A new report released in court have shown that Google’s Android phones were meant to have a very different look. Until the iPhone was released in 2007, and it became clear that changes would be needed if they were to compete.
Originally, the Android OS was going to be like many others at the time. The regular Android phone would feature a plastic keyboard for QWERTY use, and no touchscreen compatibility. Though it did state that touchscreens may be a future release.
The homescreen would have a basic widget section that was “meant to be simple, graphic representations or interesting ideas. Examples include: current weather, stock quotes, sports scores.”
It failed to provide many details, but did say that eventually they would come up with WAP, music and photo management and and email support designs. At the time of the document’s creation, no specific plans in those areas had been put into play.
But then something happened that changed everything. In 2007, Apple’s Steve Jobs took the stage at a tech conference and stunned the world with what would be one of the most popular mobile devices ever made.
The original iPhone was a step way from the usual status quo of smartphones. Jobs said that other brands were too clunky and hard to use. He and his team had set out to change that.
Chris DeSalvo, who had moved from Apple to the Android team, was shocked.
As a consumer I was blown away. I wanted one immediately. But as a Google engineer, I thought ‘We’re going to have to start over.’
The plans for the Android phone had been in development for almost three years. That work had to be scrapped, and a brand new design was drawn up.
Changes included a touchscreen that operating on finger movement and touch, a full web browser that supported online integration beyond general email use, an entirely new interface, a multi-format multimedia player and import tool, and a lot more.
The final result was an HTC device titled the Dream/G1. It was launched a year later, and was a starting point for the development of what flies under the Android banner today.
It was interesting to see the report, and how one brand can so heavily influence another. Competition is a driving force, and without the iPhone we wouldn’t have the growing domination of multiple-branded Android compatible smartphones as they are today.