Update: OK, OK. I get it. I've been learned a thing or three over this one. So have at me in the comments, call me a bad person, throw things at my dog, whatever. I only hope one day we'll wake up an our long national multitouch nightmare will be over. :P

Let the debate continue! Earlier this week we saw a pretty damning video that illustrated how multitouch on the Motorola Droid was "better" than on the Nexus One, or that the Nexus One's multitouch is "broken." That was shown with and app called Multitouch Visible Test.

Here's our own unscientific test using a different app, called MultiTouch Visualizer. While it actually runs a little more smoothly on the Droid, it doesn't have nearly the same problem tracking multiple points on the Nexus One that Multitouch Visible Test had.

So what do we take away from this, aside from finding a bug in an app? So long as multitouch works well in the app in which you need it, we wouldn't worry too much. But you don't have to take our word for it. You can download Multitouch Visable Test and MultiTouch Visualizer from the Android Market and try it yourself.

 

Reader comments

Throwing fuel on the Nexus One and Motorola Droid multitouch fire

22 Comments

on the first test it still followed the fingers... it just inverted the projected image. on the second app it shows inverted points as soon as u go to 2 fingers. when using 2 fingers so u cant actually make the conclusion that its not inverting because it automatically shows an inverted point as well as the regular one. both programs lock up for a half sec as soon as u cross lines on the Nexus 1 which shows that the N! has a harder time with multitouch than the Droid.

That was the first thing I noticed in the video. Given the way that the second app displays its results, it's impossible to tell if it is correctly tracking multiple points or if it's inverting them like in the first app.

The only thing you can conclude from this test is that the second app is worthless when it comes to demonstrating the problem.

I'm not sure if this actually proves anything. The original test shows where your finger is. The second test does not. It could of still flipped but because the lines are mirrored you wouldn't know this. Don't get me wrong. I am hoping to get a Nexus One as soon as it comes out for Verizon, but this doesn't seem to be a conclusive test! :)

Multitouch Visible Test keeps track of each touch point separately, using x- and y-indexes. The problem shown in the Multitouch Visible Test app is that the y-indexes of the two touch points were being swapped, so it thought your fingers were on the other two points of the box than they really were.

Since this app doesn't distinguish between the two points, you can't tell that the indexes have been swapped.

Wow, Phil, do you not understand what you're seeing?

The first program shows you where your fingers are touching.

The second program does not. It shows you 4 points in a square with no indication of which one of those points are being touched by what finger. So the Nexus One is probably flipping the coordinates as shown by the first program, yet the visualization in the 2nd program doesn't have a way to show that.

Seems pretty obvious. Looks like an embarrassing question to bring up. Trying to protect the Nexus One too much.

Looks like the person in the video doesn't know what he is talking about. Leave only one diagonal line that connects two fingers, and he will see the difference.

But at least, that shows N1 won't make a big problem using pinch to zoom.

As people keep pointing out, the difference between the apps isn't in the coding -- it's in the display. By showing rectangles, you mask the problem with the N1. Of course, for simple pinch-to-zoom stuff, it's not going to make a difference. For other apps, it will be really annoying.

It is worth noting that apps could probably be written to be immune to this problem. That is, what the N1 is screwing up in hardware could be fixed in software. That being said, it's wrong to say that having a software fix means that there is no problem with the N1; it's crazy that developers would have to hack in a fix for this one tiny little phone when other Android devices work fine.

Oh man, Phil. Brain freeze maybe while writing this? As everyone who has seen this video has pointed out, the MultiTouch Visualizer app shows four points of intersection when you touch it with two fingers and does not disambiguate which of those two points are where your fingers are so even if it were switching up the axis like you saw before, you wouldn't be able to tell the difference. Strange that this app does this four point intersection business, my guess is that the developers made it like this because they observed the axis bug.

I don't understand that if the Nexus One multi-touch is so screwed up, then why does it work in real-life applications?

Sure you can explain to me how pinch & zoom is not affected by the switch axis.

But explain to me how apps lime Smart Keyboard work fine on the Nexus One, despite requiring two precise points to be activated (i.e. shift button and a letter)?

Because the problem only occurs when you move your fingers around a lot and get close to one another and then far away again. You're probably not doing that when typing.

I think both tests are ridiculous, I use multi touch on the N1 every single day and have never had any issue with it , it works flawlessly and even smoother than my former iPhone 3gs

Seriously folks...what is with the fascination with multitouch? It works on both phones. It isn't even that big a deal anyways. I barely even use on mine.

it actually looks like some multitouch games dont work for the nexus 1, specifically the 2 multitouch pong games. this might be because of the problem stated here since the axis switch quite often during the game.

If the first program worked perfectly well with the Droid, there is no reason it shouldn't work just as well as on the Nexus. Let's just admit HTC messed up somewhere along the line. And for the people who constantly diss Moto in favor of HTC, well here's a little
reality check. I'm sure HTC will take care of the problem - probably in the next version (lolz).

1) The author is just trying to be informative. Stop acting like douchebags and criticizing him so directly. Why not try offering HELP instead. Seriously.

2) I have a Nexus One and I never have trouble with multitouch. It works well enough. So why are we all obsessing over it? Stop it already, there are better things to discuss.

Both apps used in the comparisons (on this post and elsewhere) work on my Hero exactly as they do on the N1. Seems like a hardware issue to me.

However, I'm going to agree with the vast majority: it doesn't matter.

does anyone think they will get this issue fixed on the CDMA version of the N1? I have read on a google forum that this might be a hardware issue.