Documents show Android didn’t have touch input until after the iPhone was announced (but you already knew that)



Not that we need formal confirmation, but some new slides presented in the Apple vs Samsung battle of 2014 have confirmed that Android originally didn’t implement a way to input commands, text or anything else by way of touch screen. As early as 2006, Android was designed to be a platform controlled by nothing but buttons.

“Touchscreens will not be supported. The product was designed with the presence of discrete physical buttons as an assumption. However, there is nothing fundamental in the products [SIC] architecture that prevents the support of touchscreens in the future.”

We’d always assumed as much, with early snapshots of the Android SDK and Emulator portraying a Blackberry-esque device with trackpads and a full hardware QWERTY.

What we actually ended up with was the G1 and a platform that was almost completely driven by touch. That platform got even more button-independent when the MyTouch 3G dared to ditch the hardware keyboard.

The rest, as they say it, is history. For what it’s worth, the document confirms that all the other staples of the Android platform — such as widgets, notifications and user-made apps — have all been there from jump street.

The point of the slide was to confirm that Google didn’t have intentions to introduce touch until after the original iPhone was announced in 2007, which should stand to help Apple in their whole “Samsung is copying us” hissy-fit they’re having.

On the contrary, it confirms suspicions that Apple is using their latest battle against Samsung to target Android as a whole, which is the reason Google and the key executives responsible for Android have been pulled into the courtroom.

[via Recode]

Quentyn Kennemer
The "Google Phone" sounded too awesome to pass up, so I bought a G1. The rest is history. And yes, I know my name isn't Wilson.

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  1. F Apple

  2. To me, that’s like saying (potentially not true example) that LG copied Samsung for releasing a TV with 1080p resolution. You have to keep up with basic features like this to even make something relevant.

    1. Before Steve “Ihateeveryone” Jobs made all his “breakthroughs” something very significant was going on. Without all the engineers, researchers etc who worked tirelessly to fulfill his vision for the iPod, iPhone and iPad he’d be a bearded, bald corpse no one would really want to remember.

    2. Yeah I credit them for making it possible but do they honestly expect for no one else to try the same thing. I am certainly no expert on this stuff but I feel like its like the Nintendo Wii making motion gaming popular. I could be very wrong but I have not heard of any crazy lawsuits with them going after PlayStation and Xbox for their motion features .

  3. so when windows mobile was making touch screen YEARS before the iPhone i guess apple bit off them?

    1. and likewise, there have been touchscreens on electronics since as early as 1992. I personally have used a logic analyzer from that year with a curved touch screen crt display. I wasn’t aware apple had the patent on putting touch screens on stuff.

      1. They don’t. They have the patent on claiming they innovate when in fact they just release cool-looking devices using breakthroughs others have made before.

    2. 0_o

  4. What about those old Windows phones with touch screens, as well as Palm Pilots? Man Apple reeks.

  5. I didn’t realize that Apple was the first company ever to make a touchscreen, or create an OS that utilizes touchscreen! Thats amazing!

    1. Amazingly shameful, that is.

    2. Apple just popularized it. Even swipe to unlock was already done on a mobile touchscreen 2 yrs prior to the iPhone on the “Neonode N1” . They do make good products but don’t let the cult following fool you, they copy just like everybody else.

      1. Apple popularizes stuff and makes themselves asshats in the process.

  6. Sometime around 1983, I happened to work at SLAC. Back then they had a “Cow” which stood for Computer on Wheels. This was a full rack, six feet tall with the equivalent of a desktop computer and a monitor alone that must have weighed 100 lbs. That Cow had touch screen!

  7. If Apple is really using this as a legal argument, they are truly desperate.

    All products, including Apple products, go through many changes and revisions while they are being developed. Android is an OS that supports all manor of input, and there have been devices controlled by touch, trackballs, qwerty keyboards, d-pads, voice, mice, and game controllers(and probably more).

    The only thing Apple is “proving” is that Android hardware input support was developed before touch support, and they didn’t even have to prove that. Android 1.0 shipped to consumers without soft keyboard support. That’s not a secret or anything shocking.

    Furthermore, Samsung didn’t develop Android, making this argument even shallower.

    1. it’s ok. because next session samsung and google will present the Android video from Youtube, posted before apple announced the iphone showing an android device with a touch screen. can’t get to it at work, but it has been embedded in articles on this site before. They were in development at the SAME time. I don’t even understand how this argument is still going on.

      1. Exactly. There were 3 candidate form factors in prototype at the time of the BB-one shown above.

        But that one gets all the press and the meme goes on forever.

  8. The only thing Apple is “proving” is that Android hardware input support was developed before touch support, and they didn’t even have to prove that. Android 1.0 shipped to consumers without soft keyboard support. That’s not a secret or anything shocking.

  9. I think that at some point Google is going to need to use all those Motorola patents that inevitably had touch screens from way before iphone.

    1. They were all invalidated.

  10. Yes Apple, lets skip over the fact others in the market were already working on touchscreen devices and that some of them were released before the iPhone.

    So cleared they had to have an OS that could use touchscreen, doesn’t matter if it’s Android or not Apple, you were not first.

    Android wouldn’t have been very appealing to manufacturers if it didn’t support touchscreen, that’s just the way the market was moving.

  11. There were touch screens on Windows Mobile phones before the iPhone came out. I had it on my imate Jam, aka HTC Magician.

    1. HTC TyTN plus all the hp ipaqs and dell axims I had.

  12. it really pisses me off microsoft says nothing about what they were doing with touch screens on their windows mobile phones (some made by samsung, htc etc) and tech writers even have caved in and gave all the credit to apple and us long time smart phone users have to sit and look at these lies. the only thing they did different is make the screen capacitive. that does not mean they made the touch screen.

  13. I bothered to look this up the first time the “inovation” of Apple’s iPhone was brought up. LG made a capacitive touchscreen phone before the announcement of the iPhone. It was buried out there in the internet but I found it. A friend had it when I had my blackberry curve. It wasn’t the most responsive device but it sure was rectangular with a touchscreen

      1. The LG Prada software was very rudimentary akin to Palm or Windows Mobile 6. Multi-touch features were absent in the Prada.

    1. It was the LG Prada I had one then the iPhone came out.

  14. Nice troll/click bait Phandroid, you that desperate for web traffic nowadays?

    1. ? I don’t see the point.

  15. Cry me a fucking river. The iPhone wasn’t the only touch screen device out at the time either. Anybody ever hear of a PDA?

    1. Wasn’t considered a phone, so that won’t work.

      With your logic, computers and monitors will come into play. Though I get where you’re coming from.

  16. My POS Windows Mobile phone had touch input before either iPhone or Android existed. Good guy Microsoft didn’t sue anyone…

  17. Rotten Apple’s. What a crappy company who can’t compete with actual products. They have to play the victim card.

  18. with so much information about mobile devices on the internet that goes back to early 2000 and even earlier, how is it that the judge and/or the jury panel dont do some internet homework on their own?

    the internet alone has enough credible information to give a ruling in this current court battle between samsung/google vs apple…a ruling that would say “WTF APPLE”?

  19. Palm had touch before iPhone…

    1. I seem to remember thay sold a attachment that would convert your PDA into a cell phone.

  20. I recently got done listening to “Dogfight: How Apple and Google Went to War and Started a Revolution, by Fred Vogelstein” on Audible and makes mention that the G1 already had multi-touch enabled, but Nut-Jobs met with Larry, Sergey and Andy to request the removal of multi-touch or face a lawsuit before the G1 would launch; Nut-Jobs was furious when he found out that Google was developing a phone to compete against the iPhone. Also mentions that Andy was F#$K’n pissed off and argued with Jobs on that he did not invent multi-touch screens and that others had already used the technology. Anyhow, recommend the book or Audio-book.

  21. Pocket PC’s had touch before iPhone.

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