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  1.    #1  
    One thing that's bugged me, and that I haven't seen discussed, is how much "multi-touch" capability the Pre really has that might infringe on an Apple "multi-touch" patent. The only thing I can think of is the pinch gesture to zoom/unzoom. The rest, for example all of the swipe gestures, are not multi-touch as far as I can see. They're single-touch, and they're gestures that many non-multi-touch devices, e.g., my Touch Pro, can do.

    In fact, I'm not even a fan of multi-touch on such small devices. I'd rather not use two or more fingers to do anything on a smartphone. I actually like the circle gesture on my Touch Pro for zooming; it's easier (for me) to do while holding the phone in the other hand.

    What am I missing here? Are there really more (legitimate) patent-related issues, but people are just characterizing them incorrectly as "multi-touch" issues? An example might be the "bounce" at the end of scrolling lists, but again that's not multi-touch and it's common other devices (again, my Touch Pro has it).
  2. #2  
    Apple was just sued by a third party over multitouch. Elan turns the tables on Apple, sues for multitouch patent infringement

    It remains to be seen what this means for Palm.
  3.    #3  
    Well, sure, but my question remains: what exactly is considered "multi-touch"? Certainly, none of the Pre's gestures except the pinch-to-zoom gesture are actually multi-touch. Indeed, they all use a single finger.
  4. #4  
    Idk my netbook has pinch-to-zoom and no one's suing them.
  5. #5  
    Indeed, multitouch does involve multiple fingers or hands or pointers etc.. being involved. As of now I can't recall other multiple finger gestures being demoed on the Pre, but apps will have the ability to leverage the multitouch capability. So while there may be limited gestures utilizing it now, programmers may come up with uses for it in their applications for the phone.
  6.    #6  
    Prereferee - So perhaps it's just the _capability_ for multi-touch that's potentially problematic, whether or not Palm implements any themselves... Gotcha.

    I certainly hope that's not (as hinted elsewhere) what's holding up the Pre, because for myself, they could simply turn off multi-touch capability entirely and I wouldn't miss a thing.

    And, freeridstylee - My Windows 7-based Dell Latitude XT Tablet PC also has multi-touch capabilities, including pinch-to-zoom and two-finger-twist-to-rotate. Nothing seems to be stopping Microsoft from releasing it. It's conceivable, though, that the particular patent could be limited to the smartphone format.
  7. emuneee's Avatar
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    #7  
    Multi-touch. To understand multi-touch, you should understand how the different types of touch screens work.

    Resistive touch screen (Popular in Windows Mobile devices and many touchscreen "dumbphones"): Resistive touchscreens are composed of two flexible sheets coated with a resistive material and separated by an air gap or microdots. When contact is made to the surface of the touchscreen, the two sheets are pressed together, registering the precise location of the touch. (from Wiki). The big drawback of this is when you touch a resistive screen in two spots at the same time, it doesn't register them as two separate contacts, but as one, usually the midpoint between the touch contacts. (You can test by opening up a notes app with handwriting and touch two different points and seeing where the mark is actually made) You need the ability for more than one registered touch for it to be multi-touch capable.

    Capacitive touch screen (Apple iPhone, HTC/T-Mobile G1, Palm Pre): A capacitive touchscreen panel is coated with a material, typically indium tin oxide, that conducts a continuous electrical current across the sensor. Big difference here is that the sensor can detect multiple touches at the same time as multiple touches.

    The OS can use the data from the touch screen to detect gestures, etc. Multi-touch just means you the OS can process the multiple-touch data from the sensor and use it to calculate gestures, etc.

    Hope that clears it up a little.
  8. #8  
    I really don't think the patent issues are significant. There is something of a cold war style mutually assured destruction related to patents here. Palm has a boatload of IP that they could use against Apple and likewise. Essentially, the claims and counterclaims would result in massive harm to both sides so there is something of a detente.
  9.    #9  
    Emunee - Yes, understand what multi-touch is, I'm just referring to what Apple's actually patented and what it has to do with multi-touch.

    prereferee - Sure, agreed. I'm actually just being very analytical here, because everyone keeps referring to Apple "multi-touch patents," and from what I've seen there are only a few gestures that are protected--and they're gestures that, by and large, the Pre doesn't seem to use.
  10. #10  
    I think to be honest the bigger question is whether the Apple patents will actually stand up to scrutiny. As noted Apple is being sued by another company over the patents. The question being does multi-touch, as Apple has patented it, constitute new technology or is it existing art with evolutionary changes attached. Which is a complicated question. Apple got the patent by arguing it was new technology and having the patent is a major coup. The costs associated with a lawsuit on the issue are prohibitive for small companies, which is often why companies take out patents and then aggressively use them (see Monster Cable v. Blue Jean Cable for a humorous case of the little guy refusing to back down). I don't think Palm will have much to worry about on this issue though. As i said, they should be able to fight the patent battle if one were to be waged. But I think Apple is unlikely to really push hard on this, lest it face potential problems for any Palm IP it may be using or worse have the multitouch patent challenged in court and lose the patent entirely.
  11.    #11  
    Good points.
  12. #12  
    Didn't someone mention that Apple is using some of palms patients in the iphone? If so they will not sue unless they wanna get sued.
  13. #13  
    Quote Originally Posted by wynand32 View Post
    Well, sure, but my question remains: what exactly is considered "multi-touch"? Certainly, none of the Pre's gestures except the pinch-to-zoom gesture are actually multi-touch. Indeed, they all use a single finger.
    I remembered seeing an article on Engadget that mentioned how to copy and paste. "Oh, and yes, it has copy and paste functions (triggered by holding down your thumb on the gesture area and selecting your text with another finger)." So if this is still the way to copy and paste on the Pre then that is another "multi-touch" feature. Here is the link to that article its a long one. Its on the fifth paragraph from the last. Palm Pre: everything you ever wanted to know

    Quote Originally Posted by Banger View Post
    Didn't someone mention that Apple is using some of palms patients in the iphone? If so they will not sue unless they wanna get sued.
    Here is an article again on Engadget about some of the patients from apple as well as some of palm's. Apple vs. Palm: the in-depth analysis
  14. philipsv's Avatar
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    #14  
    Here is another article -

    Apple Hints at a Tough Legal Stance Regarding Patents - Barrons.com

    that makes the case that it would be very hard for Apple to sue Palm over multi-touch.

    And I think they are right.

    The whole area seems to be pretty muddy - Here's another article that was trotted out by Palm right after the initial saber-rattling by Apple COO -

    http://www.billbuxton.com/multitouchOverview.html

    Which begs the question. Is it possible that the Taiwanese company that sued Apple over the multi-touch patents is the one that is the true owner of the IP?

    And... why haven't we seen the pinch-to-zoom gestures in any of the Palm demos lately? Does this mean we are not going to see it in the device when it is released?
    Last edited by philips; 04/23/2009 at 08:35 PM.

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