Steven Troughton-Smith has written a fantastic post on an early Android phone from 2007. Here are some of my highlights:
When Google first showed off Android, they showed it running on a device very similar to Blackberries or Nokia E-class devices of the time. This device was the Google Sooner - an OMAP850 device built by HTC, with no touchscreen or WiFi. This was the Android reference device, the device they originally built the OS on.
In short, the phone was a Blackberry rip-off.
I thought it would be interesting to take you on a brief tour of the OS. The build of Android this is running was built on May 15th 2007 - four months after the iPhone was announced; the first M3 version of Android was announced in November 2007, and Android 1.0 didn’t come ‘till a year later.
The Google Sooner, aka the HTC EXCA 300, runs on an OMAP850 with 64MB RAM, and comes in two colors: black, and white. It has a 320x240 LCD screen (non touch) and a 1.3 megapixel camera sensor on the back, which supports video recording. Its curvy profile is surprisingly light and has a certain quality to it. It has a full QWERTY keyboard, a four-way d-pad, four system buttons (menu, back, home, and favourites) and call/end call buttons. Inside is a 2G radio, which is capable of EDGE speeds, but no WiFi or 3G. It has a mini-SD slot (not micro-SD), and a mini-USB port.
It was an OS designed to search Google from the very start.
He wraps up his post by saying:
It’s quite clear that Android was being designed to a completely different target before the iPhone was released.What we see here would have fitted in perfectly with the world of Symbian and BlackBerry. This early build of Android is in fact even less capable and mature than the 2004 release of Symbian Series 90 (Hildon), the OS that runs on the Nokia 7700 and 7710 - Nokia’s first, and only, pre-iPhone touchscreen smartphones. It’s not hard to see that iPhone really changed the thinking across the entire industry, and caused everybody to start from scratch. Android, webOS, Windows Phone 7, Windows 8, BlackBerry 10 - all of these exist because of the iPhone, and standing on its shoulders they have made some amazing and unique contributions to the ecosystem.
As I mentioned in my Úll talk last week, the moment we saw the iPhone for the first time it was so clear that everything beyond this point would be completely different - it wasn’t just about smartphones, it was about the future of computing. We live in a world that would have seemed distantly futuristic only 5 years ago, thanks to all these OSes. It’s amazing how far we’ve come in such a short time, and I can’t wait to see what comes next.
Google was following a red-ocean strategy before Apple wowed the world with the iPhone by following a blue-ocean strategy. Love it or hate it but the fact of the matter is the iPhone was a rising tide that lifted all boats.