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Droid Touchscreen Less Accurate Than iPhone's

CmdrTaco posted more than 4 years ago | from the click-on-this dept.

Input Devices 198

gyrogeerloose writes "A test published by MOTO labs comparing the accuracy and sensitivity of smartphone touchscreens among various makers gave the iPhone top marks ahead of HTC's Droid Eris, the Google-branded Nexus One and the Motorola Droid. The test was conducted within a drawing program using a finger to trace straight diagonal lines across the screens and then comparing the results. While it's not likely that a smart phone user is going to draw a lot of lines, the test does give some indication of which phones are most likely to properly respond to clicking on a link in a Web browser."

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Obviously... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30722978)

This is not the droid you're looking for.

Re:Obviously... (1, Informative)

electricbern (1222632) | more than 4 years ago | (#30723084)

Yes, the droid that most accurately responds to your finger can now be found at http://www.truecompanion.com/ [truecompanion.com]

Re:Obviously... (2, Interesting)

TrisexualPuppy (976893) | more than 4 years ago | (#30723460)

I am a Droid user and ran my own experiment. I drew a bunch of lines in a drawing program and got waviness.

But what does this really mean? The Droid is not as good as the iPhone if you are buying it to use as a graphics tablet, but c'mon, who does that? I am able to use the web browser, keyboard, etc. with absolutely no problem. It seems to me that this article is just here to try to get publicity for the person who wrote it and the person that I will not name. :)

Re:Obviously... (4, Informative)

DJRumpy (1345787) | more than 4 years ago | (#30723688)

It reflects resolution, and shows 'dead spots' in the touch surface that the OS/Software must 'guess' as to approximate location. Granted it's not a very scientific test, but it does show some interesting weaknesses in the varous implementations. For instance, on an iPhone, you can click on a link that is only a few pixels in height and be relatively sure you'll get the correct link out of a list of links.

If you'll think back to the days of low resolution, when you were trying to fit a decent image into a 16x16 icon representation, you get an idea of what this may be showing. If the touch capacitance screen doesn't have a grid address for a specific spot you're trying to touch, it will have to guess between the two nearest points.

This is very similar to mouse resolution.

A more valid test would be to use a 'robotic' finger that could apply exact pressure across all phones, but it does give a decent general idea as to how they stack up.

Re:Obviously... (2, Informative)

pegisys (1616521) | more than 4 years ago | (#30724402)

I don't think anyone's fingers are slim enough to click on a link that's only a few pixels big since the screens are so small anyhow. These screens are small and made to be finger friendly, that type of accuracy is not needed I don't think. For larger screen that are meant to be used instead of mice then that's a different story.

Re:Obviously... (4, Informative)

Sebilrazen (870600) | more than 4 years ago | (#30723694)

...The Droid is not as good as the iPhone if you are buying it to use as a graphics tablet, but c'mon, who does that?...

This guy. [jorgecolombo.com] (Left 15 images... one of them was actually a New Yorker cover.)

Re:Obviously... (1)

Pharmboy (216950) | more than 4 years ago | (#30723828)

Wow, very cool stuff. Why he does this on his phone, I have no idea except for art's sake, but still a true testament of what *is* possible.

Re:Obviously... (1)

gnapster (1401889) | more than 4 years ago | (#30724162)

The 15th image has this in the caption: 'Pen on paper, 8" x 5"'. Are you sure you meant that picture?

Re:Obviously... (0, Troll)

A nonymous Coward (7548) | more than 4 years ago | (#30723710)

No, it means the iPhone is best at determining finger position and movement. Zoom a picture, rotate, or just select a position within a text file or an icon, and the iPhone will do a better job than the others.

It also means you didn't RTFA and only posted to get publicity for your half baked opinion.

Re:Obviously... (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30723126)

Who'd have thought it - an FP that's actually funny!

What generation of Iphone is being compared here ? (0)

parallel_prankster (1455313) | more than 4 years ago | (#30723042)

They dont seem to mention the Iphone generation anywhere. Is it fair to compare the third generation of a product to new products out there right away ? I think other phones can pick up on touch sensitivity etc in future generations.

Re:What generation of Iphone is being compared her (3, Insightful)

potscott (539666) | more than 4 years ago | (#30723064)

It is when the new products are positioned to be direct competitors of the third gen product.

Re:What generation of Iphone is being compared her (4, Insightful)

sznupi (719324) | more than 4 years ago | (#30723066)

It's perfectly fair if that "3rd generation" product came out half a year before "disadvantaged" contenders.

BTW, why only big touchscreen devices? There were supposed to be, y'know, cheap ones with Android by now.

Re:What generation of Iphone is being compared her (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30723072)

How would it NOT be fair to compare current phones to current phones?

I think future generations of the iPhone will make my [noun] [adjective]. Should we just go ahead and say it's a feature today?

Re:What generation of Iphone is being compared her (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30723082)

Yes it is fair. This is only information. A consumer only cares about how the current product works.

Re:What generation of Iphone is being compared her (4, Informative)

icegreentea (974342) | more than 4 years ago | (#30723190)

They are testing a first generation iPhone. This test is interesting, but not really useful. As some of the comments point out, diagonal lines really aren't the best indicator for accuracy when hitting links or whatever. As usual, the lack of consistency that comes from using a single human being comes into play. While you don't need a machine that always draws perfectly straight lines, you need a machine (or guide) that draws the same lines for each phone.

Some extra detail from the story. The iPhone has poor detection along the edges (basically flattens out diagonals into vertical or horizontal lines), the Nexus One has the best. Not that important as most UI elements aren't right at the edge anyways. The waviness in some of the tests suggests that the sensors or algorithms may be biased into vertical/horizontal motions (makes sense from a gesturing point of view).

If they really wanted to test how well the touchscreen reacts to hitting links and stuff, I don't see why they just don't go test that. Load up the same sites and keep track of how well it reacts to you hitting links. At the very least, if they wanted to do the drawing program test, it would make more sense to test what happens when you try to hit points, instead of drawing lines. So you could put some magic marker dots on the screen, and have the user hit them and look for the overlap or something.

All in all... shows off some interesting stuff. Suggests some interesting things about the behavior of the different touchscreens, but really not all too conclusive, and really points to further testing/refinement of procedure.

Re:What generation of Iphone is being compared her (2, Insightful)

dontPanik (1296779) | more than 4 years ago | (#30723418)

It seems to me that diagonal lines aren't that bad of a test actually. Just hitting links doesn't seem as good of a test, because the line test is more generalized. FTA:

Instead, the lines look jagged or zig-zag, no matter how slowly you go, because the sensor size is too big, the touch-sampling rate is too low, and/or the algorithms that convert gestures into images are too non-linear to faithfully represent user inputs.

From this, it looks like the line test actually does a good job of determining how accurate the touch screen is going to be overall.
You can still say the person drawing the lines is inconsistent, but I'd say that's not a big deal, considering it's just an online article.

Mechanical versus human testing... (1)

klubar (591384) | more than 4 years ago | (#30723426)

A more accurate way of testing this would be to use an x-y positioning device and test hitting specific areas of the screen and report back the x-y coordinates that were hit. Repeat over a few thousand points. Test for line drawing; view with optical scanner. Repeat test for equivalent of 3 years usage.

This would give you a valid measure of the accuracy of the screen decection and it's longevity. On wait a minute, the iPhone can't use a mechanical device but relies on the capacitance of the pointing device. Guess you'd need to build something fancier.

What ever happened to solid scientific testing?

Re:Mechanical versus human testing... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30723634)

the real world happened.

the device has to cope not only with single points but with lines (cf. gestures) which is way harder. a simple point test would succeed on any of these phones.

plus you DON'T use them with a x-y positioning device you use them with your big and probably sweaty and/or greasy fingers. there's software in these phones to cope with that. THAT'S why you see smooth lines on one and jiggly nonsense on another.

Re:Mechanical versus human testing... (2, Informative)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 4 years ago | (#30723646)

Keep in mind, when you touch a touchscreen with your finger, the contact point is not where you think you're touching.

Re:Mechanical versus human testing... (2, Funny)

icegreentea (974342) | more than 4 years ago | (#30723684)

Actually, cap screens work with any conductor. I mean, hell, a hot dog works on a iPhone. You could use that in your mechanical device. Though a giant metal probe would also work. But the hot dog is more fun, and probably gives better results... a lot more like a finger.

Re:Mechanical versus human testing... (3, Interesting)

silent_artichoke (973182) | more than 4 years ago | (#30723970)

A "hot dog", huh? Sure...

Re:What generation of Iphone is being compared her (1)

psm321 (450181) | more than 4 years ago | (#30723604)

I know my MyTouch 3G also has poor detection along the edges... hitting the keys on the far left or right of the virtual keyboard is much harder than those in the center. That's one application where there are UI elements right at the edge.

Re:What generation of Iphone is being compared her (1)

Jeffrey Baker (6191) | more than 4 years ago | (#30724168)

Yes! The Ion/MyTouch has terrible response at the edges. Hitting "P" or "Del" is very difficult.

Re:What generation of Iphone is being compared her (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30723192)

Is it fair to compare the third generation of a product to new products out there right away ?

Fairess isn't an issue. Consumers are presented with various options today. They need to compare them today. We don't have to be worried about hurting the poor phones' (or manufacturers') feelings with the unfairness of it all.

Re:What generation of Iphone is being compared her (1)

obarthelemy (160321) | more than 4 years ago | (#30723266)

it is fair to compare products available now that represent the best and brightest of what I can buy with my money.

Re:What generation of Iphone is being compared her (2, Funny)

riegel (980896) | more than 4 years ago | (#30723276)

I would guess that the 1st gen was/is just as accurate as the 3rd gen.
But you can build your straw man. They are easier to tear down that way.

Re:What generation of Iphone is being compared her (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30723454)

Let's see... Apple developed the Newton and has offered handwriting and gesture recognition built into OS X for many years now. Ya think that maybe Apple figured from previous experience that accurate tracking might be important in the case of the iPhone's touch screen, seeing how it's integral to the interface API, and made the effort to be sure it was done properly from the start?

As fot the Future Generations... The test is for what's current, not the next generation. Obligatory car analogy: if you're buying a car this week, next year's model isn't going to play much of a role in deciding what you buy.

Used "a program" ? (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30723058)

Was the program written to the same quality in all platforms? Or did they just slap together one quickly to get some juicy headline out? A more worthwhile test would be to go to the same websites in the same stock browsers and log the number of error clicks. Blah.

Re:Used "a program" ? (1)

furball (2853) | more than 4 years ago | (#30723104)

Does that measure the quality of the touchscreen or the quality of the web browser?

Re:Used "a program" ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30723188)

If the goal is to measure the average user's clicking experience then the answer is both. That would test the average user's clicking experience who just bought a device and is using the stock browser to do clicking.

Re:Used "a program" ? (1)

Zocalo (252965) | more than 4 years ago | (#30723528)

You could even that that point to another stage of abstraction. The OS UI, and by implication any style guides and applications, plays a key role in the requirements of the screen sensitivity. If your OS needs very precise, pixel perfect selections then you either need a highly accurate and expensive touch screen or a stylus, but if you design your UI around chunky buttons and screen sized-gestures then you can get away with a much less accurate and cheaper screen.

A far more meaningful metric would be to have a number of testers each perform a number of typical "real world" tasks on the phones using bundled and popular third party applications, then see how many errors and retries were required. That might lead to something actually useful like Phone A is good for one set of tasks, but Phone B is better for another set of tasks. One would hope that the common set has the expected core functions like making calls and so one, but given some of the abysmal phone UIs I've seen over the years, I wouldn't count on it.

Re:Used "a program" ? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30723164)

"These aren't the results I wanted to see, therefore the methodology is flawed!"

Re:Used "a program" ? (1)

assantisz (881107) | more than 4 years ago | (#30723282)

Well, I am not a fanboy but the methodology of this test is flawed: using your own finger is not precise enough; using only a one-sized sample of each phone is not really scientific; so is not using the exact same algorithms for turning the touch screen events into on-screen pixels. The list goes on. I wouldn't be surprised that the iPhone's screen is better but the video does not convince me.

Re:Used "a program" ? (3, Insightful)

icegreentea (974342) | more than 4 years ago | (#30723334)

It doesn't matter if a finger isn't "precise" enough. The purpose of the testing is to determine real life performance. So you should be testing with something as precise as you would use in real life. What does it matter if a phone can detect the exact position of a pen point, when it goes nuts trying to find the center of your fingertip. What matters is consistency. In that case, the methodology is wrong. A single human isn't not consistent enough, even over the number of repetitions shown.

Re:Used "a program" ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30723456)

The methodology used wasn't documented sufficiently, from what we can see about the methodology we can conclude that it's sloppy and he didn't double-blind or collect enough data to do the proper statistics. And even if the data collected is valid, the conclusion he tries to draw isn't supported by it.

Welcome to the world of the API (4, Insightful)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 4 years ago | (#30724186)

Was the program written to the same quality in all platforms?

It's a DRAWING PROGRAM.

As in, they take in whatever pixel input the system gives them and spit them out on the screen. "Quality" does not enter into it, because they are all using the same API's that just have the OS feed them a stream of points.

It's representative of the quality of touch accuracy you will have in other apps because they, too, will just look at what points the OS is presenting the user as having touched.

Well of course drawing lines is important (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30723062)

If you can't even draw a straight line, or the line is offset by a certain amount of pixels, the user is going to have a hell of a time clicking on links, presings tiny buttons, typing with an on-screen keyboard, etc, so not only would he have problems actually "drawing a picture" with his finger. This was actually a very good test.

I own an iPhone, and I can draw complex images with my finger, scrult a 3D sculpture with a particular program I have, and accurately type and click. I have nothing to compare it to but i know how accurate the iPhone is.

Re:Well of course drawing lines is important (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30723114)

I own an iPhone, and I can draw complex images with my finger, scrult a 3D sculpture with a particular program I have, and accurately type and click. I have nothing to compare it to but i know how accurate the iPhone is.

Your message didn't happen to be typed on said iPhone, did it?

Re:Well of course drawing lines is important (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30723352)

nah cause an iPhone would auto correct that, i tried it on mine.. So, to summarise, fail.

Re:Well of course drawing lines is important (0)

stephentyrone (664894) | more than 4 years ago | (#30724282)

Ha! Mod parent informative.

Re:Well of course drawing lines is important (4, Interesting)

MBGMorden (803437) | more than 4 years ago | (#30723518)

This is my biggest problem with my phone (a Moto Krave ZN4). I already had an iPod Touch, so figured "Hey, this touch screen thing is pretty cool. - I'll get one for my phone.". Didn't work out so great. While I can type away just fine on the iPod (I've started leaving my laptop home most of the time now since if I'm near a hotspot my iPod Touch does 98% of what I want to do on a laptop), on the Krave trying to do a text message on the onscreen QWERTY keyboard is just painful. Try to press one key - it registers the one beside it. Try to hit backspace. It registers a letter instead. Finally backspace across the two bad letters. Ok, now CAREFULLY try to press the letter I want. Nope, grabs the key beside it again. Not to mention the contacts list. I've just gotten used to apologizing to people because half the time when I tap a contact to call it calls the person next to them. This was particularly embarrassing when I was trying to call my brother at 4am over Christmas break because he overslept to go duck hunting - it the phone dialed one of the department directors at work which happens to be right next time him. After that I started prefixing all work contacts with #'s just so they'd stay away from my personal contacts on the list.

I'm not buying another touch screen phone now without testing it in person first to make sure it feels right.

PS Yes, I know the obvious answer would be to just get an iPhone but AT&T nor any other GSM carrier gets signal where I live.

As a G1 user... (4, Interesting)

foodnugget (663749) | more than 4 years ago | (#30723102)

I have to admit that I am somewhat underwhelmed. I got the G1 shortly after it came out a year and a half or so ago, and the touchscreen definitely falls short of what it could be. It is FAR less responsive than the iphone's, and the accuracy could indeed be better. I was coming from a winmo 5 device, so i'm still incredibly happy with it, relatively speaking.

So the big question is whether or not all the manufs of android devices are using the same screen/screen chips, or if android has a fundamental problem interpreting data off the screen?

Re:As a G1 user... (1)

SaDan (81097) | more than 4 years ago | (#30723298)

I've had the opposite experience, at least using the onscreen keyboard on my G1 compared to iPod Touch and iPhones. I find the onscreen keyboard easier to type accurately on the G1 compared to the iDevices so far.

As for browsing on the G1, I haven't had too many issues, but I think the iPhone does do a better job of detecting which link I'm trying to "click" on.

Re:As a G1 user... (1)

Dr. Evil (3501) | more than 4 years ago | (#30723510)

The iPhone UI is so robust and responsive that it is *fun* to play with. No other phone I've seen so far comes close to that.

So what? (1)

MrEricSir (398214) | more than 4 years ago | (#30723108)

Does whether or not you can draw diagonal lines on a screen really make a difference? As long as you can still click web links and the on-screen keyboard (where applicable) then who cares?

Re:So what? (4, Informative)

Enry (630) | more than 4 years ago | (#30723320)

As a Droid user, I think I can answer this.

In order to unlock the screen, you can use a gesture to unlock it. About 75% of the time, it works fine but the remainder of the time the gesture is not recorded correctly. There's a few games (word search) that often have issues marking an entire word.

Only owning an iPod Touch, it's hard for me to do a side-by-side comparison since I don't do the same things with the droid as I do the touch. All that aside, I love the Droid.

Re:So what? (3, Insightful)

_Sprocket_ (42527) | more than 4 years ago | (#30724276)

As a Droid user, I think I can answer this.

In order to unlock the screen, you can use a gesture to unlock it. About 75% of the time, it works fine but the remainder of the time the gesture is not recorded correctly. There's a few games (word search) that often have issues marking an entire word.

Only owning an iPod Touch, it's hard for me to do a side-by-side comparison since I don't do the same things with the droid as I do the touch. All that aside, I love the Droid.

I'm also a Droid user. I rarely have issues with the lock screen. The impression I've had is those times that I do, it's because I was trying to do some one-handed thumb swipe or slashing at the screen. I'll have to pay closer attention but I would have a hard time at this point thinking that this test has much practical application to my experience. Of course, I also do not use an iPhone or other Android phone so I have nothing to compare to.

I do, however, miss the curved unlock widget. I prefer it over the newer, current linear one.

Maybe, maybe not. (2, Insightful)

sseaman (931799) | more than 4 years ago | (#30723124)

While it's not likely that a smart phone user is going to draw a lot of lines, the test does give some indication of which phones are most likely to properly respond to clicking on a link in a Web browser."

A "gaming-grade" mouse and surface might have better sensitivity but I won't likely see a difference in browsing.

Re:Maybe, maybe not. (2, Insightful)

jone1941 (516270) | more than 4 years ago | (#30724072)

I think your comparison is a little off. If you look at the differences between these devices I would say it's closer to comparing a modern optical mouse to an old ball mouse. From my experience there is absolutely a difference between those two devices when browsing the internet or performing any other precise task. Perhaps I'm exaggerating, but I always though "gaming-grade" mouse and surfaces were akin to putting v-tech stickers on the side of your car.

So, restricted to capacitive screens (3, Informative)

Eunuchswear (210685) | more than 4 years ago | (#30723156)

Re:So, restricted to capacitive screens (0, Redundant)

JasterBobaMereel (1102861) | more than 4 years ago | (#30723488)

They compared the iPhone, an HTC phone running android, another HTC phone running Android, and a Motorola running Android .... ..at something they are all not very good at

and they left out the devices that are good at it ... and the iPhone "won"

the obligatory Car analogy

This is like testing a Lambourghini, Ferrari and a rebadged Ferrari, and Concluding that the Lambo is the best because it is only moderately bad at off-roading and ignoring a 4x4 !!

Re:So, restricted to capacitive screens (1)

beelsebob (529313) | more than 4 years ago | (#30724074)

Pardon? Since when is the iPhone bad at having a touch screen? Which phone does it better?

Re:So, restricted to capacitive screens (4, Insightful)

Eunuchswear (210685) | more than 4 years ago | (#30724138)

The point is resistive screens do "accuracy", capacitive screens do "responsive" and "multi touch".

They're testing screens for accuracy and they only look at machines with capacitative screens.

The iPhone has multi-touch, it beats the pants of the N900 for "responsiveness", but it's nowhere near as accurate.

Re:So, restricted to capacitive screens (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30723790)

Redraw that using your fingertips and then we can talk.

What's important (5, Interesting)

electricbern (1222632) | more than 4 years ago | (#30723168)

Although drawling lines might be important to some, what really matters to most smartphone users is how the phone responds to misclicks. Is it able to detect it and adjust accordingly? There is more to it then the accuracy of the screen. You are using your phone while standing or walking so even if the screen is 100% accurate you probably won't be. What kind of correction algorithm the phone has to compensate for that?
Of course creating a considerate test is too much trouble and just saying that the iPhone touchscreen is more accurate then Google's scores you plenty of apple-love.

Re:What's important (4, Insightful)

calderra (1034658) | more than 4 years ago | (#30723280)

Precisely. Maybe the Nexus One is vastly superior at tracing circles. Neither of these results would say anything whatsoever about how the phone actually performs in click detection.

Their conclusion is illogical. (3, Insightful)

onion2k (203094) | more than 4 years ago | (#30723182)

It doesn't follow that a lack of accuracy from dragging in a painting app would affect click accuracy in a browser at all. For example, the accuracy could degrade the longer you hold your finger to the screen due to moisture building up on your fingertip or due to reduced capacitance as the blood flow is restricted.

If you want to test point accuracy then write an app to test that; don't test something completely different and then leap to a potentially inaccurate conclusion.

Re:Their conclusion is illogical. (3, Informative)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 4 years ago | (#30723718)

Their conclusion is perfectly logical: they have Yahoo Research listed as one of their "collaborators", and are apparently selling a system of their own [moto.com] which is Android-based but (in their opinion) better than the standard Android.

Not sure why this is supposed to be a problem (5, Informative)

assantisz (881107) | more than 4 years ago | (#30723232)

I have a Droid and I just tried drawing diagonals in a paint program on the phone. Yes, I did get the waviness. All that means, though, is that the Droid is not a good choice for a phone if you want to draw on it. I am still able to use the on-screen keyboard just fine and even in a web browser I never have problems tapping a link no matter how far I am zoomed out. This is definitely not a deal-breaker for me. That said, the only reason why I have a Droid is because of the physical keyboard and a pretty decent free ssh client. The kids draw on it but they couldn't care less how straight the lines are or not.

Re:Not sure why this is supposed to be a problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30723302)

If you draw lines faster they end up very straight. I don't see this as much of a problem: surely Droid's users write much faster, and are in general more dexterous, more intelligent and more good-looking than iPhone users :)

Re:Not sure why this is supposed to be a problem (1)

darjen (879890) | more than 4 years ago | (#30723336)

yep, I feel the same way about my Droid. works fine, imho. this "test" has nothing to do with real life.

Re:Not sure why this is supposed to be a problem (2, Interesting)

ShakaUVM (157947) | more than 4 years ago | (#30723654)

Eh, I have a Droid and I hate the physical keyboard. The keys are just too tiny - the on-screen keyboard keys are actually easier to hit.

I have an iPod Touch, too, and I'd agree that the iPod's screen is better. Just in terms of overall feel - the droid is actually more accurate when using the on-screen keyboard, but it's way too eager to click instead of scroll, meaning that when you're paging around through your contacts you'll accidentally dial people, and when dragging around inside of the browser, you'll accidentally follow links, etc.

It's annoying, but I like the Droid anyway.

Re:Not sure why this is supposed to be a problem (1)

mewsenews (251487) | more than 4 years ago | (#30723994)

That said, the only reason why I have a Droid is because of the physical keyboard and a pretty decent free ssh client.

Do you happen to have any links illustrating the ssh client you mentioned? Sounds interesting.

Re:Not sure why this is supposed to be a problem (4, Informative)

assantisz (881107) | more than 4 years ago | (#30724080)

Do you happen to have any links illustrating the ssh client you mentioned? Sounds interesting.

Sure thing: http://code.google.com/p/connectbot/ [google.com]

haha (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30723270)

Any win for Apple provokes this knee-jerk reaction on slashdot. You guys never fail to conform.

thicker lines (1)

freetolio (778425) | more than 4 years ago | (#30723272)

A thicker line would exacerbate wave effects.

palm pre has a capacitive screen (2, Interesting)

ngworekara (1027704) | more than 4 years ago | (#30723286)

but they left it out. I'm looking to move to verizon just to get one once the new pre++ or w/e comes out later this month.

Non-Issue (4, Funny)

LinuxAndLube (1526389) | more than 4 years ago | (#30723296)

This is obviously a non-issue. Just wiggle your finger a bit to draw straight lines.

Resolution? (5, Interesting)

phobos512 (766371) | more than 4 years ago | (#30723340)

What effect does the fact that the iPhone has a vastly lower resolution screen play in this accuracy "test"? Seems it would make it easier to be more accurate.

Re:Resolution? (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30723486)

No effect. First, the touchscreen resolution differs from the display resolution. Second, these tests are showing results at the image level, from a distance away. We're not talking about, say, the Droid displaying wiggles on the order of 1-2 pixels. The wiggles subsume a large number of pixels. Further, even though the iPhone has a lower-resolution screen, it makes excellent use of antialiasing. You can observe position changes that, on average, are less than the pixel pitch with such methods.

This has nearly nothing to do with click quality (1)

barfy (256323) | more than 4 years ago | (#30723360)

There is a ton of code in both the Iphone OS and the browser to improve click "quality" of links and buttons and stuff in the product.

They do this, because this is NOT a stylus product, but a product used with fingers. There is even code, that takes account of the consistent errors that YOU, the registered user, make.

They may or may not do this in android.

But at the end of the day, this is not anywhere near the test, nor the conclusions you should be drawing from the test.

Re:This has nearly nothing to do with click qualit (1)

kangsterizer (1698322) | more than 4 years ago | (#30723546)

just rephrase to 'iphone touchscreen using macosx' is more accurate than 'droid touchscreen using android 2.1' happy uh? maybe they can fix it, maybe they can't, its just the current state. the iphone is actually a pretty good device.

Re:This has nearly nothing to do with click qualit (2, Insightful)

NameIsDavid (945872) | more than 4 years ago | (#30723550)

This test is the result of the combined hardware-software system that results, at the end of the chain, in the API providing the app with a position. This is what the test ought to show. It doesn't matter if Apple's hardware or software takes the credit for the improved positional accuracy since the end result is what counts. What it does mean is that if the benefits stem from the post-touch processing in software, Android ought to be able to make the required changes to improve things. Until then, though, this is a test of how things currently stand (for what it's worth ... I agree that there could be different algorithms at play for resolving distinct touches or identifying the targets of those touches compared with line-drawing accuracy).

What would be intersesting to know... (2, Interesting)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 4 years ago | (#30723382)

Is whether other flavors of applications do their own "cheating" to compensate for this.

In the classic desktop keyboard/mouse arrangement, it is more or less taken for granted that the user will be able to accurately press any button, and put the mouse within a couple pixels of any target(with the exception of somewhat disabled users).

Phones with hard buttons and resistive/stylus touch screens more or less closely approximate this.

Capacitive screens, by contrast, are better for finger work; but rather less precise. This creates a strong incentive to write the software to be as silently forgiving of certain errors as possible. Drawing programs are hard, since there is basically no way(short of an artistic AI) to infer the user's desire. You pretty much have to make do with the best your screen can give you. With a web browser, say, you can fairly strongly assume that users are intersted in clicking on links, rather than just jabbing at inert text, and expand the link target area appropriately. Same thing with all the tricks that touchscreen keyboards use, silently expanding target areas in order to augment accuracy.

It is definitely useful to know how good the raw input is, and more accurate is of course better; but in a class of devices defined by fairly inaccurate input devices, the real question is how good the software's intepretation of the input will be.

Re:What would be intersesting to know... (3, Insightful)

dzfoo (772245) | more than 4 years ago | (#30724238)

That would be very true if touchscreens were purely a point-and-click (or aim-and-stab) input control. However, what Apple has tried to do with the iPhone (and the recent "Magic Mouse" is indicative of this trend) is to create a new human-device interface mechanism that depends more on natural and intuitive gestures than aiming and stabbing a specific screen area. Because of this, the ability to track finger movements consistently and accurately is very important.

If, on the other hand, your user interface depends on a literal translation of a desktop point-and-click GUI, designed to be used primarily with a mouse and keyboard, to a touchscreen input control; then, of course, consistent and accurate tracking is less important than detecting the precise region where pressure was applied at a specific time. But if that is the case, the problems are deeper than just accuracy.

        -dZ.

Ah, groupthink (4, Insightful)

schmidt349 (690948) | more than 4 years ago | (#30723434)

If you spent five minutes looking at this outfit's methodology you'd realize that the test is sound, though perhaps a little exacting compared to real-world use cases. But what I love is that the first twenty posts or so basically all offered apologies for the Android phones and denigrated the significance of the test. They couldn't be better PR responses if Google and Motorola had drafted them. If you happen to use and like an Android device, why don't you just admit that it has a flaw and deal with it? God knows it probably isn't going to affect you under most usual circumstances.

I can't tell you for how long I was and still am pissed off about various missing features on the iPhone (auto-SMS, copy/paste, etc.) but I still like the device overall and use it. You don't have to hold this borderline view of the world in which computing devices are either God's work on Earth or Satan's playthings.

Re:Ah, groupthink (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 4 years ago | (#30723792)

iPhone has copy past for a few months now.

Most of the problems with the iPhone is based Apple not playing hardball with AT&T to get the really good features in.

Re:Ah, groupthink (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30723936)

Nice, how about multitasking?

Yeah, the touchscreen on my G1 isn't all that, and I use the little trackball for really dense links and the physical keyboard for typing. It's definitely a flawed machine but I'll take the tradeoffs.

Re:Ah, groupthink (4, Insightful)

jo_ham (604554) | more than 4 years ago | (#30723876)

I was thinking the exact same thing, and if the results had been reversed and the Droid had been on top, we'd have had a flurry of posts talking about how the iPhone is an overpriced and inferior option.

I also have issues with my iPhone (lack of built in MMS initially, lack of cut and paste until recently, annoyance that you still can't sync up your ToDo items from iCal with the built in calendar app and have to rely on third party apps, annoyance that you have to manually disable wifi if are trying to use 3G in an area with a hotspot, where it will try to use that wifi, even if you don't have a password for it, or its one of those web login ones).

What's wrong with saying "the droid's touch sensitivity is less effective than I'd like"? It seems like droid users are just as zealous about their phones as they accuse iPhone users of being.

Re:Ah, groupthink (1)

stewbacca (1033764) | more than 4 years ago | (#30723884)

If you are still pissed of about features that are now available, then you are every company's worst-customer-scenario personified.

Re:Ah, groupthink (2, Insightful)

DeadCatX2 (950953) | more than 4 years ago | (#30724082)

One human drags his finger around a few touch screen cell phones and starts making what appears to be "statements of fact" about the quality and accuracy of those phones. Excuse me if I don't consider the results to be rigorous.

Look at how loaded the headline is. It definitely deserves to be here on slashdot, that's for sure. Go look for topics where the Droid beats the iPhone and you see the exact opposite in effect; people offering apologies for the iPhone or denigrating, etc.

The guy in the linked article goes on about the quality of the construction of the touch screen. Since he's feeling ambitious, he should try the scratch test, to see how easy it is to scratch the various screens. I remember reading that Moto put a lot of money into making a quality screen that is very difficult to scratch...I wonder if that screen is partially responsible for the wavy lines. But due to lack of rigor, I don't think we'll know...

Re:Ah, groupthink (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30724128)

It's called the Stockholm Syndrom

Silly test results... (2, Insightful)

Wint3rhart (1685342) | more than 4 years ago | (#30723502)

"While it's not likely that a smart phone user is going to draw a lot of lines, the test does give some indication of which phones are most likely to properly respond to clicking on a link in a Web browser." I don't suppose they considered instead testing which phones properly respond to clicking on links in Web browsers?

Re:Silly test results... (1)

MemoryDragon (544441) | more than 4 years ago | (#30723926)

The links are less a problem, this works well, it can be interpolated, but the bigger issue is the text input, where the droid fortunately has a hardware keyboard.

Re:Silly test results... (1)

demonlapin (527802) | more than 4 years ago | (#30723928)

It appears to be app-dependent. My Droid always seems to click just below where I touch on web pages, but the painting app I downloaded could draw very, very straight lines. The pinch-zoom browser from the Milestone has helped, and the leaked Swype beta is perfect.

Is this why the commercials show a robot using it? (1)

Lightborn (7556) | more than 4 years ago | (#30723586)

Maybe they're letting us know that it requires more precision...

Diminishing Returns (1)

stewbacca (1033764) | more than 4 years ago | (#30723868)

Much like the FPS discussion in video games from last week, there comes a point where being super-extra-accurate doesn't matter, and this is one of them.

If I was going to test the screen (1)

twoDigitIq (1352643) | more than 4 years ago | (#30723906)

I would make a web page with many links placed close together. Have the same user try clicking the links in a certain order on both devices and record the accuracy. Repeat with multiple users.

BTW I am a Droid owner who has also used iPhone. I've made mistakes "clicking" on both devices but admittedly probably more on the droid. But the fact that the display looks so much better on the droid makes up for the occasional misclick.

My observations of my new Nexus Phone (2, Interesting)

laing (303349) | more than 4 years ago | (#30723992)

My wife and kids all have Iphones and I've used them. I just got a Nexus phone and I love it. I agree with the summation that the screen is not as responsive as the Apple phone. It took me a bit of trial and error but I discovered that you must tap quickly to get the phone to respond well. If you are slow it often seems to ignore the input. This may be a software issue. I hope that it is, and that it will be fixed soon.

I haven't yet seen anybody else make the following observation so I wonder if it's just my phone, but the audio level that comes out of the Nexus is noticeably lower than what comes out of the Iphone. I can turn the volume on the thing all the way up and it is still very weak in comparison. This applies to both ring tones and multimedia audio. This is more likely to be a hardware issue so I will not hold my breath waiting for a fix.

Droid Eris User (4, Interesting)

Odin_Tiger (585113) | more than 4 years ago | (#30724026)

I have a Droid Eris, and as a guy with bigger hands that usually has trouble with these kinds of devices, I have to say I'm very happy with the accuracy - I almost never make a mis-click, even typing quite fast on the touchscreen keyboard.
However, I'm disappointed in responsiveness. The interface reminds me of playing an online game on a shitty internet connection when your roommate is loading a new YouTube video ever few minutes - without warning, for no apparent reason, and rarely in doing the same action twice, a click / tap will take up to 2 or 3 seconds to register. It's accurate, sure, but that's meaningless when I can't tell whether the thing is froze up or it just didn't detect my click, and don't dare click again for fear of accidentally clicking whatever happens to be in that same spot on the next page if the first click did register.

Well.. (1)

demonlapin (527802) | more than 4 years ago | (#30724090)

Software >> hardware.

I have a Droid. The browser always seems to click the wrong link - usually too low. The Android keyboard was marginal. The HTC keyboard was better. Swype is perfect. Most of the other apps are pretty accurate. I downloaded a drawing app and got nice straight lines. Given the amount of effort Apple put into the iPhone OS, it's not surprising that they have a better UI. I wouldn't be surprised to find that the curvature at the edges of the iPhone screen is an intentional effect given the shape that fingers assume when they get to the edge of the screen.

Test Results (1)

derrickh (157646) | more than 4 years ago | (#30724094)

If they wanted to test the accuracy of clicking links in a webpage, wouldn't they have tested it by clicking links in a webpage?

Obviously inferior! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30724100)

Because drawing programs are the 'killer ap' for smart phones.

Different results from this guy (2, Interesting)

Jeffrey Baker (6191) | more than 4 years ago | (#30724180)

I don't have a droid so I can't confirm, but this flickr user seems to have replicated the test on the Droid with far different results:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/42580856@N08/4264037413/ [flickr.com]

A Little Disappointing (2, Informative)

noc007 (633443) | more than 4 years ago | (#30724222)

The legitimacy or how real world it applies aside, I'm disappointed with Motorola on this one. The Droid is an expensive device from a brand name manufacturer made in 2009. I expect a level of build quality, feature set, and accuracy. For a capacitance touch screen released in 2009, I would expect a level of accuracy that's at least comparable to the last generation of the iPhone, not accuracy that's poorer than a first gen iPhone.

Coming from resistive touchscreens on Windows Mobile and Palm devices and the device in general, I am overall pretty happy with my Droid. I do have inaccuracies from time to time, but it's ok. Using the onscreen keyboard has been pretty accurate; most of my errors I have attributed to my finger being in the wrong place. Sadly, this is another weapon for the annoying Apple fanboy; pissing contests are annoying and the constant Apple fanboy counter argument of being about to talk and do data at the same time is getting really old and doesn't apply to how I generally use the device.

In more recent news (0, Troll)

Requiem18th (742389) | more than 4 years ago | (#30724230)

iPod users have bigger dicks than Android users.

IPod users have smaller breasts than Android but only the male ones.

Couldn't repeat (4, Interesting)

limaxray (1292094) | more than 4 years ago | (#30724256)

First off, I have both a Droid and a 32GB iPod Touch. Frankly, I like the touch on the Droid better than the iPod - I find it more responsive and more accurate when playing the same game or browsing the web on both devices. It may just be my perception, but I simply find myself becoming less aggravated with the Droid's touch screen than the iPod's.

While I don't have the iPod with me right now, I do have my Droid and was able to try this experiment. I used an app called 'Simply Draw' and was not able to repeat their results. Every time I try, I get lines that are as straight as my finger can make them. I have yet to produce lines like those in the article no matter how hard I try - even using multi-touch to draw 2 lines at once works perfectly.

One problem I have noticed with the Droid that may be the cause here is the touchscreen is very sensitive to noisy power supplies. Using a cheap wall charger has a HUGE impact on the accuracy of the touch screen. I'm guessing Motorola didn't use any ferrites on the USB signals, allowing high frequency noise from an external supply to negatively impact the device. I suspect placing a ferrite on the USB cable near the phone end would minimize this issue, but have yet to try it myself. Instead, I just use quality chargers.
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