Google’s Android may well be the world’s most dominant mobile platform with over 85 percent market share but its beginning seem too humble right now. According to new images brought to light as part of Oracle’s court case against Google, Android was merely trying to copy BlackBerry phones before Apple launched the first iPhone in 2007.
The image being produced in front of a jury shows Google originally planned to introduce an Android smartphone in 2006, which was nothing short of a BlackBerry. The image depicts a mobile device with a BlackBerry-esque keyboard and a screen, the features considered popular back then. The documents further detailed by The Verge show that Google did not plan to add touchscreen to the smartphone initially and instead opted for a business-friendly design.
The device, planned in 2006, also comes with average specifications, including a 200MHz processor, 64MB of RAM, a 2-megapixel camera and a miniSD card slot for expandable storage. It also planned a higher end variant with support for additional features such as Bluetooth 2.0, GPS and WiFi connectivity.
The images were shown as part of an ongoing trial where Oracle has filed a lawsuit against Google over its user of Java in Android. Another set of images displayed during the deposition shows user interface elements that can be navigated using the directional trackpad similar to BlackBerry. Oracle claims Google copied code from Java while building Android operating system for mobile devices.
It also reveals that Google planned to launch Android in the summer of 2007 but delayed the launch due to the arrival of an all-touchscreen iPhone at the start of 2007. Google was forced to go back to drawing board with its Android strategy. Soon after the launch of iPhone, Google changed an Android specifications document to add that touchscreen would be supported but a separate physical button will be need.
“A touchscreen cannot completely replace physical buttons,” the document reads.
In early 2008, Google finally showed an Android prototype device that had a touchscreen but also featured a form factor similar to that of BlackBerry. The first real Android smartphone camera later that year in the form of T-Mobile G1. The G1 was an interesting product that married the new touchscreen interface with an old-school QWERTY keypad that you flip out to type.
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Since the introduction of T-Mobile G1, Android has only been growing both in terms of popularity and market share. Soon after its launch, former Google Chairman Eric Schmidt resigned from its position as Apple’s board of director and the company continued to challenge Apple in the mobile domain. As Android gained traction, Apple decided to take Android smartphones to court citing design patent infringement and even gained a lot of money from Samsung. It is definitely a tech story of lifetime.