Ever wonder why the Android-powered T-Mobile G1 doesn't support multi touch gestures such as pinching? The platform can clearly support it, as it has been demonstrated by third party developers, so perhaps the decision not to include multi touch was a political one rather than technological. At least according to VentureBeat which, citing an unnamed Android team member, claims Apple asked for the little favor.
If true, then it would confirm what we've been hearing from Apple lately: the company is ready to protect the technology behind the iPhone and has even hinted at legal action against Palm for using multi touch technology on its new Pre smartphone. The idea of a company crippling its own product just to keep Apple happy seems odd, to say the least, but Google could have much to gain by staying on Apple's good side.
The iPhone comes out of the box with Google Maps installed, Google's search engine built into the mobile version of Safari, a YouTube client and of course there is the fact that Google CEO Eric Schmidt has a seat on the board at Apple. Perhaps they were willing to sacrifice multi touch, but keep a powerful partner happy. Eventually, however, multi-touch might become important enough that Google has to include it in future phones running Android. Time will tell.