Who Copied Whom?

By Tim Butler | Posted at 0:12

Since Apple has been busy with their patent suits against Android phone manufacturers, certain parties have made claims about how Android was already going where Apple headed with an all touchscreen phone before the iPhone. Thus, a presentation the Verge discovered which presents what an Android phone was originally suppose to look like is enlightening:

Exact specs for those first concepts aren't detailed, but Google does spell out what it had in mind for the least common denominator across Android devices. […] At that time, touchscreen support wasn't a requirement — in fact, the baseline specs required two soft menu keys, indicating that touchscreens weren't really in the plan at all.

Keep in mind that this plan was communicated a month or so before the iPhone launched and over year before Android finally came to market in the United States. Google was clearly aiming to copy the BlackBerry until the iPhone completely changed what people wanted in a phone. To his credit, Thom Holwerda, who has been a vocal critic of this suggestion in the past, has admitted that this new revelation shows he was wrong.

Re: Who Copied Whom?

I had a 100% touchscreen phone a decade ago, before there were even rumors of an iPhone and before the Blackberry. I forget the manufacturer, but it was a Palm-based phone on the Sprint network. There was also a flip-version that included a hard keypad, but mine was all soft-buttons on screen. It was basically a thick Palm device with a phone “app.”

I loved it - until I cracked the screen and it was useless.

Posted by Caedmon Michael - Apr 26, 2012 | 6:56

Re: Who Copied Whom?

Yup. I remember those. I think the pre-iPhone touchscreen phones fit into a different “genre,” though. Some of the Symbian devices were touchscreen back then, too, although all of them used styluses and generally seemed to take more of a “scaled down computer” format to the design. (Although admittedly PalmOS was better than most.)

Posted by Tim Butler - Apr 28, 2012 | 18:36

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