Google says Android started before iPhone, again fails to say Android changed significantly after iPhone

Google says Android started before iPhone, again fails to say Android changed significantly after iPhone

Former Apple board member and current Google Executive Chairman, Eric Schmidt, has denied that Android is a "stolen product", charges levied by the late Steve Jobs in his biography(http://www.imore.com/tag/steve-jobs-biography/).

"I've decided not to comment on what's been written on a book after his death. Steve is a fantastic human being and someone who I miss very dearly. As a general comment, I think most people would agree that Google is a great innovator and I would also point out that the Android effort started before the iPhone effort," Schmidt said.

Apple announced the original iPhone in January 2007, saying it had taken 2.5 years of work. That places iPhone development (or iPad/iPhone development as it started off as Safari Pad) somewhere around July 2004. Schmidt joined Apple's board in late August, 2006.

Android was founded in 2003 by Andy Rubin, formerly of Danger (who made Sidekick, which was subsequently bought by Microsoft, and abandoned as the Kin) Google purchased Android in 2005 and showed it off for the first time in November, 2007.

The huge however in all this -- and something everyone but Eric Schmidt and Google seems to remember, and point out whenever they fail to remember it -- Android was originally designed to look like and compete with BlackBerry and Windows Mobile Standard. It was a front-facing QWERTY device with none of the full screen, multitouch, app-centric trappings... until iPhone came around.

Just like Apple and iPhone built on what came before with Palm and Treo, Google and Android built on what Apple brought to market. Google was smart enough to buy Android in 2005 and skate to where that mobile puck was absolutely going to be by 2010.

Whether Schmidt -- who reportedly recused himself from Apple board discussions about the iPhone and was deliberately kept in the dark about the iPad -- engaged in questionable ethics to get that positioning, that fast, and whether or not Google and their ODM partners violated any Apple intellectual property to implement it is a question for the courts and the bank accounts to decide.

Jobs was obvious livid at his perceived betrayal by Google, no doubt informed by his relationship with Microsoft over GUI interfaces on computers in the 1990s, and his desire to go "thermonuclear" highlights those feelings. While Schmidt and Google aren't (yet) involved in direct litigation with Apple, their ODM partners are, so he's presenting the facts as best suits their, and perhaps one days his, case. Apple is doing likewise.

But it remains that, absent iPhone, all our Droid and Galaxy and Nexus loving friends would be typing -- not tapping -- their their little thumbs off on tiny tictac keyboards to this day. Much like, without Google, all us iOS users would be searching Alta Vista and complaining about it over Yahoo! mail...

Source: Reuters

Rene Ritchie

Editor-in-Chief of iMore, co-host of Iterate, Debug, Review, The TV Show, Vector, ZEN & TECH, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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There are 57 comments. Add yours.

jbrandonf says:

This iOS talking point needs to die. The picture of the Blackberry-esque phone we saw was a PROTOTYPE. We do not know what other hardware form factors Google was testing.

quentin says:

Why does it need to die? Speculate all you want about other form factors, it's just speculation, when you can see, historically and realistically, that the iPhone did change the entire ecosystem and change how phones were developed. That's not speculation. Play what if games all you want, what we do know is that Apple did change the game, not that google might have.

jbrandonf says:

Apple did a few things that I think are small but significant when it comes to impacts on the industry.
-They made glass, capacitive screens standard. This is the one I'm most relieved of..there was a disturbing trend in a lot of the early answers to the iPhone that showed that manufacturers thought it was ok to put cheap resistive screens in phones.
-Consumer-focused products. Focusing on business products gave us Windows Mobile.
-Emphasizing ease-of-use and interface.
-Simplifying the ability to add apps to a device.
Among others. Honestly, if it wasn't for the pressure android put on Apple do you think you'd have things like copy/paste, multitasking and MMS? These were things that Apple felt were ok to leave out of the first version of iPhone.

Dayne Jones says:

Talking about who started what is a non issue. Talk about how cool ICS is or how Google is innovating now… not 5 years ago.

quentin says:

Define "innovating" cause fan droids seem to think gimmicks are innovations

jbrandonf says:

Says the guy who now swipes down from the status bar to now access notifications.

quentin says:

1) I've been doing that for years.
2) I never claimed Apple's notification center was innovative
Do you want me to name the ICS things copied or "inspired" by iOS.
There will always be back and forth between platforms, it's called competition.

Gregory Gammill says:

"But it remains that, absent iPhone, all our Droid and Galaxy and Nexus loving friends would be typing — not tapping — their their little thumbs off on tiny tictac keyboards to this day."
You don't seriously believe that, do you? There were on screen keyboards before the iPhone. The industry was leaning in this direction. Granted Apple lept past everyone but to say that there would be no touch screen phones today without Apple's influence is ignorant.

fastlane says:

"... to say that there would be no touch screen phones today without Apple's influence is ignorant."
The truth hurts you, huh? Poor bastard.
The graphic above says it all.

Gregory Gammill says:

If you're referring to the "truth" that Rene stated then please see his comment below.
BTW a little maturity goes a long way when trying to make a point. That way you don't look like an idiot when you're proven wrong.

fastlane says:

Calling someone ignorant is mature? Are you out of your goddamn mind?

Guest says:

You're an idiot. Why do you even post? You never have anything useful to say unless it's being critical of another. Just because you are a single bitter Godless aging male with no conceivable reason for getting up in the mornings, doesn't mean you have to constantly take it out on others.
In fact, you're probably a spineless cowherd. You'd never walk up to a stranger on the street and talk to them that way because you know you'd get your horse face punched.

Orlando Local says:

I feel it's important to point out that Jawas don't say "Pooteenee", as illustrated on your graphic. This is a gross misconception. As demonstrated on the Star Wars soundboard, the phrase is clearly "Utinni!"
Please rectify your error, as hordes of geeks are being misinformed about their heritage.
http://www.starwars.com/play/online-activities/soundboards/

Rob says:

I love the revisionist history here...it's obvious that Android resembled Blackberry and was nothing like the iPhone until after the iPhone was introduced. Schmidt and the fandroids will never admit it, but the facts don't lie.

wonderyak says:

There were actually two different branches of Android from the time of that prototype. There was a BB style phone (which everyone seems to think is THE Android Prototype) and a full touchscreen device: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=1FJHYqE0RDg#t=188s

Erik Bock says:

Google's mantra is there there should be no IP and that any technology is fair game. They obviously ripoff many technologies.

Oletros says:

And you know that it is a fact exactly how?

Oletros says:

If Android did change after the iPhone and the prototype were like Blacberrys how it is possible that?
http://reviews.cnet.com/2300-6454_7-6596827-2.html?s=0&o=6596827
Yes, there were BBesque and touch only prototypes at the same time

Oletros says:

" that was the market."
And this is also plain wrong. Perhaps in USA didn't existed HTC, XDA, iMate, etc, etc. But the market was not BB or Treo, there were a lot of touch only phones

Oletros says:

" that was the market."
And this is also plain wrong. Perhaps in USA didn't existed HTC, XDA, iMate, etc, etc. But the market was not BB or Treo, there were a lot of touch only phones

Oletros says:

" that was the market."
And this is also plain wrong. Perhaps in USA didn't existed HTC, XDA, iMate, etc, etc. But the market was not BB or Treo, there were a lot of touch only phones

quentin says:

The only truly touch only phone prior to the iPhone was the Prada, being the first to use a capacitive instead of resistive touchscreen. The market wasn't touchscreen devices. One of the major complaints people had against the iPhone was its lack of hardware keyboard, the iPhone was the first in the trend, like it or not.

Oletros says:

"he market wasn't touchscreen devices"
Why people thinks that USA is the only country in the world? No, the market outside USA had a lot of touch only phones like HTC, iMate, XDA, etc, they didn't have hardware keyboards
And if the LG Prada was presented before, how can be the iPhone the first in the trend of capacitive phones?

quentin says:

Because the Prada was a complete bust. Something that fails can't really do much to start a trend.
There were a lot of touchscreen devices outside the US, yes, but there weren't any that were ONLY touchscreen devices. And prior to the iPhone, they were all stylus based screens. I've owned a few HTC devices over the years, I'm well aware of their history.

Oletros says:

Ah, LG was the first but it wasn't the first in the trend because it didn't have the success the iPhone had.
Ah, there were a lot of touchscreen phones and not only hardware keyboard phones but hey don't count because they weren't finger touch only.
And you're the one calling others fan xxxx? Pot, kettle.

quentin says:

Do you understand how a trend works? I said in my initial comment that the iPhone started the trend, not that they were the only touchscreen ever made up until 2007.
You keep saying there were a lot, without actually being able to give a single example. I am not even sure what you're trying to say. Are you arguing that the iPhone didn't completely change the smartphone industry? Cause, whether you like Apple or hate them, that would be a pretty stupid and indefensible viewpoint to hold.

Oletros says:

Ye, I know how a trend works and the first in the trend of capacitive finger friendly touch screen was the Prada, not the iPhone.
I have given a lot of examples, the problem is that you think that a phone is touch only if it has a capacitive screen and this is plainly wrong.
I'm not arguing if the iPhone changed or not, I'm only arguing about your plainly wrong statements that the market was hardware keyboard phones and that the trend started with the iPhone.

quentin says:

Within the relevance to this article, and modern smartphones, yes, "touch" means touchable by hand, and not with a stylus. But that's really secondary to the reality of things, and that's that the iPhone form factor and design heavily influenced everything that came after.
Prior to the iPhone, the market absolutely was stylus based touchscreen devices with hardware keyboards. That was one of the single biggest gripes against the iPhone when it was released, is that it wasn't those things. Even the first couple Android devices included hardware keyboards, though they did do away with the need for a stylus. I was already buying smartphones prior to the iPhone, domestic and international, and that's what they were. You can't just rattle off a list of manufacturers and say that defends your point that the iPhone wasn't the first phone to be just a screen (and one button). Even the link you posted about google's prototype was 9 months after the iPhone debut.

quentin says:

Um...November 2007. Long after the iPhone was announced, and even longer after Schmidt joined Apple.

fastlane says:

Schmidt is like a caveman pushing a stone wheel, trying to convince Henry Ford that his Model T was a day late and a dollar short. What a fool.

jbrandonf says:

Nothing does..it very well could've been the primary model they were testing. I'm complaining about certain opinions who claim this was IN FACT what Android looked like without actually knowing for sure.

Druce MacFarlane says:

Oddly, there is truth in most of these comments, on both sides. Android was planned to come in two phases. Phase 1 was to be more similar to Blackberry (or Symbian Series 40), and Phase 2 was supposed to come years later, and was supposed to include touch screen and other high level features. Phase 2 was not well fleshed out because it was so far in the future.
After the iPhone was release, Google scrapped Phase 1 because it would be so far behind, and proceeded with phase 2. For obvious reasons, phase 2 was heavily influenced by iPhone.
So, it is correct that Android started before the iPhone. Even the version that was supposed to have touch screen and higher level smartphone features. It is also true that it changed greatly after iPhone was released. None of this is speculation, or the words of a fanboy. This is all documented in the book "In the Plex", documents the history pretty well.

Heath Newland says:

great vision on the touch screen , Steve but did you really think Google and co were going to let you produce a very profitable device without any competition? If you were that concerned about it why did you kept Schmidt on the board, knowing that they had ideas about progressing down the smartphone route too.
And then there the 'walled garden' thing, yes its kept perfectly but people have to go to enormous lengths to rip out your rose beds and put in a beachvolley court for instance, instead. The world wasn't out to get you, Steve, it wanted stand on the shoulders of giants which is how things progress, little by little

OrionAntares#CB says:

Only response needed for this:
Android is as much a copy of iOS, as iOS is a copy of Windows CE.

Robert White says:

And in terms of form factor... The LG Prada
Or is that some of that slavish copying that Stevie J referred to?

OrionAntares#CB says:

The iPhone cannot be considered a copy of the Prada nor vis versa. Their announcements were too close together to be able to be copies which means co-development.
However, what it does show is that if Apple had not released the iPhone the industry still would have moved in the direction that the iPhone supposedly "pushed" it toward.

Robert White says:

Actually the Prada was announced/released a few months prior to the iphone. If Apple had this stellar design team no doubt they can work up something similar in the amount of time they had.
But indeed it does prove there was already trends in the mobile that everybody claims apple started.

sting7k says:

You could say the only thing the iPhone actually brought was a useful touch screen and connectivity. PDAs of the 90s looked just like the iPhone; a screen, a button(s), and a lock button at the top. They were just big, ugly, had no horse power, and little or no connectivity except with a computer.

OrionAntares#CB says:

Not quite that much even. Connectivity was already around with the ones in the 2000s and designs were continually being refined to "streamline" more and take advantage of higher horsepower components.
Really the only thing that the iPhone brought with it that wasn't already prevalent or working its way to being so was the capacitive touch screen. And even that was in a product release that predated the iPhone release by a few months.

OrionAntares#CB says:

The iPhone cannot be considered a copy of the Prada nor vis versa. Their announcements were too close together to be able to be copies which means co-development.
However, what it does show is that if Apple had not released the iPhone the industry still would have moved in the direction that the iPhone supposedly "pushed" it toward.

OrionAntares#CB says:

The iPhone cannot be considered a copy of the Prada nor vis versa. Their announcements were too close together to be able to be copies which means co-development.
However, what it does show is that if Apple had not released the iPhone the industry still would have moved in the direction that the iPhone supposedly "pushed" it toward.

OrionAntares#CB says:

Only response needed for this:
Android is as much a copy of iOS, as iOS is a copy of Windows CE.

Carlv8415 says:

In my personal opinion and I believe many will agree, the technology that apple used in the iPhone was already available and in use in many devices. Apple was the first company to bring all the technology togther into one device and made it work. Yes android was available before the iPhone so was the tablet pc but look at pictures of tablets before the iPad and then look at them now. Apple is a trend setter so to speak and changed the way we view these devices.

Robert White says:

I guess truth hurts your feelings. Sorry you are so in love with row upon row of icons on a static screen.

Robert White says:

I guess truth hurts your feelings. Sorry you are so in love with row upon row of icons on a static screen.

Robert White says:

I guess truth hurts your feelings. Sorry you are so in love with row upon row of icons on a static screen.

Androidandipad says:

What nonsense... Steve Jobs sociopathic traits were well known, and him raging on Android and the supposed "stealing" of "his property" are typical examples of the narcissist and paranoid worldview of a sociopath.
Android stole as much from Apple as Apple stole from Nokia, LG, Microsoft and many others.
It's called progress folks, it doesn't happen in a vacuum. One idea always inspires another idea. We wouldn't get to where we are today if companies didn't "steal" from other companies.
Besides, you can't really steal an idea...

kiddoc says:

OK OK, you guys are right. There's a million Android phones that all have the same form factor as the iPhone because REALLY they are all copying the LG Prada. It was the trendsetter.

Mr. Orange 645 says:

What I find most frustrating is this site and the Android sites constantly drudging up things to argue about. Then the fans defend their favorite platform like they are personally insulted. It's a phone. I have both an iPhone and a Droid and love both platforms for their similarities and their differences.
Biased articles like this are what is turning this from a NEWS site to a gossip rag. Unprofessionalism at its most glaring obvious. I lost a lot of respect for Rene and TiPB today.

jbrandonf says:

What an excellent comment.

jbrandonf says:

What an excellent comment.

jbrandonf says:

What an excellent comment.