Touch Screen Issues on Nexus One and other Android Eclair Devices

Neither of my Android handsets seem to like it when I touch them. I know I have cold hands but that’s no excuse.

I have both a G1 and a Nexus One. The G1 is currently running a custom 2.0 ROM and the Nexus One is still stock 2.1. Intermittently, when I touch the screen on my G1, it will register the touch on a completely different area of the screen. The same goes for my Nexus One. While using the virtual keyboard on the Nexus One, if any other part of my hand besides the finger I am using to type comes anywhere close to the screen (even the very edges), my keyboard acts very erratically and types it’s own characters.  This is incredibly annoying (and yes, I complain a lot but this time it’s not just me, so there 😛 ).

Looking for answers on the Google Nexus One Help Forums, we found a thread regarding this issue with over 600 responses. A Google employee replied with a very “Googley” response:

Hello everybody,

I’m dropping in to let you know that we are still investigating the problems some of you are having with the touchscreen. Getting to the root of a problem like this can be very difficult because there are a variety of things that could be the potential cause.

Some of you may have seen the touchscreen behaving strangely because of the way you are holding the phone. Please make sure you aren’t touching the screen in two places when gripping the phone. If you are trying to register a touch and another part of your hand (or your sleeve even) is also touching the screen it won’t work!

If this turns out to be a software issue, we will attempt a fix via an OTA update. For now, completely turn off your Nexus One and then power it up. This typically stops any strange touchscreen behavior.

Lastly, a small percentage of you probably have hardware issues. This is likely the case if entire areas of your screen have become permanently unresponsive. In this case, view the warranty details in our Help Center and contact HTC for support.

Thanks for your continued patience as we work to sort this out, it is hugely appreciated!

-Ry Guy

From reading thru the posts on the forum, I am worrying that this is a hardware issue but sincerely hoping that it’s a software issue.

The reason I think it’s possibly a hardware issue has to do with the fact that both the G1 and the Nexus One have capacitive touch screens. For those of you that don’t know how a capacitive touch screen works, it consists of an insulator coated with a transparent conductor. Seeing as the human body is also a conductor, touching the surface of the screen results in a distortion of the body’s electrostatic field, which is measured as a change in capacitance. So, this could be an issue with the way HTC manufactures their touch screens.

But, these issues have also been reported to occur while the handset is stationary on a desktop and NOT being touched at all. They also didn’t start happening for me until I was running a 2.0 or higher ROM on my handsets. So, it could very well be a software issue and if that’s the case we can expect (and hopefully soon) a quick OTA fix from Google.

If anyone is running Donut (1.6) or (heaven-forbid) Cupcake (1.5) and is experiencing these same issues, please let us know. 😉

Source: Google