Elan Microelectronics Shows Off Android Multi-touch Capabilities
Article by George Norman
On 16 Apr 2009
The Google developed open source Android operating system has the capability to support multi-touch functionality (it is even present in the Android source code) but the simple truth of the matter is that you, the end user, cannot use it. Why? Because the patented technology belongs to apple and they are using it with the iPhone and iPod Touch; and Google does not want to touch the issue (the pun was intentional).

Google may not be willing to take on Apple, but Elan Microelectronics sure is. As previously reported, ElanTech Devices Corporation, subsidiary of Elan Microelectronics, is taking Apple to court over touch-sensor-related technologies – as in the technology that can detect the position of your finger on a touchpad or touchscreen. According to spokesperson Dennis Liu, Apple is currently infringing Elan’s pattern and since the two companies could not come to an agreement in the matter by means of negotiation, the issue had to be take to court.


ElanTech has now taken things one step further: a video showcasing the use of multi-touch technology on an Android powered G1 has been posted online - you can view it here. As you can see, you can use your finger to do pretty much the same things iPhone users are capable of doing: zoom in and zoom out, scroll, type, and so on, just by touching the device’s screen. As you may have also noticed, the technology has been dubbed by the Elan Microelectronics Corporation as eFinger®. It may be just me, I am more of a suspicious type, but I’m guessing ElanTech is giving Apple the eFinger. And why shouldn’t they? This is not the first time that ElanTech entered a lawsuit regarding its patented multi-touch technology, and it is not the first time it won either.

For now, we are only left with high hopes that at some point in the future the Android-powered G1 will have multi-touch functionality just like the iPhone does.

Tags: ElanTEch, Elan Microelectronics, Google, Android, Multi-touch, Apple, iPhone
About the author: George Norman
George is a news editor.
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