Remember back in the day when Apple and Google were all chummy? Back when the original iPhone was released in 2007, and Google wasn’t in the smartphone business? That all changed once Google betrayed Apple’s trust and launched the Android operating system, and ever since then Google has held the stance that they never copied the iPhone. It’s hard to prove that a company wasn’t thinking about something, but newly released designs of Google’s original concept phone from 2006 show that Google wasn’t even considering the creation of a touchscreen smartphone back when the iPhone was unveiled, so they stole Apple’s designs instead once they saw them.
Google went to the carriers with drawings of their concept phone in an effort to increase the use of Google’s mobile services in exchange for providing carriers with “low acquisition cost, high-end data customers.” Considering it was a phone in 2006, the Google Concept Phone looks great. I would have taken it over the Nokia 3100 I was rocking in the Philippines at that time, but it looks a lot like a Blackberry, and nothing like an iPhone. The Verge goes on to explain the specs of the proposed phone:
“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. An ARMv9 processor of at least 200MHz, GSM (3G preferred), 64MB of RAM and ROM, miniSD (yes, mini, not micro) external storage, a 2-megapixel camera with a dedicated shutter button, USB support, Bluetooth 1.2, and a QVGA display with at least 16-bit color support — a far cry from today’s 720p screens. 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” (emphasis mine)
Basically, Google was going to carriers, trying to get them to use their dumbphone. Then Apple unveiled the iPhone which was so radically different from anything on the market and Google realized their phone would be a non-starter if it weren’t touchscreen. So they scrapped their plans, ripped off the iPhone’s hardware and software and called it their own.
After seeing these concept drawings, I can understand a little bit more why Apple feels so pissed off that Google ripped them off. Google never planned to make anything that looked like an iPhone until they saw Apple’s version of the smartphone. Their 2006 concept drawings show they were trying to rip off Blackberry, then once they saw the iPhone they realized it was a better idea to just rip off Apple’s hardware and software.
Imagine Steve Jobs and Eric Schmidt sitting at a coffee shop trying to settle their grievances over whether or not Google copied Apple’s idea, when Schmidt says, “Naw man, we like have totally been dreaming up a touchscreen phone for like, forever.” Then Steve busts out the pictures of the Google Concept phone T-Mobile sent him, throws em on the table, gives Schmidt the death-stare for 30-seconds before saying “Namaste, bitch” and walks off.
What do you think? Did Google rip off the iPhone, or is it mere coincidence that they change their design plans after the iPhone was revealed? Let us hear your opinion in the comments.
- Via The Verge