Unlocking multitouch for Droid and Nexus One

We’re fans of pinch-zooming and that means multitouch. Although the interface is natively supported by both the hardware and operating systems of the Nexus One and Droid phones, it is locked out of the stock installation. You can make multitouch work on both handsets if you’re willing to do a little firmware alteration.

The coding has already been done for you, it’s a matter of loading a custom kernel. Both the Nexus One and the Droid have been rooted, and that’s what you’ll need to do to unlock multitouch with new firmware. In addition to gaining full access to the device OS, you’ll need to load up some different apps that support pinch zooming, etc. Luckily, these are readily available and you may like them better than the stock browser, maps, and photo applications.

Comments

  1. hum4n says:

    is this really worth it?

    I have been waiting patiently for 2.1 for my Droid, and will this just make me have to do the multitouch process again when that comes out?

  2. MrChips says:

    Um, if all you want is pinch-to-zoom in your browser, you just need to download the Dolphin Browser from the marketplace. No muss, no fuss, and whaddaya know, “Pinch to zoom” is included free of charge! (It’s also a lot better browser than the default one that comes with either unit)…

  3. benji says:

    @hum4n

    yes

  4. benji says:

    @MrChips

    have you tried the new Dolphin update? it went from a great app to a horribly slow and ad filled app. was a long time dolphin user, now back to stock. actually the milestone multitouch browser

  5. groogs says:

    Why is this disabled by default? Isn’t it one of the fancy new features these phones have over your run-of-the-mill touch-screen phone?

  6. MS3FGX says:

    Nobody is really 100% sure, but popular theory is that Apple has some sort of rights to multitouch phone UIs in the US, which would explain why the international version of the Droid (Milestone) has multitouch in its stock apps, and Droid doesn’t.

    Personally, I haven’t found multitouch very useful on any phone, and consider it more of a gimmick. These new smartphones have a lot more going for them than pinch to zoom.

  7. lenny says:

    Soooo glad I didn’t update dolphin… I saw the comments saying it runs slow so I’ve been avoiding the update… guess I’m stuck at this version for a while…

    How can it be “locked” when apps can use it without this hack?

  8. kyle says:

    Don’t mess with some goof’s “unlock”! The multitouch is built in and software makers just need to write for the function.

    On the CES podcast of TWIT, Leo LaPorte says he brought up the issue up to a Google engineer and reps. Google said it is a software design issue and it is up to the developers to start rewriting old or write new programs to use multitouch features. That is why people are posting about Dolphin – it is written to use multitouch – it is not a system upgrade.

    Please listen to the podcast for clarification or at least try multitouch software before you brick or otherwise mess up your phone.

    Help stop the Apple Fan Boy FUD! Spread the word.

    Disclaimer: None. I’m a TWIT podcast fan and do not own a Google phone.

  9. 2fast4u says:

    Has anyone actually tried this? They say there is a “slight” chance of bricking your phone? how likely is that?

  10. octel says:

    What other Android phones support multitouch? Where can this information be found?

    I’m specifically wondering about the Motorla CLIQ/DEXT

  11. Jess says:

    My Droid, bought in Europe, has no carrier lock and multi-touch is enabled by default. The feature is only deactivated in phones purchased in the United States (presumably with AT&T as carrier).

    Just thought I’d throw that in here.

  12. 277480 says:

    2fast- It is pretty damn near impossible, provided you have all the appropriate files on the sd card, to brick one of these android phones. I’ve tried.

  13. Mikey says:

    I own a Droid, I bought it in the US, I have verizon. Information I know (accuracy not guaranteed):
    + Verizon is the only carrier in the US.
    + Multi-touch is NOT locked. The stock apps just don’t use it as this is the first multi-touch android phone.
    + It’s the only android phone from Motorola.
    + I was told the Nexus one did not have multi-touch, but it could be that it’s just locked. I was under the impression the ONLY multi-touch android phone was the Droid.

  14. octel says:

    @Mikey
    “+ It’s the only android phone from Motorola.”

    You forget the Motorola DEXT (aka CLIQ in the USA)

  15. Mr_Bishop says:

    im still trying to figure out why the G1 has support for multi touch but you gotta use a custom rom for it. i think the same is for the myTouch isnt it? i mean honestly whats up with that?

  16. Mikey says:

    @octel thanks for the correction!

  17. Gomibushi says:
  18. Zom-B says:

    The HTC Dream also has hardware multitouch support, but I don’t know about the firmware.

    You can verify it by moving two fingers over the screen. It will always focus on the earliest finger that is still present. If you remove that finger it immediately locks on the remaining finger instead. It gets confused with three fingers though and acts random and erratic.

  19. kevin mcguigan says:

    could someone please help me find a touch screen kit for a 17 inch monitor. email me if you know.

  20. Mr_Bishop says:

    @ kevin mcguigan
    A simple google search can do the trick ;)

    http://www.google.com/search?sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8&q=17+inch+touch+kit

    Unless you had something more specific in mind.

  21. Steve says:

    Hmmm, my Motorola Droid, on Verizon has multitouch enabled by default. It works in Google Maps, image gallery, web browser, Google Earth, and probably a bunch of other stuff too…

  22. Greg says:

    I am purching a Droid cell phone. I will be using it out of the country and will need to know what I will need to do so that it can accept another countries phone service. Does the Droid have a sim chip like most cell phones and can I unlock the droid?
    Any help would be great
    Thanks
    Greg

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