Nov 05 AT 4:56 PM Taylor Wimberly 22 Comments

iDont do pinch zoom, but Droid Eris does

Call us completely confused. The Verizon Motorola Droid supports multitouch but does not do pinch zoom in the browser. The Motorola Milestone (European counterpart of the Droid) does do pinch zoom in the browser.

We wanted to know what was up with the lack of pinch zoom for the Droid and got the following response from Motorola:

“Thanks for following up. In regards to pinch and zoom, we work very closely with our carriers and partners to deliver differentiated consumer experiences on our mobile devices. At times, similar devices come to market with different features, depending on the region, carrier preferences and consumer needs.”  – Motorola

The only difference between the Droid and the Milestone is the carrier. This might lead you to believe Verizon is behind the lack of pinch zoom. However, Verizon’s second Android phone, the HTC Droid Eris, does in fact feature pinch zoom.

You can see the pinch zoom of the Eris in a video posted on the Verizon YouTube channel (3:51 mark).

So whose fault is it? Verizon, Motorola, or Google?

  • It can’t be Verizon since they included it on another device.
  • It can’t be Motorola since their European phone has pinch zoom.
  • It can’t be Google because they built multitouch support into Android 2.0.

Does this make sense to anyone? Someone is obviously afraid of Apple’s massive multi-touch patent portfolio. The question is “Who?”

The iPhone Blog has an interesting report on the multi-touch patents.

Taylor is the founder of Android and Me. He resides in Dallas and carries the Samsung Galaxy S 4 and HTC One as his daily devices. Ask him a question on Twitter or Google+ and he is likely to respond. | Ethics statement

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  • Justin Shapcott

    I would say that it is Motorola avoiding the risk legal woes with Apple in the United States.

    • Taylor Wimberly

      So Motorola is scared, but HTC and Palm are not?

      • Clark Wimberly

        Motorola does a lot of things no other company would do…

        • jasonlee

          weird situation, maybe avoiding it at launch to keep the waves from spilling over after the add campaign. after all there is already a law suit over the “map for that” commercial. 2.1 update is my hope but we shall see

          • dg

            You don’t need to wait for an OS update. The underlying OS, Android 2.0, already supports multi-touch. The Android 2.0 SDK has fully documented the necessary API.

            It’s the apps that need to be updated. All it takes is a developer, maybe even Google themselves, to release an app in the Android Market.

            Google did this them-self with the Maps app. They released an updated Map application into the Market when they added Latitude.

  • Lee Casey

    Haha. iDont have balls.

    • jasonlee

      thats pretty obvious by ur statement

  • Rob

    Does Android 2.0 allow the user to change gestures? If it did that would solve this problem of company X being afraid of Apple.

    The double tap to zoom actually sounds more appealing to me but I could imagine since the iPhone does it, that MS video of their tabe, and the movie Minority Report how the pinch could be the default on how to zoom in and out.

  • Justin Shapcott

    Motorola has a lot more to lose, I think.

  • dg

    Apple does not have a patent on pinch to zoom. There are already multiple devices out there and more to come, all in the US, that have pinch to zoom.

    This is not a case of people fearing lawsuits.

    Droid Eris, by HTC, runs the HTC SenseUI. HTC added pinch to zoom to it’s version of Android.

    Droid, by Motorola, is a Google Experience phone running Android 2.0. It must run the stock Android OS. Stock Android does not come with a browser that supports pinch to zoom.

    There is no mythical multi-touch patent. All Apple has is patents on some very specific mutli-touch gestures.

  • Paul

    Or we can just give this issue a rest already. Who said pinch zoom and multitouch were the holy grail of touch screen phones? Droid doesn’t do it. End of discussion. Stop this childish whining.

    • dk

      Seriously, it’s starting to sound like everyone in here just wants an iPhone…it’s not *that* important.

      • http://Website wp

        actually when im trying to slide the screen and I accidently double tap its annoying, so removing that and using multi touch and pinching would eliminate that frustration making the phone more user friendly. just wanted to whine too :)

  • Gottoon

    Just to make everything clear… Multi-touch does work on the VZW Moto Droid and even pinch to zoom on third party apps just not in the current built-in browser. So a simple addition to the browser or in an a third party browser and there you go.

    Honestly it isn’t that huge of a deal when you know the hardware CAN do it but just doesn’t right now.

  • carig

    well if you ask me it was google, motorola really only has authority over the hardware and verizon has absolutely zero reason to want it disabled (unless they’re planning on adding it for a monthly fee :P)

    i think google built in multitouch support so the platform wouldn’t fall behind but just won’t go against apple’s wishes enough to add it to their own apps, sure they have good reason for wanting to stay on good terms with apple but with the palm pre, the zune hd, and even HTC android phones using pinch to zoom i think google is the last one apple will go after.

    why they chose to add it in germany but not here is beyond me, maybe they aren’t afraid of apple enforcing its us patents overseas?

  • Daniel

    Well, the answer is obvious:

    They all (moto, google and verizon) are creating this confusion in an attempt to confuse apple lawyers, and causing them to ask the same question!

    Well done, unfortunately a lot of users are beeing disapointed.

    In the other hand, the haking is there, freedom is allowed for advanced users of Android, and all we know that we could change and modify the ROM of our devices.

  • VicMatson

    I’m thinking that Verizon just wanted to make their no 2 Eris more appealing. I’ll bet P&Z is included in a future Droid upgrade.

  • Anderlan

    Think of party combat in World of Warcraft. The players’ party is called Team Android. The tank (the Droid) pulls all the aggression of the foe(s) (aggro), so the rest of the team doesn’t get repeatedly bitten or clawed by the main adversary. Team Android doesn’t want to engage The Apple Patent Monster (APM), so Droid doesn’t use the techniques that would enrage him. However, at a farther range, with Droid between him and the APM, Eris feels secure doing things that might aggro the APM at closer range and without the high-level Droid in the way. Milestone is on a continent where APM gets a slight debuff.

    • http://Website John Mayer

      Nicely done, Anderlan

  • marshall

    Ditto what Dg and Gottoon said.

  • weasdf

    Argh, my eyes! My brain! Why, why do I understand that WoW analogy? WHY did you USE a WoW analogy?

  • Wade

    My G1 running CyanogenMod has pinch zoom and I rarely use it. Double/Triple tapping is way more useful and allows you to use the phone with one hand. I rarely hold the phone with one hand and type/pinch/swipe with the other. Seriously, get over it already.