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 (s goog) 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 (s aapl) has for multitouch on the iPhone.

Meanwhile, Motorola (s mot) 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 (s vz) 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.


A.B. Dada

I’m definitely an Android fan, using two devices currently.

On my G1 (T-Mobile branded, of course), I have tried all the various ROMs from XDAD, currently running JesusFreke 1.51.

I love my phone. I’m using it now in Central America on a trip, used it successfully in Europe and SW Asia, and love it in the States in MOST cities, especially WiFi “tethered” with my Cradlepoint and Sprint/AT&T 3G devices.

The downside? Lag. I can’t stand lag. I hate the iPhone (no hard keyboard), but the Android developers (including third party app developers) have to do something about the lag.

The other downside? No real memory/application management. I run Meebo logged into ALL my IM clients (including 5 Google Talk clients) and it shuts down if I switch to email and my web browser for a split second. Sure, Meebo logs itself right back in, but I lose whatever active chats I’m working through. As an entrepreneur, it’s important for me to communicate with my various employed individuals, suppliers, clients, etc. But since Android doesn’t let me prioritize application threads (“Don’t shut this one down, don’t put this one to sleep, close this one if needed”), it’s a big fail.

Still, I can’t wait for an Android tablet, especially one with a great hard keyboard or at least a workable OSK. We’ll see if that ever happens.

I do miss my Newton MessagePad days, even though connectivity was hardwired through a modem and not mobile broadband. Apple could have a saving grace with me if they release an iPhone tablet, but I still prefer the Android SDK and market to the Apple iSDK and market.

We’ll see.

Let’s fix the lag and application management/prioritization issues, Google, and you’ll be conquering in 2011.

Dave Michels

I have one objection this article: the first sentence: “but it’s clear that Google is developing it on a fast track.”

Fast track?

This is a painfully slow track. The first phone, the G1, came on the market last October. Since then, only one other phone (on the same carrier even) has been released. There has been only one Android update (Cupcake). Conversely, Apple released their third generation phone months ago, and had only a slight headstart. They are also available worldwide and hold a dominant position. Even Palm managed to make big progress with their Pre.

Android in the US remains only available on one carrier with only two phones with only one update. That’s what you call a “fast track”?


i dont like doing this but a small mistake here: ‘looking to Android’ should be ‘looking at android’

as for sholes … Hope motorola can do better than HTC Hero. Good processing power i mean …


Not a thing wrong with the use of ‘to’ in reference to android.

When I can transfer files using Bluetooth, then I will be happier with myTouch / android.

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