Android fans accuse Apple of copying Samsung first

in iPhone edited January 2014
Immediately after Apple filed suit against Samsung over patent and trade dress infringements, Android enthusiasts have countered that it was Apple that actually copied Samsung from the beginning.

The claim, distributed virally on message boards in the form of a graphic comparing the 2007 iPhone against the Samsung F700, is titled "LOL @ Apple: suing someone you stole the design from to being [sic] with," and portrays an early Samsung phone with a black front, rounded corners and grid of icons, all elements of the complaint by Apple which claims infringement upon its iPhone design by various Samsung products.

The graphic states the Samsung F700 was first shown at CEBIT in 2006, and was released in February 2007, while noting that the iPhone was first shown at Macworld in January 2007 and didn't go on sale until the end of June 2007.

However, the graphic is in error, as Samsung only mentioned plans for the new phone in 2006. It wasn't actually shown until February 2007 at the 3GSM World Congress, held a month after the iPhone's debut. It did not go on sale at that time.

What Samsung actually did

When Apple unveiled the original iPhone in January 2007, Samsung was actually selling a variety of smartphones that looked more like Nokia devices, with a four direction rocker navigation button, six or more buttons for handing calling features, and in most cases, a traditional set of physical number dialing buttons.

The F700 was rushed out to show after the iPhone's debut, and was regarded as an "answer to the iPhone" by reports of the day, one of which observed that it "looks awfully familiar."

However, the F700 also carried a number of notable features that Apple didn't offer until later, including support for 7.2Mbps HSDPA mobile networks (not available until the iPhone 3GS) and a 5 megapixel camera (unmatched until iPhone 4). If anything, it indicates that Apple faced serious technical hurdles in entering the mobile business in competition with much more experienced mobile manufacturers.

What Apple brought to the mobile business wasn't a copy of existing technology, but breakthroughs in original design aimed at usability, with features such as a truly useful mobile browser, tight integration with iPod and iTunes media sync, and a novel app model.

With its Galaxy line of mobile products, Samsung has copied not just the overall look of the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch, but went even further to add a "Touchwiz" layer to Android that makes its devices far more closely resemble Apple's products than other Android licensee have.

After the release of iPad 2, Samsung even publicly admitted needing to redesign its Galaxy Tab to more closely resemble Apple's product.

It was LG, not Samsung, who complained

After the iPhone's debut, it was LG, not Samsung, that complained Apple had copied its design. LG had actually demonstrated its own full-screen smartphone in the fall of 2006, and like the iPhone, it had a largely black, minimalist front. It was first to market with a capacitive touchscreen, the same type subsequently used by the iPhone.

Unlike the iPhone, LG's Prada phone built its user interface using Adobe Flash Lite, with a home screen featuring six round, monochrome icons and a separate menu bar. The phone was intended to sell through Prada stores, at $775.

After Apple unveiled the iPhone, LG's Woo-Young Kwak, who headed its Mobile Handset R&D Center, called a press conference and stated, "we consider that Apple copied the Prada phone after the design was unveiled when it was presented in the iF Design Award and won the prize in September 2006."

The company didn't file a lawsuit however. LG had already shown an affinity for Apple's designs, changing its LG Chocolate phone for the US market to resemble a classic iPod.

Two years later, LG delivered its GM730 phone running Windows Mobile 6.5, with a grid of colored icons above a home row of shortcuts, and rounded corners tipping a hat to the original iPhone. This year, the company is producing an Android-based Optimus X2, which appears closely pattered after last year's iPhone 4.



  • Reply 1 of 304

    Immediately after Apple filed suit against Samsung over patent and trade dress infringements, Android enthusiasts have countered that it was Apple that actually copied Samsung from the beginning.

    Funny. I think you spend more time on Android sites than you do apple. I really think deep down inside DED, you love android.
  • Reply 2 of 304
    Its fairly amazing the revisionist history being undertaken by Google and the Fandroids. I get a laugh out of these people saying Apple copied them when you can look at preliminary Android UI and hardware designs and see that Blackberry and Nokia were the intended copy victims. After Apple revealed their first iPhone, then Android quickly morphed into something else. Samsung obviously copied Apple. I reckon it will be up to a judge and jury to decide if and to what extent Samsung is liable for their infringements. I think it should be intuitively obvious to the most casual observer, but IANAL.
  • Reply 3 of 304
    rhyderhyde Posts: 294member
    I'm pretty sure that if Samsung had stuck with the F700 interface, Apple wouldn't be suing them
  • Reply 4 of 304
    oomuoomu Posts: 123member
    Originally Posted by sprockkets View Post

    Funny. I think you spend more time on Android sites than you do apple. I really think deep down inside DED, you love android.

    He loves the industry and facts, so yes, he reads a lot.
  • Reply 5 of 304
    strangstrang Posts: 1member
    Oh but what about the Google antitrust that's going on in the EU right now? Surely they can do no evil.
  • Reply 6 of 304
    xsamplexxsamplex Posts: 214member
    Apple has been EXPOSED. Let's face the fact that technology is rife with unattributed cross-fertilization, stop suing each other, and build great products instead. Eh?
  • Reply 7 of 304

    "Suing someone you stole the design from to being with

    These history revisionist fanboi's just ooooze brilliance.

    It's a shame they've completely glossed over the fact that at the time of the F700's release, Apple had a far more sophisticated UI and a completely working product that was at least two years ahead of their soon-to-be competitors. They chose to debut it in advance of FEC approval, so they could announce it on their own time table. F700 was rushed to market, plain and simple.
  • Reply 8 of 304
    mennomenno Posts: 854member
    Originally Posted by rhyde View Post

    I'm pretty sure that if Samsung had stuck with the F700 interface, Apple wouldn't be suing them

    The funny thing is, this "article" hasn't run on most mainstream Android blogs, largely keeping to the forums.

    So you're starting to write your screeds based on the postings of people on forums now DED?

    And you can't honestly believe that they went from the pictures you linked to the f700 in a MONTH. Phone release cycles are a lot longer than that. Yes, Samsung reworked their tablet, but they started with an already existing product (the first version of the 10.1) and tweaked it. That's a far cry from designing an entirely new phone + UI like you're trying to imply with this post.

    Is your next "article" going to be about what @avgjoecnsumr tweeted?

    EDIT: And no, I'm not arguing that touchwiz doesn't borrow heavily from Samsung, or that Samsung aped the iphone design for some of their products. They did. But Apple also included devices like the EPIC 4g and Gem (running touchwiz but very different looking) and the Nexus S (not running touchwiz, and not very "iphone like" either. The image DED linked is making it's rounds because Apple is claiming look and feel based on the fact that the iphone has rounded corners and a black border around the screen. This image shows that those factors are not unique to the iphone. (you can see something similar on the Prada, which even DED said came first).
  • Reply 9 of 304
    alfiejralfiejr Posts: 1,524member
    good catch on the actual timing of F700. and it did not go on sale until the Fall of 2007 as the Croix. the touch UI was quite primitive, much more like the early smartphones of 2006 and not much like the iPhone at all. except for the grid of icons on the home screen of the first prototype, which was revised somewhat later. but arranging icons in a grid of some sort was pretty standard for many years anyway. that's not the basis of Apple's claim.
  • Reply 10 of 304
    bdkennedy1bdkennedy1 Posts: 1,459member
    Steve said at the keynote Apple was already working on the iPhone 3 years before it was introduced.
  • Reply 11 of 304
    neiltc13neiltc13 Posts: 182member
    This is playground mud slinging. I'm surprised that even DED would stoop this low just to get a few more pageviews and ad dollars.
  • Reply 12 of 304
    This should turn out interesting. Too bad I'm heading to bed now. 'night folks.
  • Reply 13 of 304
    pokepoke Posts: 506member
    I've seen this phone mentioned too. It's worth tracking down some footage on YouTube to see just how far from the iPhone it was. I'm sure they were working on it long before the iPhone debuted. It shows very few signs of being inspired by the iPhone. The same goes for the Prada phone, which anticipated none of the iPhone's UI elements, although it was first to the market with a capacitive touchscreen. I'm sure LG gave up on the "Apple copied us" idea shortly after using an iPhone.
  • Reply 14 of 304
    Let's see. Have we seen interfaces that had a grid of icons positioned above a horizontal row of commonly used ones before?

    The desktop comes to mind. The only reason the phone looks different is the smaller screen size coupled with the optimal touch area limiting the number to about 4 across for the screen size most common on phones designed to be placed in pockets.

    Where do we draw the line? Still, very good call on the fandroids being mis-informed.
  • Reply 15 of 304
    rptrpt Posts: 173member
    The fandroids are right, the iPhone 1 to 3 design did copy something else that had been around for some time, they copied iPod Touch!
  • Reply 16 of 304
    jeffdmjeffdm Posts: 12,945member
    I can't believe I hadn't seen a picture of the LG Prada before. The resemblance to the original iPhone is minimal at best. It's hard to even lend plausibility to the suggestion that Apple copied the Prada, I don't know if it's possible to go from seeing the Prada to displaying a moderately functional but finalized visual design "knockoff" in four months and then full production in nine months.
  • Reply 17 of 304
    mennomenno Posts: 854member
    Originally Posted by bdkennedy1 View Post

    Steve said at the keynote Apple was already working on the iPhone 3 years before it was introduced.

    They more than likely were. Developing a new product and bringing it to market takes time. Which makes DED's claim that Samsung "Copied" Apples design in less than 30 days absurd.

    Look at the design:

    You want a Touchscreen based interface, so obviously you'll want to limit the number of buttons/put them on a slide out keyboard. Touchscreen interfaces will have to be larger than traditional screens, both because of increased content and because a finger is a lot less accurate than navigating with a wheel.

    Touchscreens, particularly capacitive ones, require a border around them for the screen to function.

    The Standard Cellphone shape (since it's inception) is that it will be taller than it is wide. Companies try the square phone thing (LG LOTUS) but it has limited appeal. 90%+ of phones are rectangular. A majority of phones are also black.

    There really are only so many ways you can design a touch screen phone. Sure, you can add a ton of buttons to it if you want a keyboard on the front, but those are just extra features.

    Remember, by this time, the "Razr" craze was in full swing, and thin was in. Companies were looking to cut down on as much bulk as they could, and customers had shown that they were willing to trade functionality to the "cool" factor of having a slim device.

    Here is another phone that Samsung ANNOUNCED in 2006:

    Notice, black phone, rounded corners, metal band around the side as an accent. The border along the top and bottom is larger than that of the side.

    I'm not implying that Apple copied Samsung. I don't think they did. Again, there is only so many ways you can make a cellphone. Apple DOES have a case with touchwiz (especially the icons). But unlike what DED and others are trying to imply, it's highly unlikely the F700 was going to look like those other phones he linked. Did they tweak it after the iphone announcement? Maybe. But they started off with a design that was more than likely very similar.
  • Reply 18 of 304
    paulmjohnsonpaulmjohnson Posts: 1,377member
    Originally Posted by martimus3060 View Post

    Its fairly amazing the revisionist history being undertaken by Google and the Fandroids.

    It's amazing and worrying given Google can control history. Try Googling Tiananmen Square when you're in China and see the results you don't get.

    Don't be evil my arse.
  • Reply 19 of 304
    duecesdueces Posts: 89member
    This is funny since ios is a blatant rip-off of Palm OS which has been the same since the 90's>
  • Reply 20 of 304
    wurm5150wurm5150 Posts: 763member
    LG introduced the Prada late 2006. So only took Apple a couple months of R&D and design to copy the Prada?
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