Android docs reveal before iPhone, Google's plan was a Java button phone

Posted:
in iPhone edited April 2014
Before and after versions of Google's internal "software functional requirements" documents released in the Apple vs Samsung trial this week show that prior to Apple's 2007 iPhone debut, Google's vision for Android was a simple button phone running Sun's Java.

Android iPhone copy


It's well known that Google's original plan for Android shifted gears dramatically once Apple unveiled its own iPhone in early 2007. However, the documents exposed in court show how great that shift was and how little Google originally planned to disrupt the status quo in mobile phones.

Google acquired an existing Android project in 2005, which was essentially an offshoot of Danger, the Java platform powering TMobile's SideKick slider phone. Both Danger and Android were founded by former Apple employee Andy Rubin.

Andy Rubin

Android in 2006

Version 0.91 of the Google's project definition for Android, completed July 6, 2006, was not an open document. It is labeled "Google Proprietary" and "Highly Confidential."

The document outlined a product that "will at a minimum, support a keypad with the following keys: Numeric, Star, Pound, Send, End, Home Back, 2 Soft Keys, 5-way navigation (up down left right select)."

Beyond the required physical keyboard identical to Windows Mobile phones of the period, Google also noted that "touch screens will not be supported. The product was designed with the presence of discrete physical buttons as an assumption. However, there is nothing fundamental in the Product's architecture that prevents the support of touchscreens in the future."

Microsoft's definition of Windows Mobile Smartphone (a category including the Motorola Q and Samsung BlackJack) identically insisted on keypad buttons and by definition did not support touchscreens.

Google planned to essentially use existing reference designs for Windows Mobile Smartphone hardware and install Android as Sun's Java Mobile running on Linux. The 2006 definition flatly specifies "the Platform will be compatible with Java Platform, Micro Edition (Java ME)."

Android Java ME


In addition to Java applets, the system was also expected to run even simpler widgets, which it defined as "little application that reside in the Home Application. They are meant to be simple, graphic representations or interesting ideas. Examples include: current weather, stock quotes, sports scores."

The entire subject of how the web browser might work is simply populated with the placeholder "TK," used in documentation to indicate that portion was "to come" at some point in the future. However, it also included a section for WAP, also "TK," before Steve Jobs' unveiling that referred to WAP as the "baby Internet."

Other portions still "TK" in 2006 were multimedia frameworks, the handling of music and pictures, and any outline of how an Android phone might support email accounts, folders, attachments or rich text.

iPhone in 2007

When Jobs introduced the iPhone on stage six months later, he noted that Apple had been working on the product for two and half years, or about six months prior to Google's acquisition of the Android team (which already had a Java based product on the drawing board).



Jobs stated that, at the time, "the most advanced phones are called smartphones, so they say. And they typically combine a phone plus some e-mail capability, plus they say it's the Internet--it's sort of the baby Internet--into one device. And they all have these little plastic keyboards on them. And the problem is that they're not so smart and they're not so easy to use."

Jobs contrasted "regular cell phones," saying "they're not so smart, and they're not so easy to use. Smartphones are definitely a little smarter, but they actually are harder to use. They're really complicated. Just for the basic stuff people have a hard time figuring out how to use them. Well, we don't want to do either one of these things."

Instead, Jobs said, "what we want to do is make a leapfrog product that is way smarter than any mobile device has ever been, and super-easy to use. This is what iPhone is. So we're going to reinvent the phone."

button phones 2006


Job continued, "we're going to start with a revolutionary user interface. It is the result of years of research and development, and of course, it's an interplay of hardware and software. Now, why do we need a revolutionary user interface? Here's four smart phones, right: Motorola Q, the BlackBerry, Palm Treo, Nokia E62 -- the usual suspects.

"And, what's wrong with their user interfaces? Well, the problem with them is really sort of in the bottom 40 there. It's this stuff right there. They all have these keyboards that are there whether or not you need them to be there. And they all have these control buttons that are fixed in plastic and are the same for every application.

"Well, every application wants a slightly different user interface, a slightly optimized set of buttons, just for it. And what happens if you think of a great idea six months from now? You can't run around and add a button to these things. They're already shipped. So what do you do? It doesn't work because the buttons and the controls can't change. They can't change for each application, and they can't change down the road if you think of another great idea you want to add to this product."We solved it in computers 20 years ago. We solved it with a bit-mapped screen that could display anything we want. - Steve Jobs"

"Well, how do you solve this? It turns out we have solved it. We solved it in computers 20 years ago. We solved it with a bit-mapped screen that could display anything we want. Put any user interface up. And a pointing device. We solved it with the mouse. We solved this problem. So how are we going to take this to a mobile device? What we're going to do is get rid of all these buttons and just make a giant screen.

"Now, how are we going to communicate this? We don't want to carry around a mouse, right? So what are we going to do? Oh, a stylus, right? We're going to use a stylus. No. Who wants a stylus. You have to get em and put em away, and you lose em. Yuck. Nobody wants a stylus. So let's not use a stylus. We're going to use the best pointing device in the world. We're going to use a pointing device that we're all born with -- born with ten of them.

"We're going to use our fingers. We're going to touch this with our fingers. And we have invented a new technology called multi-touch, which is phenomenal. It works like magic. You don't need a stylus. It's far more accurate than any touch display that's ever been shipped. It ignores unintended touches, it's super-smart. You can do multi-finger gestures on it. And boy, have we patented it."

Android in 2007

Reacting to Jobs' demonstration, former Apple engineering lead and early Android team member Chris DeSalvo stated, "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.'""What we had suddenly looked just so -- nineties" - Android developer Chris DeSalvo

Fred Vogelstein, in Dogfight: How Apple and Google Went to War and Started a Revolution quoted DeSalvo as observing, "what we had suddenly looked just so -- nineties. It's just one of those things that are obvious when you see it'."

Android's founder Rubin was similarly quoted as responding, "Holy crap, I guess we're not going to ship that phone," a reference to the BlackBerry-like Android phone prototype Google was gearing up to release. Instead, the company had to return to the drawing board and develop a new device with Windows Mobile hardware developer HTC, which became the HTC Dream, also branded as T-Mobile G1.

Android iPhone


But in order to ship Android as an iPhone copy rather than a BlackBerry copy, Google had to retool its entire definition of Android. As detailed in the post iPhone version of the Android planning document, version 99.3 and dated November 2007, that meant dumping compatibility with Sun's Java and building a Java-like runtime named Dalvik that Google could freely take in its own direction, much the same way that Microsoft had modified Java on Windows back in the late 1990s in order to wrest platform control from Sun.

Android iPhone


The change log of the planning document conveys the rapid change that occured in April, when suddenly there was a "major update." Among the changes were section 3.11.2 Touchscreen, which now read, "a touch screen for finger-based navigation--including multitouch capabilities--is required. Stylus-based navigation is not supported."

Android iPhone


Rubin didn't just look to Jobs's iPhone unveiling for inspiration on the entire new application architecture and user interface of Android; it also colored everything about how the platform would work, from rich email to "real" web browsing. The "TK" web browser section was replaced with "The Platform will include a fully featured web browser based on the WebKit Open Source Project."Rubin didn't just take Apple's phone, he also took the touchscreen iPod and the breakthrough Internet device.

Android could also now flesh out its "multimedia" section, now called "Media Player," which now read "the Product will support a Media Player capable of managing, importing and playing back content encoded in various forms," including specifications essentially identical to Apple's iPod app for iPhone.

Rubin didn't just take Apple's phone, he also took the touchscreen iPod and the breakthrough Internet device.

Android iPhone clone


Google announced Android as a project that same month, but the HTC Dream/G1 wasn't launched until October 2008, a year later. When it was released, Android still lacked support for touchscreen typing by finger. And while the phone shipped with hardware support for multitouch, its software was patched to remove support for the feature. In late 2009, Google released Android 2.0, adding software support for multitouch.

Without being directly sued by Apple, Google has since cautiously incorporated a series of other iPhone patented features into Android, including support for Slide to Unlock and Data Detectors.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 175
    prokipprokip Posts: 150member
    Daniel,

    Are you the only one who can see this blatant theft, or is the rest of the world blind ??
  • Reply 2 of 175
    apple ][apple ][ Posts: 8,687member

    Good article!

     

    If the iPhone hadn't come along, then many phones would still look like blackberry clones even to this day, including Google's phones. People wouldn't be playing Candy Crush on their way to work. People wouldn't be surfing the full web on their phones. Fandroids would be typing on their hardware phone keyboards and thinking that they're oh so cool and oh so advanced, using devices that are at the pinnacle of technological innovation, while they navigate around the screen using a damn cursor in 2014.

     

    When Steve Jobs stood on stage and said that the iPhone was five years ahead of anything else, he was pretty accurate in his prediction. Everybody else has been scrambling to catch up ever since. 

     

    I basically see every single touch screen phone that is on the market as being a cheap imitation of the iPhone. And unsurprisingly, it's also usually cheap people who opt for the cheap imitations.

  • Reply 3 of 175
    philboogiephilboogie Posts: 7,451member
    1) reading that transcript from the 1/9/2007 keynote gives me shivers down my spine. Again. Which I think is odd; it's 'merely tech', right?

    2) LOL:

    [IMG ALT=""]http://forums.appleinsider.com/content/type/61/id/41758/width/350/height/700[/IMG]
  • Reply 4 of 175
    hill60hill60 Posts: 6,992member

    Here is another victim of Android's shift, it became vapourware ready to go but never shipped, an Australian company not far behind HTC.

     

  • Reply 5 of 175
    Philboogie, I get a shiver too - such an amazing keynote speech!
  • Reply 6 of 175
    larry9larry9 Posts: 15member
    Company Rag. Zero credibility. Angry, angry hall monitor works here too. Maybe he will snarl at me??
  • Reply 7 of 175
    philotechphilotech Posts: 104member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by prokip View Post



    Daniel,



    Are you the only one who can see this blatant theft, or is the rest of the world blind ??

    There's good reason to the fundamental principle that there is no (legal) ownership to ideas. I know the US patent system has its difficulties with this principle because it makes it far too easy to overcome, creating a whole industry of patent trolls and legal abuse.

    But every time I read how Apple stole an idea from Android, or Google from Apple, of X from Y, and how one copied the other, I am getting sick. All progress comes from copying, even what makes mankind unique compared to all other animals is our ability to copy and learn something new from it (I know, some other species have a similar, but reduced ability to do so too).

    So all please get over the conception that using ("copying") and improving upon other people's / companies' ideas is evil.

  • Reply 8 of 175
    prokipprokip Posts: 150member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Philotech View Post

     

    There's good reason to the fundamental principle that there is no (legal) ownership to ideas. I know the US patent system has its difficulties with this principle because it makes it far too easy to overcome, creating a whole industry of patent trolls and legal abuse.

    But every time I read how Apple stole an idea from Android, or Google from Apple, of X from Y, and how one copied the other, I am getting sick. All progress comes from copying, even what makes mankind unique compared to all other animals is our ability to copy and learn something new from it (I know, some other species have a similar, but reduced ability to do so too).

    So all please get over the conception that using ("copying") and improving upon other people's / companies' ideas is evil.


     

    Hey Philotech,

     

    I am also a technophile (it's Greek no?) but also a lawyer.  I philo (love) IP law and know more about it than I should. Of course we develop ideas on top of other ideas, but we have laws in our anglophile culture that says someone who comes up with an idea first, who spends lotsa time and lotsa money has the protection of the fair society in which we live to stop that idea from being blatantly copied for gain by others for at least a period of time, in my jurisdiction usually 20 years.

     

    And if you getting 'sick' of all this copying hokum there is probably a patented pharmaceutical substance (sometimes more than 20 years protection) to help you.

     

    As for patent trolls, don't get me started, there is no doubt a special place for them in Hades, but we should not now start a discourse on religion.

  • Reply 9 of 175
    ukjbukjb Posts: 19member
    prokip,

    You are correct, there are IP laws that prevent some forms of blatant copying. but full touch screen is not covered in that context... not to mention seeing article after article after article about android stealing apple's ideas (this is what? article number 1278 since 2007), is just distasteful. not only is it counterproductive, but if any of the apple exces or the die hard apple fans truly think android owes anything to apple for "copying" the full touch screen capability... then perhaps apple owes a portion of its revenue to LG since they came out with the full touch screen prada in advance of the first iphone announcement. i'm sure someone over at LG could come up with pretty little timelines showing how their phone design inspired the iphone. but no one gives a crap about any of this except the blowhards at apple. just food for thought.
  • Reply 10 of 175
    Good jog google. Reason why android is what it us today. Saw a shift in the industry and followed it. Didn't sit in their hands like Microsoft.

    I have a question though why have these patents only have had success in the United States, And why was apple only able to get most of these patents in the U.S and not say the EU or Japan etc..?

    Is it because there is something inherently wrong with patenting, data detection links, or patenting being able to search you phone locally? Or patenting every aspect of sliding you phone to unlock (the original patent use to say slide of unlock along a define path, but apple eventually got the patent of sliding anywhere at any point to unlock patented by filling for it something like 7-8 times before they worded it right and got the patent expanded).
  • Reply 11 of 175
    MacProMacPro Posts: 18,358member
    prokip wrote: »
    Hey Philotech,

    I am also a technophile (it's Greek no?) but also a lawyer.  I philo (love) IP law and know more about it than I should. Of course we develop ideas on top of other ideas, but we have laws in our anglophile culture that says someone who comes up with an idea first, who spends lotsa time and lotsa money has the protection of the fair society in which we live to stop that idea from being blatantly copied for gain by others for at least a period of time, in my jurisdiction usually 20 years.

    And if you getting 'sick' of all this copying hokum there is probably a patented pharmaceutical substance (sometimes more than 20 years protection) to help you.

    As for patent trolls, don't get me started, there is no doubt a special place for them in Hades, but we should not now start a discourse on religion.

    Nicely said. For a lawyer you aren't all that bad ;)
  • Reply 12 of 175
    philotechphilotech Posts: 104member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by prokip View Post

     

     

    Hey Philotech,

     

    I am also a technophile (it's Greek no?) but also a lawyer.  I philo (love) IP law and know more about it than I should. Of course we develop ideas on top of other ideas, but we have laws in our anglophile culture that says someone who comes up with an idea first, who spends lotsa time and lotsa money has the protection of the fair society in which we live to stop that idea from being blatantly copied for gain by others for at least a period of time, in my jurisdiction usually 20 years.

     

    And if you getting 'sick' of all this copying hokum there is probably a patented pharmaceutical substance (sometimes more than 20 years protection) to help you.

     

    As for patent trolls, don't get me started, there is no doubt a special place for them in Hades, but we should not now start a discourse on religion.


    Good decyphyering of my nick :) and I'm also (apart from being a technophile) a lawyer, albeit no patent lawyer.

     

    I may not know all that much about patent law, but I think your abstract may be a little too short... even in the anglophile culture, at least by legal principle, it's not the ideas that are (should be) protected. The issues are that (i) it's too easy to claim that the patent does not cover the idea / abstract, but a technical application of it, and (ii) prior art seems to be the only relevant counterclaim against the validity of a patent rather than it requiring a minimum amount of threshold of originality (Schöpfungshöhe in German - there isn't even a widely used English technical term for it I think).

     

    So not the idea of a phone without a keyboard is protected, but only the technical method of detecting the touch of a finger could be. But the US patent law system even has difficulties explaining that the concept of subtracting currency amounts from each other and making a balance cannot be patented once someone comes up and draws a graph showing that this is done by a computer in software.

  • Reply 13 of 175
    MacProMacPro Posts: 18,358member
    ukjb wrote: »
    prokip,

    You are correct, there are IP laws that prevent some forms of blatant copying. but full touch screen is not covered in that context... not to mention seeing article after article after article about android stealing apple's ideas (this is what? article number 1278 since 2007), is just distasteful. not only is it counterproductive, but if any of the apple exces or the die hard apple fans truly think android owes anything to apple for "copying" the full touch screen capability... then perhaps apple owes a portion of its revenue to LG since they came out with the full touch screen prada in advance of the first iphone announcement. i'm sure someone over at LG could come up with pretty little timelines showing how their phone design inspired the iphone. but no one gives a crap about any of this except the blowhards at apple. just food for thought.

    Talk about over simplification! Of course there were 'touch screen's long before iPhone, that is hardly the point. The 'no ones' that don't give a crap are presumably Apple haters. Everyone I know especially Apple share holders and many Apple product users that follow the tech news certainly do care.

    Try studying all the smart phones pre iPhone, read what Google's plans were to have been and so on. Then look at the earth shattering effect iPhone had on the industry. Then look at all the smart phones after iPhone. Maybe not to you, but to me, the 'obvious' way to use a touch screen, in the way iOS did back then, seems to have evaded everyone but Steve Jobs.
  • Reply 14 of 175
    philotechphilotech Posts: 104member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Peterbob View Post

    ...

    I have a question though why have these patents only have had success in the United States, And why was apple only able to get most of these patents in the U.S and not say the EU or Japan etc..?

    ...

    Don't even get me started on this one... It's because in the US you can get a patent for everything if you must make up a story around it so it appears to be more than just trivia or an idea or business method.

    You can be granted a patent for using a software program for subtracting, for using mouse clicks to buy, for scanning, placing ads, just everything. You may take any concept from the real, physical world and make a patentable technical application from it by just adding the words "by using a computer-based algorithm".

  • Reply 15 of 175
    prokipprokip Posts: 150member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Philotech View Post

     

    Good decyphyering of my nick :) and I'm also (apart from being a technophile) a lawyer, albeit no patent lawyer.

     

    I may not know all that much about patent law, but I think your abstract may be a little too short... even in the anglophile culture, at least by legal principle, it's not the ideas that are (should be) protected. The issues are that (i) it's too easy to claim that the patent does not cover the idea / abstract, but a technical application of it, and (ii) prior art seems to be the only relevant counterclaim against the validity of a patent rather than it requiring a minimum amount of threshold of originality (Schöpfungshöhe in German - there isn't even a widely used English technical term for it I think).

     

    So not the idea of a phone without a keyboard is protected, but only the technical method of detecting the touch of a finger could be. But the US patent law system even has difficulties explaining that the concept of subtracting currency amounts from each other and making a balance cannot be patented once someone comes up and draws a graph showing that this is done by a computer in software.


    Philo,

     

    Very good response.  I won't waste your time and our dear fellow readers with a wise cracking retort.  Also my 'nick' is Procopios.  Look that up.  (My german isn't too bad either.)

     

    But we are all Apple fan boys in one way or the other, at least if we use their products.  And after years of using just about every other 'smart' phone out there, including the first non-smart bricks of yesteryear,  I am particularly grateful for the device that currently resides in my pocket most days.

  • Reply 16 of 175
    philotechphilotech Posts: 104member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post





    Talk about over simplification! Of course there were 'touch screen's long before iPhone, that is hardly the point. The 'no ones' that don't give a crap are presumably Apple haters. Everyone I know especially Apple share holders and many Apple product users that follow the tech news certainly do care.



    Try studying all the smart phones pre iPhone, read what Google's plans were to have been and so on. Then look at the earth shattering effect iPhone had on the industry. Then look at all the smart phones after iPhone. Maybe not to you, but to me, the 'obvious' way to use a touch screen, in the way iOS did back then, seems to have evaded everyone but Steve Jobs.

    Getting sick again... Of course this invention of the iPhone using a full-screen phone with no keyboard was a great idea. Maybe there were phones (existing or under construction) before it, but totally obviously it was only Apple who made this concept fashionable and provied that it was a viable concept of a phone.

    But still, this is an IDEA, and alleging that such an idea can be "stolen" (in a legal rather than just business ethics sense) has got it WRONG!

  • Reply 17 of 175
    ukjb wrote: »
    then perhaps apple owes a portion of its revenue to LG since they came out with the full touch screen prada in advance of the first iphone announcement. i'm sure someone over at LG could come up with pretty little timelines showing how their phone design inspired the iphone.

    While the LG Prada and the Apple iPhone were being developed during roughly the same time period... does anyone really think that Apple got the idea of using a capacitive touchscreen from LG?

    I think it's more of a coincidence than anything.

    What's the theory... that Apple was developing a QWERTY phone all along... but they had spies over at the LG headquarters in South Korea and learned about the capacitive touchscreen?

    No... I don't think it was corporate espionage.

    So what's another theory? The LG Prada was shown publicly in September 2006... maybe that's where Apple got the idea for a capacitive touchscreen phone.

    Would that have been enough time for Apple to get the idea for a capacitive touchscreen from LG and have a working model to announce just 4 months later?

    That's an even crazier theory.

    I never understood the premise that the LG Prada had ANYTHING to do with the development of the iPhone. But people keep bringing it up.
  • Reply 18 of 175
    mwhitecomwhiteco Posts: 112member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Philotech View Post

     

    Good decyphyering of my nick :) and I'm also (apart from being a technophile) a lawyer, albeit no patent lawyer.

     

    I may not know all that much about patent law, but I think your abstract may be a little too short... even in the anglophile culture, at least by legal principle, it's not the ideas that are (should be) protected. The issues are that (i) it's too easy to claim that the patent does not cover the idea / abstract, but a technical application of it, and (ii) prior art seems to be the only relevant counterclaim against the validity of a patent rather than it requiring a minimum amount of threshold of originality (Schöpfungshöhe in German - there isn't even a widely used English technical term for it I think).

     

    So not the idea of a phone without a keyboard is protected, but only the technical method of detecting the touch of a finger could be. But the US patent law system even has difficulties explaining that the concept of subtracting currency amounts from each other and making a balance cannot be patented once someone comes up and draws a graph showing that this is done by a computer in software.




    If you are who you say your are a lawyer scan your degree and put it up here if you don't then we know you are lying!!!!!

  • Reply 19 of 175
    hill60hill60 Posts: 6,992member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by ukjb View Post



    prokip,



    You are correct, there are IP laws that prevent some forms of blatant copying. but full touch screen is not covered in that context... not to mention seeing article after article after article about android stealing apple's ideas (this is what? article number 1278 since 2007), is just distasteful. not only is it counterproductive, but if any of the apple exces or the die hard apple fans truly think android owes anything to apple for "copying" the full touch screen capability... then perhaps apple owes a portion of its revenue to LG since they came out with the full touch screen prada in advance of the first iphone announcement. i'm sure someone over at LG could come up with pretty little timelines showing how their phone design inspired the iphone. but no one gives a crap about any of this except the blowhards at apple. just food for thought.

     

    The Prada wasn't "full touch screen", it had three buttons, call end and send and a home button, it also wasn't multitouch.

     

    Apple was working on the iPhone years before the Prada was launched or do you think Apple "magic pixie dust" made it possible to come up with the iPhone in a matter of weeks?

  • Reply 20 of 175
    So, Google is guilty by being sososo fxxking creative in the art of copying
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