An interview with early Android team member Chris DeSalvo published on The Atlantic reveals some shocking details. In the interview with author Fred Vogelstein he confirms that the Android team had to “start over” the moment they saw Steve Jobs reveal the iPhone back in 2007.
“As a consumer I was blown away. I wanted one [iPhone] immediately. But as a Google engineer, I thought ‘We’re going to have to start over.’”
DeSalvo tells Vogelstein that at that moment they were working on the Sooner a Blackberry-like smartphone with keyboard, they had until then never even thought of using touch screens for mobile phones. Right after the Apple keynote they came to the conclusion that they had to start from 0 and not focus on keyboards but on touch screens. The team then started developing what became the first smartphone to run Android the HTC Dream a smartphone that featured both a touch-screen interface and slid-able keyboard, the original Android smartphone wasn’t going to have any of the fancy stuff the iPhone could do because the Google Engineers thought it would be “too risky” and also the reason why the first Android smartphone the HTC Dream had a slide-able keyboard is because “we did not think users would take to typing on a screen without the tactile feedback of a physical keyboard” failing to see how the iPhone set a completely new way of interacting with a device.
We knew that Apple was going to announce a phone. Everyone knew that. We just didn’t think it would be that good.”
Steve Jobs said in its biography written by Walter Isaacson that “I will spend my last dying breath if I need to, and I will spend every penny of Apple’s $40 billion in the bank, to right this wrong, I’m going to destroy Android, because it’s a stolen product. I’m willing to go thermonuclear war on this.” The fact that DeSalvo just gave us a detailed view on what happened with the Android team the moment the iPhone was announced gives us a clear view on how much the Android OS is based on the original iOS and the design of the first Android phone on the iPhone. Here is a video in which Steve Jobs reveals the iPhone to the world