CEO(is)h-Snap: Android Founder Rubin Doesn't Like Two-finger Gestures
Engadget confronted Android Founder Andy Rubin -- by all accounts a brilliant and passionate guy who really wants to make great products -- about why the US versions of the Droid and Nexus One don't use the Android 2.0 supported multitouch keyboard and gestures, while the non-US versions do. The response:
"It's not an America versus outside America kind of thing. It's a decision that is a result of the OEM model. I personally don't like two-handed operations... there is no conspiracy."
Both TiPb (because Apple's name keeps come up on the suspect list) and our sibling site, Android Central have been covering this story and it still makes the kind of sense that doesn't. "Like" or "dislike" seems an odd way to talk about something that so affects usability (pinch-to-zoom is intuitive and ingrained enough that it should just be a standard). There were rumors that Google didn't want to violate Apple's multitouch patents in the US, but Engadget looked and couldn't find any that applied to these specific implementations.
Perhaps, as otherwise rumored, there's a gentleman's agreement between Apple and Google, and since Google's CEO, Eric Schmidt was on Apple's board of directors (even though he reportedly recused himself from iPhone discussions), Google could be playing it extra super safe.
Whatever the answer is, however, the founder not liking something is an odd answer as to why it doesn't exist only in his own country. Remember, RIM's CEO doesn't like typing on glass and even he made the BlackBerry Storm...