Early Android developer talks how the team had to 'start over' when Steve Jobs announced the iPhone

Early Android developer talks how the team had to 'start over' when Steve Jobs announced the iPhone
Chris DeSalvo, one of Android's co-creators, confirmed that when they saw what Apple did with the first iPhone, the team immediately realized it has to start over.

Chris was working together with Andy Rubin at Danger, before Microsoft acquired that. Google then scooped their offshoot Android project to develop its own mobile OS, and by the time Apple announced iOS and the original iPhone in 2007, Android, it seems, had been already two years in development. What Google's Android team had concocted at the time in terms of hardware, was something more akin to BlackBerry phones, as you can see in the thumb image, rather than built for a touch-centric new mobile OS like Apple's.


The Sooner project that Google has been working on so far was superior in terms of software flexibility, as it had its own web browser and Google's apps, its own app store API, and was meant to be independent of the hardware platform it will be run on, but the prototype phone itself, had nothing to do with the user-friendly iPhone.

Thus in the aftermath of the Steve Jobs announcement in 2007, Andy Rubin went on record saying "“Holy crap, I guess we’re not going to ship that phone,” referring to the Sooner project, that you can see in the slideshow below. The rest is history, and although Android was born with the launch of the G1, which still had a keyboard, that ship has irreversibly sailed nowadays, and we have Apple to thank or blame for that. “We knew that Apple was going to announce a phone. Everyone knew that. We just didn’t think it would be that good,” comments Ethan Beard, one of Android’s business development execs at the time.

It turns out that Google had a touchscreen phone prototype in the works, too, codenamed Dream, but deemed interacting with it too forward-thinking for the general public just yet, just like Nokia did, and too risky to put resources into. That notion was completely turned on its head by Steve Jobs, and Google fast-tracked the touchy-feely phone a year or so, to launch something that was a mixture of the Sooner and Dream projects, at the same time trying to implement the things Apple didn't do with the first iPhone as an added value in the G1.


source: TheAtlantic

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55 Comments

47. bibekpachhai unregistered

Even though iPhone wasn't the first smartphone to be built, it was the first smartphone which was consumer friendly. It isn't complicated and can be used right out of the box. Same can be said about android but even though android is similar, apple took a risk and succeeded in it. I have always been an android user but I give that credit to Apple.

50. 14545

Posts: 1835; Member since: Nov 22, 2011

What? WinMo wasn't difficult to use. It's only failing was that it didn't have an "app store". That was really apples only innovative feature. They put things(apps) where they were easy to find. With WinMo you had to go looking for apps. Other than that, I would say it was every bit as easy to use. Then apple knew how to market the heck out of it. I could do cut and paste on my winmo device long before apple even thought about incorporating it.

37. Lycan155

Posts: 254; Member since: Nov 24, 2013

Apple leads others follow

41. darkkjedii

Posts: 31809; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

A great leader has to also be a great follower though. (Ios7) is an example.

35. JerryTime

Posts: 468; Member since: Nov 09, 2013

Great great article, and you have to give credit where credit is due. Apple definitley pushed the envelope with the release of their original phone and mobile OS. I even carried the first 3 models. But, now Apple's "little brother" has grown out of Apple's shadow. Kudos to Google and the Android system, for taking a great product and making it that much better. I can't wait to see what tomorrow brings in the mobile industry.

40. darkkjedii

Posts: 31809; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

+1 to that JT.

32. Sniggly

Posts: 7305; Member since: Dec 05, 2009

And of course crowing iOS fanboys won't bother reading the part where its said "yeah, we had a touchscreen prototype, but we didn't think anyone would want it yet." This only corroborates what I've always said; the only thing Google changed was to shift Android into a touch centric OS rather than dominated by a physical keyboard.

42. jroc74

Posts: 6023; Member since: Dec 30, 2010

Exactly.....of course some ppl would totally overlook: "It turns out that Google had a touchscreen phone prototype in the works, too, codenamed Dream, but deemed interacting with it too forward-thinking for the general public just yet, just like Nokia did, and too risky to put resources into. That notion was completely turned on its head by Steve Jobs, and Google fast-tracked the touchy-feely phone a year or so, to launch something that was a mixture of the Sooner and Dream projects, at the same time trying to implement the things Apple didn't do with the first iPhone as an added value in the G1." Google had an all touch screen phone and BB like phone in the works. What some may not know is the BB like phone remained an Android developer phone well into 2010, maybe 2011.

26. Abo3amood

Posts: 10; Member since: Nov 16, 2013

damn that looked like a calculator for a second. i wish if we had such advance android calculator nowadays

24. Sire3008

Posts: 87; Member since: Sep 26, 2013

What would've happened if Jobs patented the concept of touchscreen Smartphones? I guess we would've been worse off than we are today. Patents on the contrary impedes development unlike many think but I wouldn't deny the fact that it can encourage innovations(mainly theoretical because nothing moves forward without a standard)

19. darkkjedii

Posts: 31809; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

This is very interesting, to say the least. Android has come a long way, and no matter what people say (yes I'm talking to my fellow iOS users), iOS's recent advancements are there cuz googles been kicking apples butt In the lab. Both of these platforms have inspired each other, that much is obvious, but I feel that google has been pushing the envelope more so than apple. iOS 7 clearly shows that apple is feeling the heat, and I don't see apple resting on their laurels anymore. They can't afford to with el goog steadily pushing the envelope. I'm looking forward to the future of these two giants, and will continue to purchase devices from both. I'm darkkjedii, and I approve this message.

23. protozeloz

Posts: 5396; Member since: Sep 16, 2010

At last! Common sense! Too bad this post will be ignored by most of the readers around here

25. Izoe

Posts: 150; Member since: Sep 02, 2010

so true, great post

30. DaNTRoN

Posts: 135; Member since: Jul 23, 2012

Plus 1. Unbiased account. X drives Y. Y, in return, drives X.

36. JerryTime

Posts: 468; Member since: Nov 09, 2013

I but heads with DJ constantly, but he got a +1 on this from me. Great Post

38. PapaSmurf

Posts: 10457; Member since: May 14, 2012

I, PapaSmurf, approve of this message also. +1

39. darkkjedii

Posts: 31809; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

Gotta give credit where it's due, as we say in the gym...android is beastin. To deny its contribution is silly. Thanx fellas

17. JMartin22

Posts: 2426; Member since: Apr 30, 2013

Creating a "standard" for a mobile operating system is Apple's only real legacy as far as handheld computational devices are concerned. However, today, they're largely outclassed when it comes to offering functionality AND simplicity. Now they're largely about catching up with real innovators on the firmware side and trying to litigate over menial reasoning. They're still good "trend setters" when it comes to making unusual or unorthodox things mainstream

15. Yaldabaoth

Posts: 42; Member since: Jun 06, 2012

Is that... ExtUSB?!

13. taikucing unregistered

I want this first android phone.

12. REXTECH

Posts: 15; Member since: Dec 04, 2013

Xerox. copying has cost .

8. Slammer

Posts: 1515; Member since: Jun 03, 2010

The industry should've been on this earlier. Taking an ipod touch and adding phone capabilities, was too simple yet a huge move forward. Sometimes the simplest things that dont seem relevant, can be the best ideas. All you have many times, is a gut feeling. Go for it. No doubt the first iphone was revolutionary. John B.

14. illusionmist

Posts: 157; Member since: Jan 29, 2013

You got it mixed up... iPod touch is iPhone minus phone capabilities. It came later than the iPhone.

7. Trunks101880

Posts: 4; Member since: May 21, 2012

So sooner and dream....they combined both prototypes and came up with the G1. I would not say they copied...I would say Apple forced there hand for the better. All in all....instead of saying one is better then the other...cant we enjoy the fact we have kickass phones across the board?

4. alterecho

Posts: 1106; Member since: Feb 23, 2012

I'll bookmark this page for later use.

31. sprockkets

Posts: 1612; Member since: Jan 16, 2012

Better bookmark this one too showing that the above wasn't the only prototype. http://asia.cnet.com/an-early-look-at-googles-android-62034337.htm#1

43. jroc74

Posts: 6023; Member since: Dec 30, 2010

Yup. But for some reason that 2nd pic is always not found or overlooked in the fanboy battles.

3. Zylam

Posts: 1827; Member since: Oct 20, 2010

Ahhhh Android copied iOS? Daniel P, the Android breathing preteens here will wet the bed and not be able to sleep for 10 years now, as their religious beliefs have been ruined. So Android first tried to copy BB, than copied iOS. LMAO.

5. xperiaDROID

Posts: 5629; Member since: Mar 08, 2013

Android fans don't need to get mad at this, everyone need to know that if there's no iPhone, there will be no smartphone. Just be happy with the OS you're using, folks! P.s. I'm not helping Apple.

6. ajac09

Posts: 1482; Member since: Sep 30, 2009

See thats the issue with iphone users they think everyone should drop their own wants to go with what they want and nothing else.

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