Interesting discovery about the soft keyboard


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  1. Vance

    Vance Well-Known Member This Topic's Starter

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    There has been a lot of discussion on Engadget about whether the soft keyboard has multi-touch. Engadget insists no, and Rob here insists yes.

    I think I discovered where the problem lies. Josh at Engadget was saying that you had to release one key before pressing another or they would not both register. Rob said in his review that you COULD press them at the same time and both would register. I think I found out that both are right.

    I did some experimenting and would love to see whether others come to the same conclusion. It seems that when the keys are far enough apart (more than a couple of keys away), then you can, indeed, press the second before the first is released and they both register. BUT, if the keys are close to each other, it will not do this. You have to release one key before pressing the other. I think this must be to avoid accidentally hitting two keys with one finger.

    So, whether you think this is a good feature or too much babysitting of our typing abilities, it does seem intentional. Please try this out and let me know whether your experience is the same.
     

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  2. icstars989

    icstars989 Well-Known Member

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    For mine it doesn't matter how close they are to one another, for me it all depends on how long I hold that first key down. For example if I hold that first key long enough and that sub screen with other options pop's up, I can not multi-touch. But if I hit the second key before that little screen comes up, I'm good to go.
     
  3. Vance

    Vance Well-Known Member This Topic's Starter

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    Yes, but being able to hit the second key while the first one is still pressed, and it registering, IS multi-touch for all intents and purposes, is it not?
     
  4. milrtime83

    milrtime83 Well-Known Member

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    Yeah, that's a point a lot of people don't seem to understand. If you press a second letter before letting up on the first it doesn't register right away, but as soon as you let up on the first, the second letter appears on the screen. In a realistic typing situation this works perfectly fine.

    The people demonstrating that it does not have multi touch on video are holding one letter and pressing multiple others. They are right in the sense that you can't do that, but in what real world typing situation would you need to hold one letter while typing multiple others?
     
  5. jhat3k1

    jhat3k1 Well-Known Member

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    It is not hard to believe that it is multi-touch, we know the phone supports it (picsay). I'm sure within the coming months we will see more and more multi-touch apps.
     
  6. Shiggs

    Shiggs Active Member

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    If i hit S and hold it and hit P, then it just types another S...
     
  7. Vance

    Vance Well-Known Member This Topic's Starter

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    The way it works is you hit the S, then the P, then release the S. If you just release both at the same time, it doesn't work. It works with the way most folks type, hitting one key after another, but allows them to go faster by hitting the second key before releasing the first, but still expects the first key to be released first (which is how most would type, I would think).
     
  8. MarvinAndroid

    MarvinAndroid Well-Known Member

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    I'm pretty sure there is logic built into the keyboard app to register when the key was pressed and when it was released. Then it runs through an algorithm to decide which key should register first. I don't think that means you can hold down "A" and strat hammering "B" and they will come out. I think the software recognized that you touched "A" first and will wait till you released it to actually display it on the screen. The multitouch part is the fact that it also registers at the same time that you are holding down the "B" and knows that will be the next letter to display as soon as that key is released. It makes a lot of sense to me.
     
  9. Vance

    Vance Well-Known Member This Topic's Starter

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    Exactly, Marvin, the paranoid android.
     
  10. chris.h

    chris.h Well-Known Member

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    It make make sense, but it's not multitouch. If you go grab an old laptop from 2001 and put one finger in one corner of the trackpad, then place another finger in another corner, when you lift the first finger, the mouse jumps to where the second finger is. It's not multitouch, it's just recognizing where it's being touched after the first point is released.

    For the most part it doesn't matter, but where it would be useful would be for holding shift or the number button on the soft keyboard. You could hold the number key, hit a number, let go of the number key and go back to typing instead of having to tap the number key on, hit a number, and then tap it off to go back to typing letters.
     
  11. svtpickemup

    svtpickemup Member

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    I tried it an it appears to work as described. I was typing "this". I typed the t and h normally, one at a time. The I repeatedly tried about 30 times to type the i and the s. If I type the i and wait to release it until after I type the s, both the i and the s register.

    It's kinda like multi-release, not multi-touch....LOL
     
  12. Vance

    Vance Well-Known Member This Topic's Starter

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    True, I guess it is how you define "multitouch". Josh from Engadget was saying that it was not multitouch because you had to completely release one key before hitting another, which is simply not the case.
     
  13. MarvinAndroid

    MarvinAndroid Well-Known Member

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    I see your point (and I know exactly what you are talking about)... but the fact of the matter is that Android 2.0 supports multi-touch, and the Motorola Droid (as a piece of hardware) supports multi-touch and applications such as PicSay are using multi-touch right now to do pinch zooming etc. So there is no questions whether multitouch is possible on the Droid... it's in use right now. The question is whether it is in use on the software keyboard to improve accuracey... and I believe it is. It's a difficult thing to prove.. but considering it's possible in Android and the Droid.. it isn't a far stretch to assume Google used it to make typing on the software keyboard to make it more accurate.
     
  14. Vance

    Vance Well-Known Member This Topic's Starter

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    In fact, I think that the manual SAYS it uses multi-touch on the soft keyboard. If so, then they are using a broader definition of MT that some others use. But really the bottom line is that the keyboard is a breeze to type on because of the feature that it DOES have, compared to, say, the BB Storm, which required one click at a time.
     
  15. chris.h

    chris.h Well-Known Member

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    Right, I completely agree and understand that the phone supports multitouch but there is nothing to show that the soft keyboard is actually utilizing it since it is registering touches the same way a touch pad from 1998 would: lift one finger up and it jumps to the other.
     
  16. MarvinAndroid

    MarvinAndroid Well-Known Member

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    Ok... last night I did a little test on my G1. On my Droid if I tap and hold "e" while I press and hold "i"... it will put "ei" on the screen when I release both keys. On the G1 if I press and hold "e" and then press and hold "i" it will only put whichever key was released last (so either "e" or "i" and not both). So that makes sense and demonstrates multi-touch typing right there. The G1 with Android 1.6 only recognizes a single input at a time... so when I first pushed "e" it started to register that (but it will not display a character until you release the pressure). When I was pushing both "e" and "i" it still only recognizes it as a single but large touch spanning the space distance between "e" and "i". When I release my finger last from the "i" it ignores the "e" I started with and decides I really meant to type "i". The Droid on the other hand is smart enough to know that "e" and "i" are two seperate inputs and keeps them seperate... and registers them as two different characters upon release.

    So.. that's pretty much proof for me. The soft keyboard uses multi-touch.
     
  17. chris.h

    chris.h Well-Known Member

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    I don't have a G1 so I'm not sure how that one is functioning, but the difference between those phones could just be the way the drivers are set up, similar to how on ubuntu, a single touch trackpad can do two-finger scrolling not by recognizing the two fingers, but just by seeing a larger area being touched.

    On the home screen of the Droid quickly tap two fingers in sequence (touch one, touch two, lift one, lift two) and it will scroll to the next home screen. That is the same way the keyboard is recognizing the inputs. It's not seeing them at the same time but when you lift the first finger, it thinks it moved to the second spot.

    It's likely that multitouch isn't worked in anywhere in the framework of the droid's 2.0 but has to be called upon by a separate API.

    Again, the best way to illustrate this is by grabbing an old laptop that doesn't have multitouch or a scroll area. If you move your fingers in the same sequence (touch finger one, touch finger two, lift finger one, lift finger two) as you're typing letters on the droid you'll see that the trackpad is thinking that you just quickly moved finger 1 to the spot that finger 2 was in.
     
  18. MarvinAndroid

    MarvinAndroid Well-Known Member

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    I might be able to agree with you on this... except I've heard and read quotes from Google engineers saying that multitouch was built into Android 2.0. People have actually found references to it in the code for earlier versions of Android but it was commented out because it apparently wasn't ready for showtime yet.

    And I'm not a hardware engineer.. but from what I've heard.. almost any capacitive screen is capable of multi-touch as long as the software behind it is ready to support it.
     
  19. MotoDroidHelpandInfo

    MotoDroidHelpandInfo Well-Known Member

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    I saw the video to. Tested it myself and came to the conclusion that it does have multi touch. Just a little clunkier then the apples version.
     
  20. chris.h

    chris.h Well-Known Member

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    Just because it's built into the OS doesn't mean that the OS is implementing it. It could be built in but still require a call through its API to actually use it...
     
  21. ajm144k

    ajm144k Well-Known Member

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    android 2.0 and the droid have multitouch.

    proof: add a picture frame widget to your homescreen, and when you get to cropping your image its pinch-and-zoom cropping.


    as for the keyboard, it isnt full multi touch. if you could hold the shift key while hitting another key, that'd be really helpful use of multi touch.
     
  22. chris.h

    chris.h Well-Known Member

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    I'm not sure that's multitouch at play there either. If you put one finger anywhere on the frame and slide it (even diagonally) it will zoom the crop box. Also, if you start with your fingers outside of the crop area and try to pinch it smaller, nothing happens. It's likely that it's just registering the diagonal slide on the first finger that you put and completely ignoring the second one.

    Again, just to make myself clear, I'm not doubting that this phone has multitouch capabilities. I'm just doubting that the OS itself is making any use of it.
     
  23. Newton1221

    Newton1221 Member

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    after testing this i can confirm that there is some multi touch in the keyboard, i will admit the multi touch is temperamental and it only works for keys that are 4 or 5 apart (in portrait mode) but you CAN have your fingers on two keys at the same time and both will register (under the right circumstances) so i would have to say that there is SOME multi touch on the droid soft keyboard
     
  24. chris.h

    chris.h Well-Known Member

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    They only register in sequence when you lift the first finger before lifting the second finger, and that is because it then senses where that other finger is, thinking that you just quickly moved your finger from the first spot to the second spot.

    It's just not there.
     
  25. Vance

    Vance Well-Known Member This Topic's Starter

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    I agree it is technically not multi-touch as most people define it. But, the ability that is built-in accomplishes what MT can accomplish on a soft keyboard, so I am not sure it matters. The main point is that the lack of MT does not mean you have to peck one key at a time, as some suggested at Engadget.
     

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