Thursday, May 28, 2009

Counting down (9 days left) to Palm Prē launch: So these are what have made Apple so mad at Palm

Hey do you remember what made Apple so mad at Palm back then, when U.S. Patent Office rewarded the Cupertino-based company with a 358-page thick patent on its iPhone multi-touch technology? Which later on turned into a brawl talk between them two: Apple and Palm, it sure is interesting to know what exactly Apple COO Tim Cook was referring to when he said: "We will not stand for having our IP (Intellectual Property) ripped off and we’ll use whatever weapons we have at our disposal. I don’t know that I can be more clear than that."

At that time and even until now the Prē is not released for public yet, so we can only assume that some of Palm Prē's touch gestures mimic iPhone's multi-touch gestures too close. But as days go by and we're nearing the launch date of Palm Prē, new videos and images are leaking everywhere on the net, revealing newly found Prē's features we've never know before.

One in particular for the case of iPhone multi-touch patent that Apple so madly want to defend, is being revealed in the leaked Palm Prē Gesture Guide. A little brochure which seems to be included in every Palm Prē box, to quickly introduce users on how to make the most of Prē's touch gestures technology. As you can see at the images above, the Prē's touch gestures really work like the way iPhone's do. There's 'Zoom In & Out' by using two fingers gesture at once, or the most close one is how the 'Scrolling' works: by 'flick'-ing your finger to the desired direction. The term 'flick' is basically became popular ever since Apple introduce it in the first iPhone, and it is now being adopted by others in similar function for finger-friendly touchscreen apps, and now in the Palm Prē.

Another worthy tid-bit for you to know, is about the background story on how the Palm Prē got the same touch gesture like in iPhone's. Fortune Magazine (via PreCentral) interviewed Palm executive chairman Jon Rubinstein when he decided to use capacitive touchscreen for the Prē, instead of the ol' resistive touchscreen which is used in Trēo and Cēntro:

Rubinstein started, in his words, "hanging out" with Palm people in late June. He didn't like what he saw. The hardware for the Pre needed to be scrapped and rebooted. For one thing, prototypes were using old "resistive" touchscreen technology that responds to a user physically pushing the screen, not the newer "capacitive" technology manipulated by the electricity in the user's body. Rubinstein tossed out the old phone's hardware and built a new one in about 15 months. "We were basically running a marathon and doing a heart transplant in the middle of it," says Rubinstein.

It is true that resistive touchscreen requires the use of a stylus in order to accurately pin point on it, obviously it is an old technology and Palm need to replace it with newer one: capacitive touchscreen. So by adopting it, Palm automatically must use the same touch gestures that iPhone has.

IMHO it goes back to the basic question I've asked in my post about iPhone multi-touch patent: will it stifle the touch technology? Since the patent covers all of the basic ways to use multi-touch technology that anyone can think of...

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