Dan Moren Reviews the T-Mobile G1

Detailed review of T-Mobile’s Android G1 by Dan Moren:

Unfortunately, the usability of Android’s browser is limited by a few factors: among them the lack of multitouch functionality. There’s no pinch-and-zoom as there is on the iPhone; instead, when you scroll, you get a translucent bar at the bottom of the screen with zoom in and zoom out buttons, along with another button that gives you a full-screen view of the page. In that mode, you can drag a loupe-like viewer around; when you release your finger, the view will zoom in on that section of the page.

It works okay, but it’s somewhat kludgy and the whole experience feels like surfing the web with a periscope. Having to move your finger down to hit a specific button to zoom in or out is a pain: when you want to zoom in on a particular point of a page (say, a small link), it’s annoying to have to move your finger back and forth between the zooming and panning around the screen to find the part you want to see. 

The only natural interface for arbitrary zooming on a touchscreen handheld device is multi-touch pinching. There’s no conceptual abstraction between the gesture and the result. It’s the sort of broad, general idea that should not be patentable but unfortunately is. Palm seems ready to use it in the Pre, though.

Sunday, 25 January 2009