HTC/Google: Focused on design or keeping Apple happy?

It looks like Google is continuing to abide by Apple's wishes in avoiding adding multitouch capabilities to its Android phones. HTC's latest Android phone, the Magic, sports a touchscreen (and loses the original G1's keyboard), but it doesn't do multitouch. The new phone, which is expected to be available in Europe next month, also doesn't have an audio jack. And all that makes you wonder: How much pressure is Apple exerting over Google Android anyway?

According to the iPhoneBlog.com, Google and HTC's reticence to include multitouch and a 3.5mm headphone jack may indeed be due to Google's need to keep Apple happy. As they say, "iPhone eyeballs are more valuable to Google than the G1’s multi-touch at this point."

But it could also be due to smart design considerations. Reportedly, HTC eschewed the 3.5mm audio jack on purpose, and instead favors the ExtUSB. In fact, the device maker's leaked 2009 roadmap is pretty much a cheerleader for the ExtUSB, with no mention of the 3.5mm jack at all. And while avoiding multitouch is smart in the short term, since Apple seems to be ready to pounce on its legal patent claims at a moment's notice, perhaps HTC just sees multitouch as a cumbersome fad. As one commenter says:

Multitouch is an inefficient fad requiring 2 hands. It’s only use is for games (to make hand-eye coordination hard!). If you look at G1 appmarket browsers like Steel, they solved the zoom, copy-cut-paste issues with a novel one handed way that’s very intuitive.

What do you think? Does Google continue to cave to Apple or is it--and HTC--simply focused on better phone design. Join the discussion and let us know.

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