Feb 22 AT 1:51 PM Taylor Wimberly 36 Comments

Google trackpad patent hints at Android for desktops


With Android 4.0, Google delivered a mobile operating system that was suited for all screen sizes. As we have already explored, you can almost replace your PC with an Android device, but there are still some things that Google needs to improve upon.

Google could target the desktop computing experience with Android 5.0, according to the latest patents discovered by Jack Purcher of PatentlyApple.

In the patent overview Google claims that their Android operating system has been designed for a touchscreen user interface and it may be beneficial to have it “implemented on more traditional devices, such as a desktop, netbook or laptop device that include physical keyboards and/or pointing devices, such as trackpad devices.”

We agree 100 percent. So does Ubuntu.

Android 4.0 already works quite well with a standard mouse, but the touchpad support is limited. Thankfully this latest patent describes multi-touch events like two-finger scrolling, pinch to zoom, and flinging content.

It will be interesting to see how Google implements trackpad support, but it appears that an Android smartphone or tablet could function as the trackpad when content is displayed on an external display. Some Android applications already allow you to convert your Android device into a mouse and keyboard for your PC, so it will be interesting to see how Google improves upon this.

With Google’s acquisition of Motorola almost complete, this could have interesting implications for Motorola’s webtop application that allows a smartphone to drive a desktop PC experience. Some have speculated that Google will implement webtop-like features into Android 5.0, which is something I have been predicting since last year.

One thing is for sure, Google clearly wants to bring their Android OS to as many devices as possible. Windows still has 70-80% market share on all web clients depending on the source, but smartphone sales already overtook client PCs in 2011, and that trend will continue to accelerate. In the next couple of years, we could see Android overtake Windows as the dominant operating system.

What areas of Android would you like to see Google improve upon before you would give up your desktop or laptop operating systems?

Source: PatentlyApple

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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  • http://clarklab.net Clark Wimberly

    Those are some pretty frumpy hands. I wonder who they hire to draw patent stuffs.

  • spazby

    Android everywhere please… But seriously, I would love to have android on my desktop

    • jonathan3579

      Oh I completely agree. We’ll give those iSheep a run for their money. There won’t be anything that iOS or OS X can do that we won’t be able to do…and probably do better!

      • Raveesh Bhalla

        Agreed to a large extent. But there still are some markets that, at least in current form, can’t really target (i.e. heavy designing, movie editing, software development)

        But of course, I’m sure if it’s a success it’ll be added down the line.

        • thekaz

          I’d disagree.. working with people in the design arena and those working with code-driven graphics, I have had conversations where they are really looking forward to quad-core tablets with nVidia graphics cards to do some heavy-duty stuff.

          • Raveesh Bhalla

            But does it match what they can do with a quality PC? Doubt it. I’m not saying it’s not the future, but it’s not the present.

          • thekaz

            well, I am sure there is some truth to that, but is the issue being able to do it, or being able to do it as quickly and efficiently as on a PC…

          • 666

            Um, no. With what apps? There are no quality ARM design apps. IDE’s on Android suck and are barely worth it on iOS.

        • jonathan3579

          I find Google to be a full capable and innovative company when it comes down to it. However, they need to work harder on how they implement things. I have a few questions within this theory though.

          Will Motorola be responsible for manufacturing laptops or computers should they decide to go that route? Will they tighten the grip on OEM skins and rid Android of that pesky “fragmentation” that has haunted us like a plague?

          Google will have to really take the reigns here and step up to the plate but I think it can be successful if they try.

          • Eric R.

            We need to rename fragmentation to focus on the ones responsible for it: “Carrier-fragmentation”

          • jonathan3579

            You got it, my friend. It’s just a stigma that everyone uses against us unfortunately.

          • http://mihai.discuta-liber.com/ tmihai20

            Google must not enforce official skins or hinder in any way the development of custom UIs. This is one of the things that made Android so great.

            I believe this is the next step for Android, I am thrilled at the idea to have a PC in my pocket and to be able to use it easily :) I am already thinking of cross-platform applications :)

    • Jon Garrett

      they probably will but maybe in the form of Chrome and Android combined.

  • Kevin

    The patent sounds an awful like what is already existing on the macbook air for example. Apple’s touchpad are already doing this and doing it well.

    • xsynth

      Same with some others. My Vaio has multi touch and pinch to zoom in its trackpad.
      But this sounds like it’s using the phone for the trackpad, aka a laptop dock to run the system and phone for mouse control

    • Andrew

      Not sure you have understood… and Synaptics allows many stuffs on PC too.

  • OnIn2

    It appears that Google has abandoned the Chrome Desktop and will let Chrome just be a browser.

    The same OS on every device I own is exciting. MS is trying to do the same thing with Win-8. They’re pushing down the stack to mobile devices and Google is trying to push up the stack to Desktops.

  • Meister_Li

    While this is quite exciting and I welcome competition to Microsoft, I am not so sure I am comfortable with Google’s “Everything in the Cloud” Philosophy. I actually like having hard drives to save stuff just for myself every once in a while, too. :P

    • dilharo

      All together google now gives 100gb or even more (20,000 songs of any size probably 1gb for one song is even possible)….google drive with 50 or 100gb comming , excellent google apps,
      youtube….(upload any size)………sharing and collaboration….hell ya google is gr8

  • Ruben Alvarez

    I swear to god, everyday we are getting closer to the Jetsons. This is awesome, Google is going to take over the world. Now we need to see my phone as a track pad for some Google HUD glasses, sweeeeet.

    • mac08wrx

      Yes I welcome it and can hardly wait

  • Vance

    Google: “How do we crack the Microsoft OS market dominance? We can’t take them head on.” …. “Build the World’s best mobile OS and let them catch up to us.”

  • TechWings

    I have a Galaxy Nexus, and I have long fingers. It’s a bitch to have to reach to the top of screen one handed. I’d like to see the action bar and the menu button at the bottom of the app, across the board. That way I don’t have to adjust my phone in my hand to hit send, mark all as read, menu, etc.

    Also, Google needs to be the forerunners of app optimization. Google Docs just got updated today, and while it’s a well-needed and very functional update, it still lags behind Quick Office. In my opinion, the day that honeycomb was released every app in Google’s arsenal should have been updated and rolled out with the new OS. The same goes for every version thereafter. Why should developers rush to update apps when Google doesn’t?

    With all that being said, Make Mine Android, and if app optimization was there as well an SSD I’d ditch my Windows PC in a heartbeat!

  • David

    The future will be modular, in my opinion. A touchscreen phone that can insert into and power a tablet, laptop, desktop, and tv. This is what I’m looking for. Motorola got close, but I don’t think the tech is quite there yet. Hopefully we’ll be there in a decade or so.

  • ArticulateFool

    This could be related to their development of chrome laptops.

  • T1392

    They should start by putting android on the chrome laptop computers. I wouod love it & think it would benefit chrome.

  • YMS123

    My laptop has two finger scrolling as well as pinch to zoom… Seems doubtful they will get a patent for that… But still I would love to be able to dual boot Windows and Android, using Android as a “media mode” , it would probably have better battery life than Windows.

  • aranea

    Not only a desktop but this may be a direction to control Google tv over a tablet or phone too.

  • Joel Bird

    I’ve been using an Apple Magic Trackpad with my Galaxy Nexus since the beginning of the year. I use it to control my phone from a distance at work. The boss is none the wiser. It’s great, and works just as if you were touching the screen. Great for stealth browsing!

  • Eric R.

    Personally, I believe that Google is merging what was Chrome OS into a future Android OS release, I think they have been waiting for the mobile hardware to mature to fully support Chrome OS and not kill the user experience.

  • Nathan D.

    Having android on my computer would be awesome which could mean my phone or tablet could connect to all those other accessories (like smart watch, glass, etc.) wireless to the point where I can always excess my txt, emails, browse the web, etc.

  • Pirx

    I would need desktop Java programs, e.g. Eclipse, Jedit. Today you need a pc to program android apps.

  • Jr

    I would love to be able to root my phone from another Android device (like my iconia). They will also have to make a browser that actually will pull up the current desert top view that you get from a normal pc (and if you don’t understand what i mean, try to use bank of America from your browser and see what you are greeted with).

  • http://www.bossyman15.com Adam Clark

    Wonder if they will make x86 version so we all can download and install on our PC!

  • Dan

    Chrome os on my tablet would be nice. On a phone I would say its acceptable to use a web dock but on the tablet I would hope that I wouldn’t have to plug it into a web dock, and instead use the tablet screen to show the desktop interface, then I can use Bluetooth keyboard and mouse. I would also like to see android have more capabilities like being able to develop apps on android in future os updates.

  • SC

    Jack Purcher of PatentlyApple can’t be considered a reliable source of information especially when he posts replies on his website intending to look like those of those arguing against his Apple is all good and inventor of everything theory..

    He should rename his website BlatantlyAppleOnly