October 20, 2014

G1 Can Handle Multi-Touch Afterall?

Show an iPhone user the Android browser on your G1 and they’re likely to point out one thing rather quickly. “Hey, my iPhone does multi-touch, yo.  Why can’t your Android?“  Long out as a difference in design, the Apple counterpart was able to brag about this simple feature which was missing from the G1.  Or is it?

The folks over at RyeBry have done some sleuthing and found that with some work, the G1 shows it should be capable of two finger touching.

Then unix_infidel pointed out that there was some stuff in the synaptics driver that was commented out… which – was true. (the file is located in drivers/input/touchscreen/synaptics_i2c_rmi.c of the msm kernel source – you can see the git info for the msm kernel online)

By uncommenting a bunch of lines in the synaptics touchscreen driver, and recompiling my kernel and replacing my boot.img – I was able to enable the debug logging of the touch input that tracks 2 fingers.

He goes on to talk about the various code and debugging output to support his argument.  Google evangelist Dan Morril brings up a few counterpoints as to why it’s not in.  We’ve come up with a few ideas of our own.

  • Someone else owns a patent of some sort.
  • HTC didn’t want it in this model.
  • Android wasn’t completely ready for it.
  • Nothing was written to take advantage of it yet.

What do you guys think?

Were you surprised at all to hear that multi-touch is hiding in the background?