On the left, a render of an Android phone from Google's initial SDK
Support for touchscreen input was not a part of Android in the form the operating system had before Apple unveiled the original iPhone in early 2007. The latest legal spat between Samsung and Apple brings new revelations about the history of Google’s operating system, revelations coming from the highly confidential Android Software Functional Requirements from July 6, 2006. The document, meant to inform hardware makers about the platform, explicitly states that Android at the time required a physical numeric keypad with 5-way navigation buttons, and does NOT support touchscreens.“Touchscreens will not be supported,”
Google writes in a 2006 Android device specification document. “The product was designed with the presence of discrete physical buttons as an assumption. However, there is nothing fundamental in the products architecture that prevents the support of touchscreens in the future.”
In a revealing change of course, just a year or so after that 2006 document was published, the same document evolves from the 0.91 version to the finalized 1.0. There, the software functional requirements for Android take a U-turn: point 3.11.2 in the Android Software Functional Requirements v1.0 dated November 10th, 2007, now states the following:“A touchscreen for finger-based navigation - including multi-touch capabilities - is required. Stylus-based navigation is not supported.”
Leaked documents reveal that Google changed its mind about touchscreen support on Android (on top is the 2006 draft is above, below it - the 2007 version
Obviously, this radical change in course for Android happens just after the official launch of the original Apple iPhone.
Those early documents about the Android system show a lot of other extremely curious details like the fact that Android planned to use Microsoft’s FAT32 file system. This would later lay in the very foundation of hardware makers facing legal trouble, and being forced to pay huge license fees to Redmond. You can see the leaked documents in their entirety at the source links right below.
source: Android Software functional requirements (2006 version
, 2007 version
) via Recode