‘Built to Be Flexible’

Thom Holwerda:

However, I always recalled seeing a video where alongside the BlackBerry-esque prototype, Google also showed off a device with a full touch screen.

As it turns out, my memory isn’t playing tricks on me. We’re talking November 12 2007, and Google released the first SDK for Android. Other than the keyboard-driven BlackBerry-esque style, the SDK also supported touch screens just fine. And, just as I remembered, Google showed off a reference design with a full touch screen (and, by the looks of it, it’s capacitive) — looking suspiciously similar to the HTC Dream, the first Android device — including gestures and flicks.

So in November 2007 — 11 months after the iPhone was unveiled publicly — Google demoed an Android prototype with a 3.5-ish-inch touchscreen. But watch the demo video. That prototype seemingly has no way to type, and most of the UI is driven not by direct on-screen touch but by a BlackBerry-style menu driven by a hardware D-pad and select button under the screen. Web page zooming is done with buttons on the side of the device. It’s like a BlackBerry with a touchscreen. Every single difference between this 2007 prototype and the first actual consumer Android phone a year later was in the direction of being more like an iPhone. And in the years since, Android’s evolution has continued almost solely in the direction of iPhone-likeness.

Android fans would be better-served going with the “Good artists copy, great artists steal” defense.

Back to Holwerda:

Android was never intended to run on just one form factor. Android runs on everything from candybar touch screen phones to qwerty-phones, and everything in between.

Yeah, I see all sorts of Android phones that look like BlackBerrys and candy bars. Tons of them.

Heck, there was a race to get Android running on laptops, and even before Android was well and ready for it, it was dumped on tablets.

In other words, unlike iOS, Android was built to be flexible, and run on many sorts of devices, with different screen sizes and form factors.

Have you ever read something that made you wonder if you’ve been zapped into an alternate universe? That.

Tuesday, 8 November 2011