The original Android team spent the weekend and today debunking some misconceptions about the operating system’s creation especially in relation to the iPhone. As part of that, Android co-founder Rich Miner shared an interesting pair of Google G1 renders that predate the iPhone.
We specifically see renders of what became the “Google G1” (HTC Dream or T-Mobile G1) five months before the iPhone launched (Apple announced in January of 2007). It’s still a slider with the full QWERTY hidden, but the keyboard is an almost-neon shade of green with that accent bleeding out when the phone is closed. (There’s also a subtle arc to key placement.)
The green extends to a “Google” logo in the top-left corner and physical hardware buttons for email and “@” — which could just be for faster symbol entry — below the touchscreen.
Underneath are buttons for answer, decline, home, and back. Notably, the icons appear to switch based on orientation. It’s not clear if that’s a visual error or whether that surface is actually a screen. At the very right, we see a circular ring. Miner explains that was just “one of the input study options with directional movement and push in the center for select, not rotation.”
At launch in September of 2008, Google/HTC just opted for five buttons (“menu” was added) and a trackball. The other big change was a slight curvature at the bottom that somewhat molded to your face.
Meanwhile, the Android team has been making clear that Android was always meant to compete with Microsoft. Specifically, Miner says Google saw Android and browsers (Chrome) as ways to make sure Redmond did not get another foothold.
To that end, the team had been working on both a Blackberry-like device (Sooner) and the Dream. The former was canceled after the iPhone launch.
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