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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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 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 Parent Score: 8

RE[2]: Comment by Shane
by Shane on Fri 20th Dec 2013 15:56 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 Parent Score: 1

RE: Comment by Shane
by Bill Shooter of Bul on Fri 20th Dec 2013 15:34 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 Parent Score: 3

RE[2]: Comment by Shane
by Shane on Fri 20th Dec 2013 15:43 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 Parent Score: 1

RE: Comment by Shane
by WorknMan on Sat 21st Dec 2013 00:25 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 Parent Score: 4