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Android founder Andy Rubin confesses platform was originally intended for "smart cameras"

Posted: , by Victor H.

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Android founder Andy Rubin confesses platform was originally intended for
Android’s founders originally wanted to create a platform powering a future of “smart cameras” that would easily sync with computers, but the cell phone boom changed this original intent.

"The exact same platform, the exact same operating system we built for cameras, that became Android for cellphones," Android’s co-founder Andy Rubin said.

Rubin showed visitors of the economic forum in Tokyo slides with the first marketing pitch for Android from April 2004 where he speaks of a camera hooked up "wired or wireless" to a computer connected to an "Android Datacenter."

However, in a couple of months after that it became clearer that cameras are on a downward trend and the pitch changed to “open-source handset solution.”

Rubin also confessed some interesting things about what he thought was competition at the time:

"We decided digital cameras wasn't actually a big enough market," said Rubin. "I was worried about Microsoft and I was worried about Symbian, I wasn't worried about iPhone yet."

While that is an interesting thing to say, there is another important detail to Android. It was designed to be mass-market from the onset:

"We wanted as many cellphones to use Android as possible. So instead of charging $99, or $59, or $69, to Android, we gave it away for free, because we knew the industry was price sensitive," he said.

As to the future, Rubin promised that while he won’t head Android he’d continue bringing products for consumers:

"I can pretty much guarantee you that whatever I do next it's going to be something that delights consumers."

source: PC World

22 Comments
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posted on 16 Apr 2013, 08:22 1

1. TechBizJP08 (Posts: 495; Member since: 25 Mar 2013)


Not worried about iPhone. Hmm interesting..

posted on 16 Apr 2013, 12:50 7

18. johnbftl (Posts: 193; Member since: 09 Jun 2012)


Of course he wasn't worried about the iPhone. If you bothered to actually read the article it states this was in the middle of 2004. Apple announced the iPhone in 2007. If you use rudimentary powers of deduction you would see he could not fear a product that wasn't yet conceived.

posted on 16 Apr 2013, 08:22

2. naveenstuns (Posts: 172; Member since: 19 Feb 2012)


smart camera???? what was that?

posted on 16 Apr 2013, 08:24 5

3. xperiaDROID (limited) (Posts: 5494; Member since: 08 Mar 2013)


Rubin : "I was worried about Microsoft and I was worried about Symbian, I wasn't worried about iPhone yet."

I love that part!

But unfortunately, Symbian is dead. I don't know whether this is possible or not, but I hope someone will revive Symbian back alive!

I really miss Symbian! ;(

posted on 16 Apr 2013, 08:31 6

7. recond9 (Posts: 49; Member since: 11 Jan 2013)


You miss those days,not Symbian.Its was an outdated OS,anyway,with no change of becoming something big today.An article that described what happend inside Nokia back those days,say that it would've been way to expensive to revive the OS and make it look and feel modern,like Android let's say.

posted on 16 Apr 2013, 08:37 6

9. No_Nonsense (Posts: 826; Member since: 17 Aug 2012)


You don't get it, symbian was far more capable of doing what android does in lesser hardware. And FYI, symbian was an inspiration for android and like it or not, its capable and a cool daily driver at least the one on 808.

posted on 16 Apr 2013, 09:06 5

12. Shubham412302 (Posts: 298; Member since: 09 Nov 2011)


are you joking.
symbian had great features.
even data management and log etc are not better in android till now.
symbian log had all details of your contacts.
even 256mb ram is enough to run asphalt 6 and other games. well symbian devices with 1ghz processor doesn't lag where as android lags.you can do better multi tasking in symbian in android.
it showed running apps and not recent apps which is good.
belle is smooth but dead because of elop
many features of symbian are still missing in android. so you need to get third party apps.
only apps was a problem which led to dead of symbian.
apps had better control over hardware in symbian.

posted on 16 Apr 2013, 09:33 1

13. xperiaDROID (limited) (Posts: 5494; Member since: 08 Mar 2013)


I miss Symbian!

You said it was an outdated OS because it is DEAD! Duh!

If Nokia decided to revive Symbian back alive and redesign it, add a bunch of games and apps to the store, Nokia will be rocking right now!

Who helped Nokia to be popular? It's Symbian!
Remember Nokia N95, N96, N97?

posted on 16 Apr 2013, 11:48 2

14. Aeires (unregistered)


That's the story that Elop wants remembered. The reality is they had to kill off Symbian so they could jump in bed with MS. Symbian still had a lot to offer and wouldn't have been that much of an undertaking to polish for today's standards.

posted on 16 Apr 2013, 12:22 3

15. recond9 (Posts: 49; Member since: 11 Jan 2013)


I loved Symbian on my n95 and etc,but on a touch phone it still feels outdated and crashes very often (i had a C7)
And come on guys,you know what i am talking about,don't defend it so much.
I am not a troll or anything,but they did a good thing killing it ,becuse it was just to bad for 2012-2013.
Thumbs down probably coming...

posted on 16 Apr 2013, 12:44 1

17. xperiaDROID (limited) (Posts: 5494; Member since: 08 Mar 2013)


Dude, I know most of the peoples including you think that Symbian feels outdated on a touch phone, but it can be redesigned. But nevertheless, Symbian is still the lord of the OS! :)

posted on 17 Apr 2013, 06:52

22. recond9 (Posts: 49; Member since: 11 Jan 2013)


Was...now is gone.

posted on 16 Apr 2013, 08:25 1

4. recond9 (Posts: 49; Member since: 11 Jan 2013)


Good thing that someone there thinked about making it a mobile platform. ;) Otherwise today's mobile reality would looked so much different.(in a bad way)

posted on 16 Apr 2013, 08:27

6. MobileJunkieJr (Posts: 46; Member since: 15 Mar 2013)


I don't think so...i think Symbian would have been alive. And it would still rule...if not some competition from BADA.

posted on 16 Apr 2013, 08:34 1

8. recond9 (Posts: 49; Member since: 11 Jan 2013)


They tried to revive Symbian it when the iPhone started to have success.They failed,because it was way to expensive to rewrite the whole thing to become a proper touch OS.Bad management i would say.

posted on 16 Apr 2013, 08:53 1

10. Deaconclgi (Posts: 274; Member since: 03 Nov 2012)


What year is this? You talk like it is 2008 and Symbian = S60 5th edition on the N97 and it's hacked on touch UI, resistive screens, double tap (select and confirm selection), lack of kinectic scrolling, Oh, we got caught by surprise days.

You do realize that since that era of time that you are seemingly talking about, the Symbian UI was redesigned successfully From S^3 to Symbian Anna, to Symbian Belle, Nokia Belle/Refresh, Nokia Belle FP1 into Nokia Belle FP2. Belle FP2 has a modern, completely touch centric UI that is easy to use and very similar to Android's UI behaviour and vice versa.

Sure there was bad management but the Symbian of today is not the same Symbian that you are talking about and it is definately "a proper touch OS".

posted on 16 Apr 2013, 12:27 1

16. recond9 (Posts: 49; Member since: 11 Jan 2013)


It's still very nasty to use,you have to agree.

posted on 16 Apr 2013, 08:26

5. MobileJunkieJr (Posts: 46; Member since: 15 Mar 2013)


Uh...so a device like the Galaxy Camera was really meant to be there before Droid happened???

posted on 16 Apr 2013, 08:54 2

11. Sniggly (Posts: 7047; Member since: 05 Dec 2009)


Great little article, and only confirms some of what we knew already. The only major change that Android made in the wake of the iPhone was the switch to a touchscreen centric operating system.

posted on 16 Apr 2013, 14:54

19. biophone (Posts: 1893; Member since: 15 Jun 2011)


Only? That's huge!

posted on 16 Apr 2013, 16:20 1

20. ZeroCide (Posts: 692; Member since: 09 Jan 2013)


I'm not buying it. I remember when the anouncement for android came i out. The it was still in alpha stages, and even then it was a smart phone software to compete with windows mobile and the upcoming iphone. Cameras weren't a big thing but smart phomes were up and coming.

hmmmm maybe it was camera software before google aquired Android Inc.

posted on 17 Apr 2013, 04:10

21. Trex95 (Posts: 544; Member since: 03 Mar 2013)


He's worried about the Symbian cause low end Symbian phones still out sales low end android phones and some mid end Android.

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