official dev

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Google Gives Android Developers a Donut