When I delivered my Nexus One first impressions I had three main gripes: no multi-touch, a slightly less responsive touchscreen than the Palm Pre and iPhone and no substantial integrated memory.
Well, much like the Olympus attempts with the PEN E-PL1, Google has made amends: it has launched a new firmware to finally enable multi-touch. Unfortunately there's little to be done about the other two (they're hardware issues), but not only is this a major step forward for the Nexus One, it could well prove to be a major step forward for Android handsets in general.
The firmware itself is labelled '2.1-update1', a description which rather downplays its significance. So how extensive is the implementation? Happily, just as thorough as the iPhone and Tech Crunch has a video (above) taking you through its paces. Maps, browser and photos/gallery all benefit and it appears to work very well indeed.
Funnily enough I actually asked Google execs at CES specifically about the lack of multi-touch implementation and stressed it was a crucial omission. Despite my pressing they gave no reason for it at the time, but their expressions certainly gave the distinct impression Apple - either in terms of a patent or gentlemen's agreement - was a major factor. So with relations seemingly breaking down between these two giants it looks like Android is the one to benefit.
Note users with non-standard Android installations such as HTC Sense or Motorola's Motoblur will likely have to wait some time for these skins to be made compatible. All of which makes me question: are skins really necessary, and what is the point in them adding features if their inability to seamlessly accept new firmware then subsequently denies quick adoption of additional functionality?
In related news Apple has also updated iPhone firmware to v3.1.3 and it's about as dull as they come:
- Improves accuracy of reported battery level on iPhone 3GS
- Resolves issue where third-party apps would not launch in some instances
- Fixes bug that may cause an app to crash when using the Japanese Kana keyboard