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Pinch/Zoom Debate

Discussion in 'Android Devices' started by droidosis, Jan 7, 2010.

  1. droidosis

    droidosis Well-Known Member
    Thread Starter

    I decided to create this thread for those who want/need the pinch zooming ability on their phones. Maybe it will start a debate, maybe it won't. So, this is a semi-open letter to Google, or just something to think about! I have noticed that lots of people are requesting the pinch zoom feature in Android OS via the Motorola DROID and Nexus One phones. This feature is implemented in UK versions of Motorola's phone. Obviously, the feature is inherent in the OS, and/or core browser Web kit, but disabled on purpose for fear of repercussions from Apple or other unknown reasons. -insert conspiracy theory- Apple has the patent application 7479949 which you can look up on United States Patent and Trademark Office and read for yourself. Most of Apple's patents have been filed in 2007, 2008, and this one I believe was granted in Jan. of 2009, or is it in an unenforceable state of 'application' only? Has anyone actually READ this patent? It seems to cover every aspect of every human interfacing with a touch device; making Apple sole owner of any type of touch interaction, period. Even touching yourself, hmm. LOL. Now.. patents have been challenged in the past, and in order to do this, Apple has to try to enforce their "PATENT" infringement in a court of law. In order to bring the issue to light, Google should; and intentionally enable the multitouch features of the OS's native apps. How can Apple hold such a patent when most of the interaction is sort of common sense, or just plain obvious? Where is the invention here? I've seen a ton of movies where these concepts were used, and long before the Iphone has ever existed. As an example, ever see Minority Report? YouTube - interactive ui in minority report Can you think of any others? And yes, This is touching of floating 3D objects, but way more advanced then the Iphone, Sure! and that was 2002! This is way before any of Apple's so called patents. So is Apple going to patent that movie technology also? Does Tom Cruise get to sue apple now?! I could care less about pinch zoom or not, the phone is very functional without, but not implementing it shows some sort of fear, don't you think? Grow a PAIR Google, you got the money. Turn these features on. Fight them if they make a stink, which I doubt they will. Now, if it's up to the manufacturer of the phone to activate this feature or not, then rename this as an open letter to Motorola ;) I'm still not clear on who is behind the blocking of this feature and why. Business is War, someone has to take a stand and see where the cards fall. So what say you? Let's see where it goes ... -droidosis-

  2. DocEsp

    DocEsp Newbie

    Besides Safari and Pictures, what else does the iPhone let you pinch to zoom in on? We already have 2 apps that can handle that.
  3. DroidJnkie

    DroidJnkie Android Enthusiast

    I don't understand the whole pinch/zoom discussion.

    Are we too freaking lazy to just double tap a screen?

    But I must agree with the anger and disgust hurled at Apple for trying to "own" all pinching and zooming. That's preposterous.

    We should be able to pinch and zoom whatever we freaking want, if it's implemented in the software/hardware of the Droid, which it freaking is! :mad:
  4. sooper_droid12

    sooper_droid12 Android Expert

    Here's my opinion: We don't need pinch zoom if not having it drives innovation. However, if there is no other innovation as to how to utilizing multi-touch gestures in order to create more efficient commands, then allow pinch. In other words, if Google won't use pinch for a zoom function, then come up with something better. In my opinion, it's lazy that the wealth of Google engineers cannot formulate something better than a +/- bar for zooming. Shoot, even Google Maps has a slider bar for scaling. I guess I'm more frustrated that Google didn't do MORE with 2.1. Maybe we just have to wait for Flan or wait for Apple to go after Palm for IP infringement only for Palm to counter-sue and blow Apple out of the water with the number of Palm patents that Apple violates!
  5. vincentp

    vincentp Android Expert

    I still don't understand the love for pinch zoom. It's nice for certain apps, but the browser? The double-tap zoom on our browser is way, way easier and more convenient than any pinch zoom I've ever used.
  6. Redflea

    Redflea Android Expert

    Pinch does allow more control of the zoom level (up and down, changing direction) than double-tap does.

    That said, it also requires two hands, where you can tap-zoom one-handed.

    Pin-zoom (used in the Xscope browser) provides a double-tap/drag zoom that works well, can be done one-handed (if you have long thumb/fingers, LOL).

    I thought pinch zoom wasn't a big deal at first, but now that I've used it in Dolphin I do like it, and would not like to have to give it up and go back to simple tap...
  7. gotwillk

    gotwillk Android Enthusiast

    to me, pinch zoom is pretty useless. its just a gimmick and makes the phone actually harder to use. i dunno about the rest of you but for me i usually hold my phone with one hand. its damn near impossible to pinch zoom with 2 fingers while holding the phone all in one hand. double tapping to zoom is much more efficient and faster. only only advantage pinchzoom has over double tapping is that with pinchzoom you can control the level of zoom easily, while double tapping just brings you into one level of zoom and then all the way back out.

    but in the case of that minority report clip, pinchzoom is super cool because it is for a giant, stationary screen and he is moving his entire arm to do zooming. double tapping wouldn't be efficient. on phones though, i'd say double tapping is just way more efficient because how many ppl walk around holding their phones with 2 hands anyway?
  8. DGalt

    DGalt Android Enthusiast

    I've used both...I like double tap. I think it's less effort tbh. And I'm a lazy sob ;)
  9. sooper_droid12

    sooper_droid12 Android Expert

    The iPhone also has double tap with pinch.
  10. craighwk

    craighwk Android Enthusiast

    I became quite fond of pinch and zoom. One of those minor things I miss, so hopefully it'll make its way to the Droid sometime.

    Don't like it? Don't use it.
  11. droidosis

    droidosis Well-Known Member
    Thread Starter

    I think we're missing the point a bit.

    As thread starter I am not for or against the concept of the pinch, just the availability/option to use it if you so choose. I have grown fond of the double tap, and the -, + zoom icon. Many have pointed out it's easier to use the phone with one hand, etc., which is GREAT! And I agree. No need to defend the droids functionality, it gets the job done.

    But some things to keep in mind. Our friends across the pond in the UK have the droid's cousin A.K.A. the "milestone". This phone has the ability to pinch zoom in all native apps such as the browser, gallery, etc. Seems like Apple has not filed a patent application out there, or it's not as strong as in the US...or that guy that works for Google now..once worked for Apple -again, insert conspiracy theory- Is he holding Android down from full functionality?

    Now, I'm assuming -and I could be wrong of course- that the OS software we're running has the same exact ability as the milestone, and it is just disabled in our OS. Something to the effect of a C global library with a constant toggled off like EnableMultiTouch=0; ---- when all that has to be done is change it to EnableMultiTouch=1, recompile the OS kernel, and all of the native apps, and it will just start working.

    If it's that easy to disable, it should be that easy to re-enable. I hope they didn't strip the entire pinch zooming code from each and every module?!

    Sure there are 3rd party apps that take advantage of pinch zoom, but are they using the native pinch zoom module/library control of Android OS, or are they developing their own custom pinch zoom library functionality? Is this why in each app that has pinch zoom is not consistent? and why Dolphin had to put out multiple versions before its pinch zoom capability became acceptable?

    If there was a native OS library that they could compile with, are the developers using it? I read a thread about the milestone's browser; which is essentially exactly the same as ours! but with pinch zoom, and the zoom is very accurate. Exactly like the Iphone's Webkit pinch zoom. Yes we KNOW the droids screen is multitouch capable, but if each developer is designing their own implementation when an already developed/Android optimized library already exists, isn't that like reinventing the wheel over and over for each app?

    Again, Google and/or Motorola should enable the pinch in the OS, and if any friction comes of it from Apple, just disable it once again in an update.

    But this time accidentally let some hack slip where we can enable it with an Easter egg, rather then rooting the phone and using the milestone apps.

    If this is done, they can get away with not taking responsibility if the "customer" enables it. 'woops' not our problem Apple! We told them NOT to fiddle with it. Those silly customers.

    The ability to use the OS to its fullest will only sell more Android phones, and put more money in Motorola and Google's pockets. They can use that profit to fight any lawsuit. I'm just looking for loopholes, or at least trying to give those who can make it happen, some ideas.

    HTC has it, Palm has it, Apple hasn't moved at all.

    Enable it Google/Motorola - GROW A PAIR.

  12. sooper_droid12

    sooper_droid12 Android Expert

    At this point, I think since Motorola/Google/VZW have been able to move close to 1 million units of the DROID, it would not be in their best interests to tempt Apple's legal staff.

    HTC might be a worthy pursuit for Apple.

    Apple won't touch Palm because Apple infringes on a TON of Palm's intellectual property. Apple sues Palm, Palm is coming right back to sue Apple.

    Honestly, this isn't worth the fight, because Google is really in the business of enabling developers to use the tools/resources available to them. For example, Dolphin Browser. Someone can develop a Gallery Application with multi-touch. And in fact, HTC came up with a whole SUITE of apps called Sense UI.

    I respect Google's and Motorola's decision to stay out of this all together. Honestly, I don't give a rip either way if there's pinch. I do want more innovation and less copy-catting.
  13. droidosis

    droidosis Well-Known Member
    Thread Starter

    Do you really think Apple would make a move if they enabled it?

    They haven't moved on either Palm, HTC, or a few other products that use it, like the Nikon pocket camera.

    Lawsuits are usually a product of a company that is losing money and last ditch effort don't you think? Apple isn't losing money right now with the sales of the Itouch+Itunes+AppStore. They are in the plus. In defense for Motorola and Google they can use those companies as examples that the method is just not patentable, obvious and used prior to the invention of their Iphone in concept.

    I doubt they would do anything and risk losing any validity their patent may or may not hold, and to boot expend some of their profit on a lawsuit to protect it.

    Only way to find out is to challenge them by enabling. The longer Motorola/Google wait, the more it gives the appearance of credibility to their "patent".

    Why not make an offer to license the technology and pay, and if Apple requests some ridiculous royalties then just enable it. Let the fight begin.

  14. sooper_droid12

    sooper_droid12 Android Expert

    Let me see: Motorola sold 1M units and really needs this phone to stay in the game. Would Apple go after them to take them out of the game once and for all? Especially since Motorola ain't got nothing on them?

    They haven't moved on Palm because AS I'VE SAID Apple has infringed on so many of Palm's patents that it would be unwise to litigate against Palm only for them to return the favor. Palm stands to gain in that legal battle. But at this point, I think it's something that Palm and Apple are inclined to leave untouched so they can mutually benefit. Multi-touch is adds to the brilliance of WebOS. If the Pre had a halfway decent processor and memory allocation, it would be a sick OS.

    But one thing that you neglect to recognize is the Andy Rubin (GOOG) used to work for Apple, so it is likely that he has some personal reasons for not using MT or Apple's patents. I don't think it's ball-less. I just think he's chosen a certain direction to take Android. I think that what will happen is he wants to demonstrate how successful Android can be without MT when it finally overtakes Apple for market share.

    At that point, we may see MT.
  15. Fabolous

    Fabolous Superuser

    @sooper_droid12 WebOS is pretty decent since the last update. Much better performance and great battery life. By the way, that weak CPU in the Pre also powers the iPhone3GS as well as our Motorola Droids.

    As for pinch-zoom, Google has their reasons for not including it in the stock apps. But since the demand is there, we're seeing more and more apps being released that take advantage of it. Soon, there will be a quality replacement for all the apps that you want MT in.
  16. chippy

    chippy Well-Known Member

    How the heck does the zune hd have pinch/pull, is Motorola more scared than Microsoft?
  17. sooper_droid12

    sooper_droid12 Android Expert

    What I meant to say was that WebOS needs a stronger processor with a heck of a lot more memory to run it well. But it's a formidable OS and IMO the best mobile OS in the market.

    But yes, I know that the Pre has the same processor as our DROID. Where Android works great with OMAP, much like OS X, WebOS just lags like crazy and is slow.
  18. sooper_droid12

    sooper_droid12 Android Expert

    It's not Motorola as it is Google. And I don't think Microsoft is scared of anyone.
  19. Fabolous

    Fabolous Superuser

    Microsoft has much more resources at their disposal than Apple. They don't need to be afraid of them.

    Even Motorola has pinch-zoom implemented on the Euro Droid (Milestone).

    It's Google that is not implementing it in the native apps.

    That being said, I don't even care much for pinch-zoom being in the native apps. I just want a virtual keyboard that recognizes multiple inputs! Until then, I'll stick to Swype.
  20. chippy

    chippy Well-Known Member

    The reason I like pinch/pull is it feels more natural because you can do it a lot or a little, basically you can be more precise than double tapping.
  21. DGalt

    DGalt Android Enthusiast

    lol Apple wouldn't exist if it weren't for Microsoft back in the late 90s. I doubt Microsoft cares a whole lot about what Apples says.

    besides, they're too busy fighting over Office copyright :p
  22. sooper_droid12

    sooper_droid12 Android Expert

    You can't assume that it would feel natural to everyone. From the sounds of it, you must have had an iPhone/Touch so you're mobile viewing has been conditioned with pinch. Now that it's gone, you obviously feel it's more natural. But for people who have only played with pinch and are fully versed in Android, pinch is not really an issue.

    If I want to zoom on a particular part of the page, I DT that part of the page or picture. Slide and zoom to whatever degree I want. Good enough for me.
  23. discohornet

    discohornet Well-Known Member

    for ME. For me a pinch zoom would mean a more intimate connection to the user interface. The closer my brain and fingers are to affecting the user interface in subtle ways the more my brain sees it as intimately connected to the machine.

    It's the reason touch screen itself is so appealing. It's a universal human desire to have complete, even subtly quantifiable control. It's those little responses that lights my brain up.

    To me it's like using a mouse to play a first person shooter game versus an xbox controller. Way more control with the mouse, BUT way more feedback with the controller(vibration).

    Even the little vibes we get when we're adjusting our droids is stimulating to our minds. Reassures our little monkey brains.

    I think BOTH should work. Sometimes you want to just double tap. Sometimes you want to pinch. Why can't we have both? That's the whole point of this thread. It isn't the battle of the mods but a question of why is technology that is abundantly available in other markets not allowed on our phones?

  24. sooper_droid12

    sooper_droid12 Android Expert

    But that's the point! At the moment, it is Google's BUSINESS DECISION not to include it for the US based on legal and personal reasons. You can't sway Google to say, "Buck the system, violate Apple's patents, and include multi-touch pinch!" They're a multi-billion dollar company and many of us are making pennies compared to that. So of course, we can cry from the safety of our internet forums, "How dare you not include it?!"

    There's no point in arguing about it because WE'RE STILL BUYING THE PRODUCT WITHOUT IT. In fact, almost a MILLION people bought DROIDs without the feature. Our brothers (and sisters) over in the N1 forum are picking up their N1s WITHOUT the feature. You want MT on your Android device? DON'T BUY IT! But don't sit here and start the 100th thread on "Why Android doesn't have Pinch?" and expect Google to care! It's futile.

    By the way, I'm not angry. I just think it's comical that we're starting yet another thread about it when we're clearly consuming what they're selling.
  25. messenger13

    messenger13 Android Expert

    That's right! Read the title! :p

    First of all, not an ex-iPhoney here ... but I big puffy fluffy heart pinch/zoom. :) It is much more analog, and the last time I checked, humans are more analog in nature than digital. It is intuitive and inspiring. Tap to zoom is ... err ... not. :D

    Having said that, if some of you want/like to double-tap, yeah for you. :rolleyes: In a perfect world, we should be able to have either, or both, as an option.

    But here's where the bullet meets the bone: It is so easy for you to say "Google should grow a pair.", or "The Milestone has it, we should have it.". Meanwhile you guys don't have a clue what goes on behind closed doors. Every company chooses their battles to fight, and which ones not to. It always comes down to financial gain. Right now, it appears that not one potential DROID buyer is walking away because it doesn't come with a native pinch/zoom feature. So why should Google spend one red cent trying to implement that feature in the US where Apple holds the patents? If you don't think that would cost Google something, you're more naive than I thought.

    THE BOTTOM LINE: I have pinch/zoom currently in the native browser, and I few of the apps that I need it most. I would like to see pinch/zoom in Google Maps, but whatever... Why are we debating about something that is available to us already??? That seems odd to me.

    OK, I'm done. I'll go back to pinching to zoom, while y'all argue about whether or not we should have it. :thinking: :thinking: :thinking: :) :D :cool:

    - The Voice of Reason has spoken... :p

    No animals were harmed in the making of this post.

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The Motorola Droid release date was November 2009. Features and Specs include a 3.7" inch screen, 5MP camera, 256GB RAM, processor, and 1400mAh battery.

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