Xperia X10 does not support hardware multitouch

by X10 on March 28, 2010

in News, Problems

MultitouchOne of the most frequently asked questions I get over the Xperia X10 (apart from when Android 2.1 will be supported) relates to its multitouch features. The handset that has already been released in some regions only features single-finger gestures. It was widely believed that gestures such as pinch and zoom would feature when Android 2.1 is released i.e. its absence being a software limitation.

However, Rikard Skogberg from the Sony Ericsson Product Blog says that the lack of multitouch is both software and hardware limited. His full response is after the cut.

“I don’t have any technical details around the screen to share, sorry! – However I have now gotten confirmation on the question of multi touch. As said earlier there’s no multitouch in X10 – and I also can confirm that it’s not only related to SW but also to HW. Despite this, for future updates of X10 we are of course working on other solutions for e.g. zooming, which has been requested frequently on this blog, such has the solution demoed on X10 mini at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zc3f3twWgzo and similar.”

As you can imagine, this has caused a backlash in the comments section. However, it is worth pointing out that there are very few handsets that sport multitouch displays. For example if you look at Synaptics Clearpad solution there are three different solutions. The ClearPad 3000 supports MultiTouch capabilities (up to 10 fingers simultaneously), the ClearPad 2000 has DualTouch (2-finger) touch capabilities whilst the low-end ClearPad 1000 is a SingleTouch solution.

In a following response from Rikard trying to clarify the situation, he seems to confirm that the display is not even dualtouch.

“Regarding the discussion around dual/multi touch. I would definitely expect someone to tell me in that confirmation if it would be dual-touch. So expect it to be single touch only – sorry.”

Considering that even much older Android handsets have dualtouch capability, it’s surprising if SE only opted for a singletouch display. However, until we definitively know exactly which 4-inch screen the Xperia X10 uses I’m remaining open-minded on this.

Update: Sumit Malhotra from the SE Product Blog has confirmed what Rikard has said:

“Back in November, I posted that X10 will not support multi touch functionality at launch, but will be considered for the future. I can appreciate that even though there wasn´t a commitment, such wording both creates expectations (small or big) on future support and implies restrictions on software side.

That is the information I had in hand at that point of time. I am well aware that you rate multi touch functionality very high and therefore I regret to inform you that X10 screen hardware does not register simultaneous entries. Meaning even though we will upgrade the underlying operating system in relation to upgrading our user experience layer, X10 will not support multi touch functionality. We believe that it is important for you who follow this blog to be clear on that, which is the reason why I want to confirm Rikard’s comment.”

{ 23 comments… read them below or add one }

1 saltorio March 28, 2010 at 4:45 PM

Ya, I’d definitely wait for real confirmations as to whether it supports dual-touch specifically before getting too freaked out.

2 Ian March 28, 2010 at 5:24 PM

Doesn’t support dual touch even? Well, deal breaker. I’ll keep waiting then… Maybe Windows Phone 7 Series will have something for me

3 saltorio March 28, 2010 at 6:36 PM

Lots of comments and questions on the SE Blog (http://blogs.sonyericsson.com/products/2010/03/26/xperia-x10-launch-consumer-research-program-started/#comments). Still awaiting more info from the reps there.

Also a good thread on the matter at XDA: http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=653536

4 David March 28, 2010 at 7:56 PM

Thanks saltorio for the info, much appreciated.

I hope it does have dual touch at least!

5 Pui & Pui March 29, 2010 at 1:22 AM

For me, it doesn’t matter if there’s pinch zooming, multi-touch, etc… I liked the other functions of the phone… The phone will be upgraded to 2.0, 2.1, its already a + for me… My main concern is that it doesn’t lag.

6 David March 29, 2010 at 10:00 AM

Well no multitouch or dualtouch, oh dear 🙁

I am not too hung up on that, but wish Sony Ericsson just came out with it. I will still buy the phone, because the phone has a lot to offer and looks amazing.

7 Greg March 29, 2010 at 1:21 PM

No multi/dual touch is a bit dissappointing 🙁

Also, does anyone know FOR SURE that it will be 16 million colours after an update? I mean, is the 65k colours only an android 1.6 limit or is it actually both HW and SW again? I say this because if you look at the SE site for both the x10 and x10 mini, the mini actually states 16million colours in the specs whereas the x10 only says 65k….

8 David Bowring March 29, 2010 at 5:12 PM

I’d like to think it’s purely the version of Android that’s limiting the colours. As much as I love this phone, I’m really thinking of getting the HTC Desire now. I think that SE will absolutely nail their 2nd Android phone though!

9 Lowca March 29, 2010 at 7:01 PM

I’m not a multitouch-must-have crazy, but in a device for a such price it is a must have! Come on… you may be SE lover (as I am or at least I was until today) but I do not want to be taken as noob by the company which say that X10 will leave competitors behind. It seems that when finaly globally released X10 will be completely outdated. 🙁

10 Aloonatic March 29, 2010 at 8:14 PM

Disappointing, to say the least. Not so much for pinch to zoom etc, as mentioned above, but for typing on the virtual keyboard, which works much better with multi-touch.

This phone costs ~£60 more than the HTC Desire, and for what? A slightly bigger non AMOLED screen, a high Mpixel camera that really doesn’t matter and there’s no news on 720p video recording anyway, and no multi-touch, which only runs Android 1.6 and we’re “”promised” 2.1?

Seriously Sony, WTF? We waited this long for this? If want to wait, I’ll wait for the HTC legend, or EVO 4G.

Actually, thanks for saving me some money Sony. Desire it is. At least HTC seem to know what they are doing when it comes to Android smart phones.

11 saltorio March 30, 2010 at 3:47 AM

It’s absolutely official:

http://blogs.sonyericsson.com/products/2010/03/26/xperia-x10-launch-consumer-research-program-started/comment-page-9/#comment-36032

To quote Sumit Malhotra (SE rep):

March 29, 2010 at 11:06 pm
“Back in November, I posted that X10 will not support multi touch functionality at launch, but will be considered for the future. I can appreciate that even though there wasn´t a commitment, such wording both creates expectations (small or big) on future support and implies restrictions on software side.

That is the information I had in hand at that point of time. I am well aware that you rate multi touch functionality very high and therefore I regret to inform you that X10 screen hardware does not register simultaneous entries. Meaning even though we will upgrade the underlying operating system in relation to upgrading our user experience layer, X10 will not support multi touch functionality. We believe that it is important for you who follow this blog to be clear on that, which is the reason why I want to confirm Rikard’s comment.
We are working on alternative solutions for certain use cases, like zooming. I will share more details about that initiative once confirmed.

Due to vendor understanding and agreements, we don´t discuss in detail regarding hardware specifications. Having said that, X10 is upgradable and as earlier described there will be significant value offered through upgrades. X10 is about to reach stores and early consumer feedback is very positive, also highlighting room for improvement which we will share in due time.

Regards,
Sumit”

12 Aloonatic March 30, 2010 at 2:44 PM

So it’s official.

What happened? Did someone just find the piece of paper at Sony Towers that stated that the hardware specification doesn’t support multi-touch? Just before people get their hands on it. How convenient.

A truly despicable way to behave. They must have known about this for a long long time, and yet they kept it vague. Like the screen colour depth issue, like Android 2.1 support…

I was so close to pre-ordering an X10 too a while back, so glad that I didn’t. You’ve got to ask yourself, after this, how much can you trust these people?

13 Goks March 30, 2010 at 3:57 PM

This is very disapointing..certainly i’ll not invest on an android with no multi touch given i already use Apple…dont know how SE can screw this up so big!

I think its fair to say..unless you want the timescape and mediascape…the HTC desire seems to be a much better option

14 Uknown May 23, 2010 at 8:04 PM

i jus wanna ask a simple Question,
would the xperia x10 hav the multi-touch feature or not ?
plz reply to my email address thnk u

15 Lars June 30, 2010 at 10:05 AM

Does Xperia X8 have HW support for Pinch Zoom?
Will it eventually get Andriod 2.2?

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