Android This Week: No Multitouch in Donut; Moto Phone Spied

gigaom_icon_google-androidAndroid may be a young smartphone platform, but it’s clear that Google is developing it on a fast track. Information about the OS has been leaking out continually, and it’s become obvious that new features are being added for future releases. We previously questioned if the next update, dubbed Donut, was going to be version 2.0, but this week the search giant said that’s not the case.

Donut is the current branch of the development tree, and while the next version (2.0) will come from that, it’s not always accurate to map the segments code-named after desserts to version numbers. That sounds pretty nebulous, but the Android development team wasn’t willing to explain it any better. They did admit that version 1.5, previously called “Cupcake,” came mostly from that code tree, but it’s not correct to assume that every branch will be its own OS version. If you’re confused, don’t feel lonely, as we are, too.

It’s been rumored that Donut would enable the use of multitouch gestures to operate the interface. According to demonstrations, even early Android handsets have screens that can handle multitouch operation. Android hasn’t enabled using such gestures, however, and the development team has confirmed that the OS will not allow for multitouch in the foreseeable future. This may be due to the patent that Apple has for multitouch on the iPhone.

Meanwhile, Motorola may be looking to Android to help it regain its handset glory days. A new handset, dubbed “Sholes,” has been spied, and it looks pretty nice. It sports a landscape sliding QWERTY keyboard, but not much is known about it. Sholes may be the first Android phone on the Verizon network in the U.S. It’s expected to be released in October. The name Sholes may be a reference to the inventor of the QWERTY keyboard.

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