Multi-touch: Many questions to one desire....

Shawn Rutledge shawn.t.rutledge at
Tue Mar 4 19:54:18 CET 2008

On Tue, Mar 4, 2008 at 8:42 AM, Michael 'Mickey' Lauer
<mickey at> wrote:

>The ubiquitous zooming and rotating examples are not convincing me at all.

They seem pretty cool to me.

>  So... where are those usecases that apply to a phone?

How do you right-click on a touchscreen?  The old way has been to hold
down the stylus for some timeout period.  But with multitouch there
are other alternatives.  One will probably emerge as the standard.
You might even be able to detect different fingers by the shape of the
contact patch, so different fingers have different actions.

I'd like to play with it, but right now my choices are: buy an iphone
and hack it; or build my own FTIR table.

Without even thinking about specific use cases though, isn't it clear
that multitouch is the superior technology?  If you add a new
capability and allow developers to play with it, new uses will emerge
which nobody has yet thought of.  Besides it's more durable: it won't
mechanically wear out like resistive touchscreens do, and the screen
can be glass instead of scratchable plastic.  Maybe even could be a
mineral crystal like a good watch.

Maybe you are just making excuses based on the fact that you think
multitouch is unobtanium at this point?

It has been discovered that the necessary chip is made by Broadcom,
with the model number BCM5974.  Funny thing is, when you google that
you just find a zillion copies of the same blog by someone who
disassembled the iPhone (and the Air) and discovered that; I haven't
found anything on Broadcom's site.  So I don't understand if Apple was
able to coerce them into making it exclusive.  I mean, Apple bought
Fingerworks and thereby got the technology, right?  Then what... they
said well we don't have a fab, do we? so they made an agreement with
Broadcom to manufacture the chips on the condition that they are not
allowed to sell them to anyone else?  (Just guessing)  Well how long
do you think that will last?  Maybe the exclusivity expires after some
period of time; and Broadcom knows that either they will find a way to
sell to everyone, or the competition will catch up and do it for them.
 Soon we will see another supplier, because it's too hot to be
ignored.  (It's also a good question, who made the chips for
Fingerworks.)  In a couple years there will probably be chintzy LCD
multi-touch wristwatches or something.  By that point it will be

But FIC ought to try to feel their way around this situation: chat up
the sales guys and FAE's at Broadcom and find out if there's any way
to buy this chip.  It reputedly costs a mere $3.  I agree, the next
Neo needs this capability.

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