Coder and Android-enthusiast Luke Hutchison has developed a multitouch implementation for the T-Mobile G1, that takes advantage of the smartphone’s hardware multitouch support. Hutchison’s hack introduces new kernel-level support for more than single-finger input, together with new versions of the G1’s browser, map viewer and photo viewer that take advantage of the multitouch gestures. That primarily means pinch & spread zooming.
Check out the demo video after the cut
The capacitive panel used by the HTC-made G1 is capable of recognising multitouch input, however the manufacturer and Google did not enable support of it. Their motivations aren’t clear – the fear of potential impingement on iPhone IP could be one good reason – but the end result is a less usable interface than found on rivals. This new hack is not entirely smooth – it lacks OpenGL acceleration support, as well as kinetic scrolling – but now that it’s been shown possible will likely receive a lot of refinement by the open-source community.
While Hutchison gives instructions for reflashing the G1 with the new firmware, he does flag up the fact that in doing so you run the risk of breaking your smartphone in a way that T-Mobile’s warranty is unlikely to cover. Still, the promise of multitouch on the handset – something unlikely to be retroactively added officially – will probably be enough to encourage many G1 owners to attempt the hack.
[via Android Community]