Both Android and the iPhone dominate today’s mobile market, but in its early stages Android sounded a lot more like BlackBerry than iPhone.
As part of the ongoing patent trial between Apple and Samsung, an internal Google document was just made public, revealing some of the first concepts for Android-powered smartphones.
Early Android didn’t support touchscreen input before the iPhone was introduced in 2007. The OS relied on physical buttons for navigation, but support for touch made it into the finalised version of Android 1.0 that debuted after Apple’s first iPhone.
Here’s what it says in the original document detailing Android 1.0, which was originally spotted by Re/code:
Touchscreens will not be supported; the Product was designed with the presence of discrete physical buttons as an assumption. However, there is nothing fundamental in the Product’s architecture that prevents the support of touchscreens in the future.
Google had scrapped its original plans for the first Android-powered smartphone after Apple unveiled the iPhone about seven years ago, according to Fred Vogelstein’s book “Dogfight: How Apple And Google Went To War And Started A Revolution.”
Andy Rubin, the original creator of Android that sold his startup to Google for $US50 million in 2005, was watching a web cast of Apple’s smartphone launch in the back of a cab in Las Vegas. He made the driver pull over so that he could watch the whole thing.
“Holy crap, I guess we’re not going to launch that phone,” he said, according to Vogelstein’s book.
An Android engineer also said that what they had at the time look so nineties in comparison to what Apple had launched.
Today, Samsung’s Android-powered line of Galaxy S smartphones is the iPhone’s most formidable opponent in the mobile space. Apple is attempting to sue Samsung for more than $US2 billion, claiming that Samsung infringed on five of its mobile software patents. Samsung, in turn, is counter-suing Apple, claiming it infringed on two of its patents.
Many have argued, however, that Apple’s real vendetta should be against Google rather than Samsung, since many of the Apple patents in question involve the Android operating system in general and aren’t features that are exclusive to Samsung’s smartphones.
Here are the two documents describing early versions of Android from 2006 and 2007, which were uploaded to Scribd by Re/code’s Ina Fried: