Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 20th Dec 2013 11:11 UTC
Google

In light of the recent The Atlantic article, Arnoud Wokke, editor at the popular Dutch technology site Tweakers.net, pointed me to an interesting OSNews comment by Dianne Hackborn, former Be engineer (that's still major street cred right here), former Palm engineer, and Android engineer at Google since early 2006. Her recollection of the story regarding the cancellation of the BlackBerry-esque 'Sooner' prototype and the touchscreen 'Dream' prototype is entirely different from what Vogelstein states in his article.

From a software perspective, Sooner and Dream were basically the same -- different form-factors, one without a touch screen -- but they were not so different as this article indicates and the switch between them was not such a huge upheaval.

The main reason for the differences in schedule was hardware: Sooner was a variation of an existing device that HTC was shipping, while Dream was a completely new device with a lot of things that had never been shipped before, at least by HTC (new Qualcomm chipset, sensors, touch screen, the hinge design, etc). So Sooner was the safe/fast device, and Dream was the risky/long-term device.

However the other factor in this was the software. Work on the Android we know today (which is what is running in that Sooner) basically started around late 2005 / early 2006. I got to Google at the beginning of 2006, and it was around that time we started work on everything from the resource system through the view hierarchy, to the window manager and activity manager that you know today. Some work on stuff we have today (like SurfaceFlinger) was started a bit earlier, but also after Google acquired Android.

Even if there was no iPhone, there is a good chance that Sooner would have been dropped, since while it was a good idea to get Android out quickly from a hardware perspective, the software schedule was much longer. I don't recall the exact dates, but I believe the decision to drop Sooner was well before the iPhone announcement... though we continued to use it for quite a while internally for development, since it was the only semi-stable hardware platform we had. If nothing else, it helped remove significant risk from the schedule since software development could be done on a relatively stable device while the systems team brought up the new hardware in parallel.

This is very different from the somewhat internally inconsistent story Vogelstein tells. I'm very curious to find out where, exactly, the truth lies.

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This means.....?
by Tony Swash on Fri 20th Dec 2013 12:28 UTC
Tony Swash
Member since:
2009-08-22

Google's Android team are building an OS for a phone that does not look like an iPhone. It's a powerful but tricky OS to build and nobody is sure what will work and what won't. The target product is the Sooner, a phone that looks like all pre-iPhone handsets (i.e archaic). Other possible variants are in the pipeline for the future one of which might have had a touchscreen interface and form factor like the iPhone. We will never know what a touchscreen form factor OS and handset design form factor from the Android would have looked like if the iPhone had never been announced because the entire thinking and strategic focus of the Android team was completely transformed by the iPhone announcement and so such a pure Android design was never completed.

After the iPhone changed the handset paradigm by bringing a touchscreen full computing OS platform successfully to market the Android team stopped working on the archaic Sooner and focussed on building a handset and OS that looked and worked like an iPhone. They did this because of the impact of the iPhone. The carriers were willing to entertain such designs and ship touchscreen handsets because of the success of the iPhone.

Of course if the iPhone had never been developed then eventually someone else, most probably but not inevitably the Android team, would have come up with a handset that looked and worked like all modern handsets (i.e one that works like the iPhone). But that is a trivially obvious thing to say and one that can be said about all innovations and all breakthrough products. As the technology, supply chain and market conditions ripen they create the conditions for a paradigm shifting piece of product innovation, the modern PC, the web, search engines are all perfect examples of that. But someone actually has to design, build and ship the product that changes everything for everyone else.

I repeat what I said in my comment on the previous article. It's pretty obvious that the iPhone changed the phone industry and the design of all subsequent successful phones (those that did not adopt the basic iPhone design motif failed in the market place), as it is equally obvious that the iPad changed the tablet and computing industry and the design of all subsequent tablets. Why such an obvious and self evident piece of recent tech history is disputed or played down is beyond me but clearly the idea that product innovation at Apple fundamentally changed all subsequent handset and tablet design is challenging for some.

Reply Score: 0

RE: This means.....?
by Thom_Holwerda on Fri 20th Dec 2013 12:31 UTC in reply to "This means.....?"
Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

After the iPhone changed the handset paradigm by bringing a touchscreen full computing OS platform successfully to market the Android team stopped working on the archaic Sooner and focussed on building a handset and OS that looked and worked like an iPhone. They did this because of the impact of the iPhone.


Uhm, that's what's being contested here. According to Dianne, they dropped the Sooner *before* the iPhone announcement, and thus, quite a lot before the impact of the iPhone became apparent.

That's the crux, and you just gloss over it - presenting your side of the story as fact, even though right here we have an accomplished engineer - with a long history at both Be and Palm - stating the exact opposite.

Who are we supposed to believe?

Of course, that's setting aside your usual hyperbole that completely ignores the decades of mobile computing that the iPhone is built atop of - including the successful Palm Pilot and its successors.

Edited 2013-12-20 12:33 UTC

Reply Score: 4

RE[2]: This means.....?
by majipoor on Fri 20th Dec 2013 13:21 UTC in reply to "RE: This means.....?"
majipoor Member since:
2009-01-22

Tony Swash:

the idea that product innovation at Apple fundamentally changed all subsequent handset and tablet design is challenging for some


Indeed...

Thom:
Of course, that's setting aside your usual hyperbole that completely ignores the decades of mobile computing that the iPhone is built atop of - including the successful Palm Pilot and its successors.


Nobody argues that any innovation or revolution is built upon decades of existing technologies. The Palm Pilot was also built upon Apple's Newton, wasn't it?

But it seems indeed impossible for some juste to say "yes, Apple is actually the actor who brought this revolution to the mass market".

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: This means.....?
by BallmerKnowsBest on Fri 20th Dec 2013 15:30 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: This means.....?"
BallmerKnowsBest Member since:
2008-06-02

But it seems indeed impossible for some juste to say "yes, Apple is actually the actor who brought this revolution to the mass market".


By that reasoning, and in the context of TFA, the Asylum Films Studio should get credit for the concept of the film Pacific Rim, because their mockbuster knock-off Atlantic Rim was released first (even though the former had been in production well before the latter).

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: This means.....?
by Tony Swash on Fri 20th Dec 2013 14:36 UTC in reply to "RE: This means.....?"
Tony Swash Member since:
2009-08-22

Uhm, that's what's being contested here. According to Dianne, they dropped the Sooner *before* the iPhone announcement, and thus, quite a lot before the impact of the iPhone became apparent.


That must be why the first Android phone -the T-Mobile G1 from HTC, that came nearly two years after the iPhone had a slide-out keyboard and looked like this:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:HTC_Dream_Orange_FR.jpeg

Does that look like the Android team were on the cusp of beating Apple in the race to deliver the first modern touchscreen smart phone? Does the two years of work and the result, the T-Mobile G1, indicate that they had more less everything in place before the iPhone?

The first touchscreen Android phone, the HTC Magic, didn't go on sale until April 2009. If Google had already got the basics of a modern touch screen phone OS UI system in place before the iPhone announcement in January 2007 what were they doing for the 24 months until the announcement of the HTC Magic in February 2009?

It's not just the impact that the key design motifs of the iPhone (large touch screen, no physical keyboard, icon touch based UI, almost desktop class media and internet features, etc) had on the direction of the Android design team it's also the issue the impact that the success of the iPhone product launch had on the industry. If the iPhone and it's success in the market had not existed Google would probably have found it very hard to successfully pitch the modern touch based device design to the carriers and handset OEMs who are a very conservative bunch.

Remember Android was designed to beat Windows Mobile and Blackberry, that's all it was built for. Nobody thought that something like the iPhone was possible or that it would actually be a screaming product success until it was. Then Android had to switch it's entire strategic target and the iPhone became the phone to beat.

To give it it's due unlike Ballmer the Android team knew immediately that the iPhone was a game changer. Some people still seem to be struggling with that concept even now.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: This means.....?
by tkeith on Fri 20th Dec 2013 14:55 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: This means.....?"
tkeith Member since:
2010-09-01

The article clearly lays out that everyone knew Apple was coming out with a phone, you make it sound like everyone was shocked by it's "success". In reality the iphone did not take off until they lowered the price and introduced third party "apps", two things Android arguably had from the start.


It's like arguing over whether or not something is light grey or dark grey. Nothing happens in a vacuum, Android was influenced by the iphone just as the iphone has been influenced by Android. Get over it and move on.

Reply Score: 5

RE[4]: This means.....?
by jared_wilkes on Fri 20th Dec 2013 15:00 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: This means.....?"
jared_wilkes Member since:
2011-04-25

Or it's like taking a pretty clear statement completely out of context:

“We knew that Apple was going to announce a phone. Everyone knew that. We just didn’t think it would be that good,” said Ethan Beard, one of Android’s early business development executives."

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: This means.....?
by StevenRN on Fri 20th Dec 2013 15:01 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: This means.....?"
StevenRN Member since:
2013-12-20

Again, revisionist history. The AppStore was announced (with SDK) in March of 2008 and launched in July 2008. The MarketPlace was announced in August of 2008 and available in October of 2008.

I am amazed at the number of people that do not understand the concepts of dates.

Reply Score: 4

RE[5]: This means.....?
by jared_wilkes on Fri 20th Dec 2013 15:04 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: This means.....?"
jared_wilkes Member since:
2011-04-25

removed comment

Edited 2013-12-20 15:05 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[5]: This means.....?
by tkeith on Fri 20th Dec 2013 16:21 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: This means.....?"
tkeith Member since:
2010-09-01

Date released doesn't mean anything. Android was designed from the start for apps, this article has a lot of great information on that. Of course they didn't come out with their store before a phone was released, that's ridiculous. The iphone was released without third party apps. And look at this:
http://brandtao.files.wordpress.com/2012/05/apple-iphone-sales-q3-2... sales didn't pick up until Q4 2008, when they had apps. That's all I stated.

http://stone-tile.com/productimages/3131af96-2dd7-4c82-82aa-5ab7ad1...

Reply Score: 4

RE[6]: This means.....?
by henderson101 on Mon 23rd Dec 2013 13:04 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: This means.....?"
henderson101 Member since:
2006-05-30

The iphone was released without third party apps.


No. The iPhone was released without a public SDK, therefore preventing third party apps. It was a fairly short time before people found a way around that limitation, and it was only then that Apple began making installing third party apps go from "trivial" to almost impossible without a lot of work. The first iOS release didn't even implement prevention of dynamic code generation/execution. So, as an example, the original port of Mono to iOS used an full CLR implementation and just ran regular CIL based apps with JIT. That's now impossible, and the MonoTouch released a few years back uses a compiler that outputs pre JIT code (AOT is a better description) to remove this limitation.

The story I heard was that the engineers working on iOS always sold the product as having a third party app store, but upper management supposedly didn't like the idea.

Edit: Just for a bit of perspective, iOS got third party apps with in one year of release, including a public free SDK that only required payment to put your apps on to a real device/app store. Compare that then to PalmOS, which also had no public SDK when it was released. Eventually Metrowerks released a version of Codewarrior, but that wasn't immediate and the only way to get an SDK was to use CodeWarrior for quite some time after. The open PalmOS development community that sprang up around PalmOS, and was often taken for granted, wasn't there till a lot of dedicated open source people had written half the tools to replace the uber-expensive CodeWarrior tools. Pila, PilRC, the GCC port, CoPilot (later re-badged as a Palm Product called POSE), and the ilk all came about because Palm really was not interested in small developers creating products for their devices till a lot later in the products life cycle. Admittedly they releanted and started to support indie development (even making their own ports of GCC for various desktop platforms), but that was very much after the fact.

Edited 2013-12-23 13:17 UTC

Reply Score: 3

RE[4]: This means.....?
by Tony Swash on Fri 20th Dec 2013 15:15 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: This means.....?"
Tony Swash Member since:
2009-08-22

The article clearly lays out that everyone knew Apple was coming out with a phone, you make it sound like everyone was shocked by it's "success".


Read book the Dogfight. It contradicts everything you just said.

The Android team may have known Apple was probably making a phone, the internet was awash with Apple phone rumours for months before it's announcement. Nobody knew what the Apple phone looked like or whether it would be a success. Anybody who says they were not hugely surprised by what Apple actually announced and demoed in January 2007 is lying. Nobody saw that coming.

Remember that at the time the whole discussion about a possible Apple phone prior to it's actual announcement was couched in terms of the threat that mobile phones with built in music players posed to Apple's existing iPod business (a business that was over 50% of Apple revenues at the time).

I thought, along with everyone else, that an Apple phone was probably coming and we all thought that it would be more less an iPod with a phone function built in. I thought, along with everyone else, that Apple may well not pull off a successful phone launch as it was entering a well established and very large market full of big and long established incumbents, and Apple had essentially zero experience of designing or making phones.

Even after it's launch the consensus for the first year was that the iPhone, and touchscreen phones in general, would only be a niche player. If you had said on the day after the iPhone announcement that within a very few years Apple could be selling tens of millions of phones a quarter globally, you would have been laughed at. A year, maybe a year and half, after it's actual launch was when the penny really began to drop across the industry that the game had been changed.

To give them credit Google and the Android team saw that the game had changed much quicker than most but it still took them over two years from the iPhone announcement to barely catch up.

Reply Score: 2

RE[5]: This means.....?
by tkeith on Fri 20th Dec 2013 16:33 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: This means.....?"
tkeith Member since:
2010-09-01

How does that contradict what I said?
http://stone-tile.com/productimages/3131af96-2dd7-4c82-82aa-5ab7ad1...

See the big jump? that's when they got apps and went down in price, with the iphone 3G. Yes, the iphone became a success, but it didn't do it right away.

Reply Score: 4

RE[6]: This means.....?
by jared_wilkes on Mon 23rd Dec 2013 00:37 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: This means.....?"
jared_wilkes Member since:
2011-04-25

No one but you is claiming that the iPhone needed to be successful before others started copying it.

Edited 2013-12-23 00:37 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: This means.....?
by BallmerKnowsBest on Fri 20th Dec 2013 15:27 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: This means.....?"
BallmerKnowsBest Member since:
2008-06-02

The first touchscreen Android phone, the HTC Magic, didn't go on sale until April 2009. If Google had already got the basics of a modern touch screen phone OS UI system in place before the iPhone announcement in January 2007


Wow, you really are desperate to cling to your favorite bit of Apple fanboy mythology about how the entire mobile industry was just sitting on their hands waiting for the Prophet Jobs to show them way to the promised land.

Why bother listening to people who worked on the product and have actual firsthand knowledge when you have post-hoc reasoning, uninformed speculation, and talking-points spoon-fed to you by the 'Grube?


what were they doing for the 24 months until the announcement of the HTC Magic in February 2009?


Gee, I dunno, maybe they were trying to turn it into a actual finished product by adding the myriad of basic features that the iPhone lacked (like the ability to run 3rd-party software, basic text manipulation features, proper BT support, etc)? Hint: not every company has Apple's neurotic need to rush half-baked, proof-of-concepts to market just to be "first" for the sake of being first.

But maybe if we're lucky, Diane will drop by to answer your (completely-sincere) questions directly, since she does post here occasionally. Here's hoping! I'm genuinely curious to see if you're genuinely deluded enough to argue against the first-hand recollections of someone who was actually there, or if you'll just slink away with your tail tucked between your legs.

Reply Score: 3

RE[4]: This means.....?
by Tony Swash on Fri 20th Dec 2013 16:35 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: This means.....?"
Tony Swash Member since:
2009-08-22

Why bother listening to people who worked on the product and have actual firsthand knowledge when you have post-hoc reasoning, uninformed speculation, and talking-points spoon-fed to you by the 'Grube?


OK. Lets listen to those from Google with first hand knowledge.

From the book by Fred Vogelstein 'Dogfight: How Apple and Google Went to War and Started a Revolution' - my emphasis added.

None of these quotes or accounts have been denied and the book was generally received as very well researched.

By January 2007, they’d [Google;s Android team] all worked sixty-to-eighty-hour weeks for fifteen months—some for more than two years—writing and testing code, negotiating soft­ware licenses, and flying all over the world to find the right parts, suppliers, and manufacturers. They had been working with proto­types for six months and had planned a launch by the end of the year . . . until Jobs took the stage to unveil the iPhone.

Chris DeSalvo’s reaction to the iPhone was immediate and visceral. “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.’”


On the day Jobs announced the iPhone, the director of the Android team, Andy Rubin, was six hundred miles away in Las Vegas, on his way to a meeting with one of the myriad handset makers and carriers that descend on the city for the Consumer Electronics Show. He reacted exactly as DeSalvo predicted. Rubin was so astonished by what Jobs was unveiling that, on his way to a meeting, he had his driver pull over so that he could finish watching the webcast.

“Holy crap,” he said to one of his colleagues in the car. “I guess we’re not going to ship that phone.


Rubin and the Android team - along with many others- did not think users would take to typing on a screen without the tactile feedback of a physical keyboard. That is why the first Android phone -the T-Mobile G1 from HTC, nearly two years later - had a slide-out keyboard. But what was also undeniable to the Android team was that they had under estimated Jobs. At the very least, Jobs had come up with a new way of interacting with a device-with fingers instead of a stylus or dedicated buttons-and likely a lot more. “We knew that Apple was going to announce a phone. Everyone knew that. We just didn’t think it would be that good,” said Ethan Bear. one of Android’s early development executives.


Really this tedious attempt to to try to pretend that the there was no design reset in the Android team as a result of the iPhone, a reset that has been confirmed by many members of that team and never denied, is just so puerile.

Reply Score: 2

RE[5]: This means.....?
by hackbod on Fri 20th Dec 2013 23:34 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: This means.....?"
hackbod Member since:
2006-02-15

The quote from DeSalvo is completely not true. As I said in the original quoted piece, pretty much all of the Android system as released in 1.0 was under development in that shape by early 2006. I can say for the stuff I worked on -- resource system, binder, package manager, window manager, activity manager, parts of the view hierarchy and many of the framework APIs -- none of this changed at all significantly due to the iPhone, and it certainly was in no way shape or form started over. At all. Period. It just did not happen.

And you'll note that architecturally Android is quite a bit different from iOS. It was designed and implemented completely independently from iOS, without knowing about the iPhone. In fact many aspects of the two system designs are more similar today, and that is in no small part from iOS becoming more similar to Android -- things like sandboxed applications, application state saving and cached processes, etc.

Also keep in mind that the first release of Android where this really matters was November 2007. All of the Android architecture that we know today was in that initial developer release, all the stuff I mentioned above. This certainly didn't all get written in the time from when the iPhone was first shown in January. And that developer release had a lot of key features that Apple would adopt later -- including third party native applications. (If Android did all get written in that short time... wow, we are AWESOME!)

Also, carefully read your last quote. The actual quote is “We knew that Apple was going to announce a phone. Everyone knew that. We just didn’t think it would be that good." This says nothing about typing on a keyboard. The author is clearly trying to make things sound a certain way that are not necessarily supported by the statement he's gotten from people, and you are falling for it.

Reply Score: 12

RE[6]: This means.....?
by Tony Swash on Sat 21st Dec 2013 11:11 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: This means.....?"
Tony Swash Member since:
2009-08-22

The quote from DeSalvo is completely not true. As I said in the original quoted piece, pretty much all of the Android system as released in 1.0 was under development in that shape by early 2006. I can say for the stuff I worked on -- resource system, binder, package manager, window manager, activity manager, parts of the view hierarchy and many of the framework APIs -- none of this changed at all significantly due to the iPhone, and it certainly was in no way shape or form started over. At all. Period. It just did not happen.

And you'll note that architecturally Android is quite a bit different from iOS. It was designed and implemented completely independently from iOS, without knowing about the iPhone. In fact many aspects of the two system designs are more similar today, and that is in no small part from iOS becoming more similar to Android -- things like sandboxed applications, application state saving and cached processes, etc.

Also keep in mind that the first release of Android where this really matters was November 2007. All of the Android architecture that we know today was in that initial developer release, all the stuff I mentioned above. This certainly didn't all get written in the time from when the iPhone was first shown in January. And that developer release had a lot of key features that Apple would adopt later -- including third party native applications. (If Android did all get written in that short time... wow, we are AWESOME!)

Also, carefully read your last quote. The actual quote is “We knew that Apple was going to announce a phone. Everyone knew that. We just didn’t think it would be that good." This says nothing about typing on a keyboard. The author is clearly trying to make things sound a certain way that are not necessarily supported by the statement he's gotten from people, and you are falling for it.


So before the iPhone came out the Android team were working on building a phone OS that operated through one large touch screen without a hardware keyboard and with the main UI being an array of icons on the touch screen?

Given the numerous quotes from Android team members saying what an impact the iPhone launch had on the team and the Android project can you tell us what your experience of that impact was. Did anything change after the iPhone?

Reply Score: 2

RE[7]: This means.....?
by kckc on Sat 21st Dec 2013 11:49 UTC in reply to "RE[6]: This means.....?"
kckc Member since:
2011-01-06

You just can not understand or accept it. The large screen and hand (fingers) operated device was not key to apple iPhone success. If it was than it won't be a period of year before the iPhone starts to sell like crazy.

Please focus on the other, missing part, for this part is the key to iPhone ecosystem and brilliance behind Apple success. They sure have a reason to launch a product that is not special except for touch screen, have a missing features (UMTS, high pixel camera, software stack, GPS, ...) compared to other devices (my N95 have all those features and was available before iPhone 1). And yet they become leader in mobile space.

Why not talk about success of Apple ecosystem compared to alternatives. The brilliance in deals with manufacturers that gave them huge advantage in hardware over competition (first multitouch display in high volumes, same for retina display, samsung cpu ahead of curve, etc.). Or deals with music industry that marked success of iPod devices. Why not mentioning their battery that is really something innovative.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: This means.....?
by jared_wilkes on Fri 20th Dec 2013 14:45 UTC in reply to "RE: This means.....?"
jared_wilkes Member since:
2011-04-25

I see plenty of internal inconsistency, dithering, and rewriting in her own version. Just a small quote shows all of that:

Even if there was no iPhone, there is a good chance that Sooner would have been dropped, since while it was a good idea to get Android out quickly from a hardware perspective, the software schedule was much longer. I don't recall the exact dates, but I believe the decision to drop Sooner was well before the iPhone announcement... though we continued to use it for quite a while internally for development, since it was the only semi-stable hardware platform we had. If nothing else, it helped remove significant risk from the schedule since software development could be done on a relatively stable device while the systems team brought up the new hardware in parallel.


"Even if there was no iPhone, there is a good chance that Sooner would have been dropped" ... hypothetical, not clear

I don't recall the exact dates, but I believe the decision to drop Sooner was well before the iPhone announcement... she honestly doesn't even know

though we continued to use it for quite a while internally for development... but she's certain they continued to use it

since it was the only semi-stable hardware platform we had.... because it was the only thing they had that was half-usable.

software development could be done on a relatively stable device while the systems team brought up the new hardware in parallel... if one was relatively stable and the other option was not even relatively stable, forcing you to use the relatively stable option for internal development of software because the other hardware option was unusable, which in turn results in specific software for that hardware, that is not parallel development


This is your strong refutation?

I'll take the quotes of Chris DeSalvo, Andy Rubin, Ethan Beard, and (even the much more nuanced) Eric Tseng featured in a couple hundred word excerpt alone over this silly retelling buried in OSNews comments.

Edited 2013-12-20 14:58 UTC

Reply Score: 6

RE[3]: This means.....?
by JAlexoid on Sun 22nd Dec 2013 10:49 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: This means.....?"
JAlexoid Member since:
2009-05-19

hypothetical, not clear

Is your whole comment and most of articles on this topic.
You are aware who Dianne is, right?
This article is based on quotes, while we have a long comment that addresses the issue directly from a first hand witness.

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: This means.....?
by jared_wilkes on Sun 22nd Dec 2013 15:35 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: This means.....?"
jared_wilkes Member since:
2011-04-25

A long comment that is scattered, from recollection, lacks a firm memory of actual events, and is inconsistent.

Do you know who Andy Rubin is?

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: This means.....?
by StevenRN on Fri 20th Dec 2013 14:50 UTC in reply to "RE: This means.....?"
StevenRN Member since:
2013-12-20

Actually, she never claims Sooner was dropped before the iPhone announcement but that it might have been and she can't remember the dates and also claims there is a good chance Sooner might have been dropped anyway even without the iPhone. That, alone, indicates Android as a BlackBerry clone was their original goal.

She is very inconsistent on her recall of the chain of events. There is no question, however, that even in late 2007 Android was about manipulating content though controls and very little about direct manipulation of the content. That was the major change Google recognized about the iPhone based on an acquaintance that worked on the Android team back in 2007.

Android was still about menus to zoom, buttons to zoom, trackpads to scroll (with many early prototypes still sporting scroll bars). The iPhone was all about direct manipulation of content with touch.

Reply Score: 3

RE: This means.....?
by BallmerKnowsBest on Fri 20th Dec 2013 15:24 UTC in reply to "This means.....?"
BallmerKnowsBest Member since:
2008-06-02

Sorry, there's no mod option for "Clearly didn't bother to RTFA (-1)", so I'll just have to settle for "Inaccurate (-1)".

Reply Score: 2

RE: This means.....?
by Bill Shooter of Bul on Fri 20th Dec 2013 15:30 UTC in reply to "This means.....?"
Bill Shooter of Bul Member since:
2006-07-14

I can get with the iphone being revolutionary. I think that's a given, regardless of what happened at Android.

The ipad, was not nearly as revolutionary when it was released. Everyone was expecting a tablet from Apple. The crunch pad/joo joo was in open development before the ipad announcement. Sure it failed, but it was basically the same hardware design with different ( read worse) software at the same price point from an unknown company that basically screwed over the founder of an influential tech blog.

Reply Score: 2

RE: This means.....?
by dsmogor on Fri 20th Dec 2013 17:09 UTC in reply to "This means.....?"
dsmogor Member since:
2005-09-01

The most heated dispute looks from a different angle, namely: influence or theft.

Reply Score: 2

RE: This means.....?
by Fergy on Sun 22nd Dec 2013 07:07 UTC in reply to "This means.....?"
Fergy Member since:
2006-04-10

After the iPhone changed the handset paradigm by bringing a touchscreen full computing OS platform

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nokia_770_Internet_Tablet

iPhone must have been released before 2005 right?

Reply Score: 2

RE: This means.....?
by JAlexoid on Sun 22nd Dec 2013 10:44 UTC in reply to "This means.....?"
JAlexoid Member since:
2009-05-19

entire thinking and strategic focus of the Android team was completely transformed by the iPhone announcement and so such a pure Android design was never completed

Now now... Going from a reasonable doubt, to total BS. How quick... in the first paragraph.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: This means.....?
by jared_wilkes on Sun 22nd Dec 2013 15:36 UTC in reply to "RE: This means.....?"
jared_wilkes Member since:
2011-04-25

You do understand that numerous Google Android business manager and project leads are who you are disagreeing with, yeah?

Reply Score: 2

Just saying
by nesur on Fri 20th Dec 2013 13:50 UTC
nesur
Member since:
2005-07-07

If you have worked as an engineer at Be and Palm, and your last name is Hackborn, then you can be sure I will believe whatever you say.

[Written from my Touchpad, still running webOS ;-)]

Reply Score: 7

Comment by Shane
by Shane on Fri 20th Dec 2013 15:02 UTC
Shane
Member since:
2005-07-06

Quite frankly - bullshit and excuses. A simple survey of the smartphone landscape will show that after the iPhone everything was different. Look, I happen to think that Android is a great system. I develop on both Android and iOS platforms. But credit where credit is due.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Comment by Shane
by BallmerKnowsBest on Fri 20th Dec 2013 15:32 UTC in reply to "Comment by Shane"
BallmerKnowsBest Member since:
2008-06-02

Quite frankly - bullshit and excuses. A simple survey of the smartphone landscape will show that after the iPhone everything was different. Look, I happen to think that Android is a great system. I develop on both Android and iOS platforms. But credit where credit is due.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Post_hoc_fallacy

Post hoc ergo propter hoc, Latin for "after this, therefore because of this", is a logical fallacy (of the questionable cause variety) that states "Since event Y followed event X, event Y must have been caused by event X."

Reply Score: 8

RE[2]: Comment by Shane
by Shane on Fri 20th Dec 2013 15:56 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by Shane"
Shane Member since:
2005-07-06

Ah yes, smarty pants. Maybe I expressed my opinion too strongly and not rigorously enough. It's my opinion and you are free to disagree.

I think that the Android team should just concentrate on improving the frameworks and not worry too much about pissing contests.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Comment by Shane
by Bill Shooter of Bul on Fri 20th Dec 2013 15:34 UTC in reply to "Comment by Shane"
Bill Shooter of Bul Member since:
2006-07-14

In that case, who developed calculus, in your opinion? Leibniz or Newton? Or is it possible that two different groups came up with a similar idea independent of each other?

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: Comment by Shane
by Shane on Fri 20th Dec 2013 15:43 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by Shane"
Shane Member since:
2005-07-06

He said, she said. Android changed direction after the iPhone. Colour me skeptical.

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: Comment by Shane
by Bill Shooter of Bul on Fri 20th Dec 2013 22:31 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by Shane"
Bill Shooter of Bul Member since:
2006-07-14

Look into the history of the fight over calculus. Its not uncommon for break through developments to be made by completely separate groups of people. And usually, it devolves into a mutually silly fight over who stole the idea from whom.

Thom's done a really good job over the years highlighting the development of mobile devices. The ideas were out there for a while, waiting for the capacitive touch screen, gorilla glass, battery capacity, decent software, and a willing carrier to be ready.

Reply Score: 4

RE[4]: Comment by Shane
by Shane on Sat 21st Dec 2013 07:42 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Comment by Shane"
Shane Member since:
2005-07-06

Except that we do know what Android looked like before the iPhone. It was a Blackerry clone.

Reply Score: 2

RE[5]: Comment by Shane
by ricegf on Sat 21st Dec 2013 13:09 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Comment by Shane"
ricegf Member since:
2007-04-25

It's almost like you didn't read the article or the rest of the comments here.

Also keep in mind that the first release of Android where this really matters was November 2007. All of the Android architecture that we know today was in that initial developer release, all the stuff I mentioned above. This certainly didn't all get written in the time from when the iPhone was first shown in January. And that developer release had a lot of key features that Apple would adopt later -- including third party native applications. (If Android did all get written in that short time... wow, we are AWESOME!)


So you are of the opinion that the Android team was AWESOME and rewrote and developer-released a new architecture in less than a year? After 30 years in the computer industry, I just don't believe that's possible.

In my opinion (from an old hardware guy's perspective), the most incredible thing about the original iPhone was how much freaking hardware they packed into that one device. Earlier phones including the Android prototypes were basically Palm-like minimalist mobile devices. The iPhone was surprisingly close to a full mobile desktop in a very densely packed and very usable mobile package, with a lot of new tech they didn't invent (like the multi-touch screen and battery) but assembled and shipped well ahead of the competition.

I've always stood in awe of Apple's hardware engineers. Not sure why they don't get at least as much credit as their software team. *shrugs*

(Disclaimer: I used an original iPad for years, use a Nexus now, and would rather use Gnu-based Linux, so no dog in this fight.)

Reply Score: 4

RE[6]: Comment by Shane
by Shane on Sun 22nd Dec 2013 00:48 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Comment by Shane"
Shane Member since:
2005-07-06

Not an architecture reboot, but a change in direction to copy the iPhone's direct user interaction style. Because Android was not architected from the ground up to prioritise extreme UI responsiveness, meant that the Android UI has always felt laggy compared to iOS. Something that Project Butter aimed to fix, with it did mostly successfully IMHO.

Reply Score: 3

RE: Comment by Shane
by WorknMan on Sat 21st Dec 2013 00:25 UTC in reply to "Comment by Shane"
WorknMan Member since:
2005-11-13

Quite frankly - bullshit and excuses. A simple survey of the smartphone landscape will show that after the iPhone everything was different. Look, I happen to think that Android is a great system. I develop on both Android and iOS platforms. But credit where credit is due.


Despite how or what the Android team were doing before the iPhone was announced, the fact is that the iPhone shipped first and changed everything. I *personally* think Android is better overall, but geez... it's amazing how many of the Apple haters work themselves into a frenzy over this. You'd swear they'd rather endure torture than to give Apple a little goddamn credit.

Reply Score: 4

Apple bashers
by ezraz on Fri 20th Dec 2013 22:14 UTC
ezraz
Member since:
2012-06-20

Funny thing is how Apple bashers now use Palm, Be, and others as examples of Apple *not* innovating, even though those companies were started by and stocked full of ex-apple engineers (and future product managers).

I read way more attempts on this site to refute what Apple actually does or did as opposed to news about companies out-innovating Apple.

Before OSX and iOS it was more expected, given Apple's financial issues back then. They were mocked as being financially insignificant and their machine's "toys". But as a market leader again the various attempts to discredit their obvious accomplishments is kinda sad.

Fascinating reading, like political takedowns of a computer platform.

Reply Score: 3

RE: Apple bashers
by computrius on Sat 21st Dec 2013 18:24 UTC in reply to "Apple bashers"
computrius Member since:
2006-03-26

Actually what you say tends to prove that Apple has done nothing. The designers, engineers, programmers who by chance worked at apple did everything. They would probably have contributed a lot, whether or not they ever worked at Apple.

It sort of reminds me of the rich guy that says "We built or own house", when in reality he means "We paid some guys to build our house while we watched, then we took credit.".

Edited 2013-12-21 18:24 UTC

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: Apple bashers
by jared_wilkes on Sun 22nd Dec 2013 15:40 UTC in reply to "RE: Apple bashers"
jared_wilkes Member since:
2011-04-25

"Actually what you say tends to prove that Apple has done nothing. The designers, engineers, programmers who by chance worked at apple did everything."

Do you actually think this is a useful distinction? Can the same distinction be applied to every business? Yes, it can: no business ever did anything. Wait, that's completely pointless to say. But you'll say it exclusively about Apple because of some personal grudge against them. And of course, it's complete and utter chance that these people work at Apple, a coin flip.... Riiiiiight.... Sure.

Nonsense.

Reply Score: 3

RE[3]: Apple bashers
by computrius on Mon 23rd Dec 2013 15:18 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Apple bashers"
computrius Member since:
2006-03-26

Your presuming quite a bit to assume I only think/say that about Apple.

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: Apple bashers
by jared_wilkes on Tue 24th Dec 2013 01:48 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Apple bashers"
jared_wilkes Member since:
2011-04-25

OKay, let's assume that you do this for others as well and that's the least accurate portion of my statement.

Do you say it about all companies? Because it's true of all companies — that is, the company being not the people who do everything the company does.

That just changes you from an Apple hater to someone who's stupid enough to say something so meaningless.

Edited 2013-12-24 01:50 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[5]: Apple bashers
by computrius on Tue 24th Dec 2013 07:10 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Apple bashers"
computrius Member since:
2006-03-26

OK. You can live in your fairytale world where corporations are somehow more than a parasite to society.

Reply Score: 2

RE[6]: Apple bashers
by jared_wilkes on Tue 24th Dec 2013 16:06 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Apple bashers"
jared_wilkes Member since:
2011-04-25

Yeah, I'm the one living in a fairy tale.

Reply Score: 2

Comment by Gregory Isaacs
by Gregory Isaacs on Sat 21st Dec 2013 06:46 UTC
Gregory Isaacs
Member since:
2006-06-30

To make things easier the only thing that matters is, who did it first and who was successful with it. It doesn't matter what you intended to do.
I also believe that there is something like technical evolution and in this case a device with a touchscreen was somehow the only logical development for handheld devices even if we couldn't really accept the fact as the first touchscreen devices turned up.

Reply Score: 2

Decree vs effort
by thesunnyk on Sun 22nd Dec 2013 02:53 UTC
thesunnyk
Member since:
2010-05-21

Here's an idea that I think hasn't been mentioned in the comments yet: Managers work by decree, and Engineers work by effort.

By this I mean, a manager's viewpoint is obviously going to revolve around their product in the scope of their competition, their market, and what they said they wanted. They "saw" a "product" that they were making that "looked old", and "saw" a "product" that Apple was making that "looked new" and decided to "turn the software development on a dime" to "tackle this new market threat". Or something. In reality, they probably did a drag motion on the Iphone and shit their pants.

To an engineer, the guff translated to "we need a software keyboard, and the drag motion should look like this", to which the engineer probably just said "OK", and carried on doing whatever they were originally doing, with the side note to remember to do the software keyboard thing. Android as a platform is flexible as fuck. If it wasn't, it would probably have died right out of the gate. The only way they could actually build all the things that the Iphone had was because they could basically build whatever they wanted -- their architecture supported that. If the Iphone had no touchscreens but a crazy advanced notification subsystem, Android would've just improved on that aspect instead.

For an Engineer working on the nuts and bolts of Android, the Iphone was probably not all that important. For a manager working on the Android, the Iphone was revelatory because they didn't (and don't) understand Android.

Reply Score: 4

RE: Decree vs effort
by jared_wilkes on Sun 22nd Dec 2013 15:52 UTC in reply to "Decree vs effort"
jared_wilkes Member since:
2011-04-25

Also important to point out: an engineer is likely only going to know what a project manager wants them to know, is going to be expected to at least be a good soldier and toe the party line (not just for the outside world but in order to convince themselves that they are doing the best work), and are going to have very little knowledge of the highest level product management and marketing decisions.

It's easy for an engineer to say: I know that myself or someone was working on that... Less easy for that same engineer to say I know the decisions that went into play that meant x, y, and z code was less important than a, b, c code and what decisions or events over the course of time affected the direction of the project.

And to that last point, it's not just because of my first point (communication and decision-making process) but also a general blindness due to usually understanding their trade (software engineering) much better than actual product design and marketing.... or even just because of pride.

Reply Score: 2

v Android taking over the market
by Henri_Potter on Sun 22nd Dec 2013 08:43 UTC
It seems pretty obvious to me...
by spronkey on Sun 22nd Dec 2013 12:48 UTC
spronkey
Member since:
2009-08-16

It seems pretty obvious to me that the iPhone shifted focus on the UI side of Android.

Commenters above mentioning the underlying systems are looking at the wrong component. *Of course* there was no big paradigm shift in terms of the way the core was built - it was designed to be a smartphone OS. Smartphone OS' by nature revolve around applications. It's a very flexible base system just as any modern OS is.

The key here is that the iPhone wasn't so much designed to be an "apps phone" as it was designed to be a mobile UI marvel - something to be used in a completely different way to previous phones in general - direct input and object manipulation using your fingers, with tapping and gesturing. None of these things were "new", but the point is that nobody had yet figured out how to solve them in real life before Apple. No buttons, no arrow keys, no restrictive keyboard. The whole phone, including its array of sensors, and UI was built around these concepts. Very few saw that part coming, and even those who did struggled to understand what the result might look like.

You have to give credit where it's due here - other experiments with touchscreens at the time certainly hadn't taken them anywhere near this far, and I would wager a good portion of UI developers didn't even *consider* pushing the technology of the time so far.

It's for these reasons that I'm reasonably convinced that the iPhone-like UI was an afterthought for Android - and certainly wasn't the plan from the beginning. Had they understood this UI paradigm, and built the system with this idea in mind, the display subsystems would have been given much more attention early on - i.e. negating the need for Project Butter. In fact, I'm convinced that the Android team hadn't really considered what to do *at all* with the UI.

Many of the interactions in Android are flawed from a conceptual perspective - the designers simply didn't *understand* the gestures and manipulations, and didn't understand the use of affordances and feedback. Compare this to the iPhone, where every interaction was very well developed, with appropriate feedback etc. Android reeks of last-minute "let's bolt this on without understanding exactly what it is"

When you've got a hardware keyboard, and hardware buttons, and you're not using gesturing or direct object manipulation heavily, this sorta stuff isn't all that important. This attitude shines through heavily in Android pre-4.0.

N.B. I'm not really particularly enamored with either iOS or Android overall - I think both have massive weaknesses. The point I make is that the UI (from concept to research to development) was a significant, possibly even majority, part of the iPhone. I think Android took many these ideas and ran with them.

Edited 2013-12-22 13:01 UTC

Reply Score: 4

RE: It seems pretty obvious to me...
by Treza on Sun 22nd Dec 2013 15:35 UTC in reply to "It seems pretty obvious to me..."
Treza Member since:
2006-01-11

I agree.
There is no contradiction between :
- Android core did not change much after iPhone release.
- Android changed its UI to imitate the iPhone.

Journalists focus too much on the user interface, not on the underlying operating systems, which are quite different.

As application runtimes, there is also an huge part depending on applications developers. Many applications for iPhone/iPad are ported to Android, so there is some influence of the user interface, independently from Google or Apple will.

(Some apps don't even use properly Android's back button !)

Reply Score: 4

So?
by ThomasFuhringer on Mon 23rd Dec 2013 08:47 UTC
ThomasFuhringer
Member since:
2007-01-25

Let's not forget that Eric Schmidt was still sitting on the board of Apple at that time.
Sure, Google dropped their old-style Android GUI before the iPhone was announced, but maybe not before Schmidt saw the new concept.

Reply Score: 3